Micah Challenge Australia Blog

 

The Micah Challenge blog is a space for discussion and debate about the issues of global poverty, faith, advocacy and justice and the Millennium Development Goals. This blog aims to provoke thought and challenge you to learn more about the issues discussed. We welcome your comments.

Micah Challenge is a global campaign of Christians speaking out against poverty and injustice. Click here to visit the Micah Challenge website.

  • Time to make global tax rules work for the poor

    Posted by Jennifer

    4 June, 2013

    Why does Marta Luttgrodt pay more tax on her informal kiosk business than a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation like SABMiller in Ghana? Why do developing countries lose around USD 160 billion each year due to just two forms of corporate tax evasion (transfer mispricing and false invoicing)? Does more than half of world trade really pass through tax havens as it appears to on paper? How can the Cayman Islands be home to around 57,000 people but have 92,000 registered companies? It's pretty clear that the global tax system is broken. When the wealthiest individuals and corporations avoid paying their fair share of tax in the countries where they operate, it is left to smaller businesses and poorer individuals to pay more in tax, or do without the services that governments provide. Corporate tax evasion has a particularly diabolical effect on poor countries. If the governments invested the money they lose to corporate tax evasion according to current spending priorities, it could save the lives of 350,000 children each year. We have been… read more

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  • Groundhog Week - Government defers aid commitment again

    Posted by John

    13 May, 2013

    I must confess, it feels a bit like groundhog week to me! Every year since this current Government was elected, we’ve heard assurances that they are committed to a generous and effective aid program, and firmly committed to a very achievable timetable of increasing life-saving and hope-giving foreign aid to 0.5% of our Gross National Income. Yet every year we at Micah Challenge, along with our coalition partners, find ourselves campaigning for the Government to fulfil these commitments. And today Senator Bob Carr, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has been in the press announcing that they once again plan to defer their commitment to reaching 0.5% of GNI going to aid by another year. This takes the timetable out from the original 2015 target to 2017. We estimate this represents a cut somewhere in the order of $4 billion from projected funding, at the expense of the world’s poorest people. Mr Carr also confirmed they will once again divert almost $400 million from the aid budget next year to pay for the rising costs of onshore asylum seekers,… read more

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  • Australian Business Leaders: Keep Foreign Aid Promise

    Posted by Micah

    6 May, 2013

    Over 35 senior Australian business leaders are calling on the government to keep its promises on foreign aid in an open letter published by the Australian Financial Review today. Signatories to the letter (see below) include business leaders from Qantas, Macquarie Bank, PwC, IKEA and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. One of those behind the initiative is Simon McKeon, the executive chairman of Macquarie Group and a former Australian of the year. In his interview with ABC News, he said: “We are in a region where essentially all of our near neighbours are developing countries. And certainly from the business world we appreciate as much as anyone how important it is to have a good and prosperous region…What this group of business people is saying today is that foreign aid is important.” Click here to join with these business leaders and make your voice heard by the Prime Minister and Treasurer in the lead up to the federal budget. read more

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  • Australia's overseas aid: reducing poverty or detaining asylum-seekers?

    Posted by Ben

    11 April, 2013

    In a deeply cynical move just before Christmas last year, the Government diverted $375 million from overseas aid to help meet the rising costs of detaining, processing, and supporting onshore asylum-seekers. This diversion of such a large amount of money (7% of the total aid budget) away from the core business of Australia's aid program – helping poor people move out of poverty – has already had an impact. Our contribution to the life-saving work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was cut by $10 million. Programs to help vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change in Vanuatu, Tonga, Indonesia and the Philippines have been axed. Water, sanitation and hygiene programs, maternal and child health, education and livelihood programs have all been delayed or "deferred". Every region and every area of Australia's aid program handed over part of its budget to help plug the Immigration Department's budget hole. Oh, almost every country. Papua New Guinea and Nauru – who are hosting asylum-seeker detention camps… read more

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