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.

  • Australian companies want to stamp out corruption? Then they need to stop paying bribes

    Posted by Ben

    10 July, 2013

    I wrote this blog post about Australian mining companies arguing for the continued right to pay small bribes ("facilitation payments") for the global Exposed 2013 campaign a few weeks ago. I didn't expect the same Australian mining companies to be making the same arguments in public so soon. In today's Australian Financial Review (paywalled), Bill Turner (chair of the Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group) argues that Australia should not follow the lead of Canada and the UK and close off a loophole in our bribery laws that allows companies to defend themselves against a charge of bribing a foreign official by claiming that it was merely a "facilitation payment". This defence relies on the payment being made to secure or speed up a routine service to which the payer is legally entitled, and for which the payer has kept a record of the transaction. The Australia Government has been considering, for over two years now, removing the "facilitation payments" defence from the law. An increasing number of countries don't… read more

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  • David & Goliath - Kenya vs. Karuturi Global

    Posted by Jennifer

    8 July, 2013

    Karuturi Global is one of the world’s largest suppliers of cut roses, with an annual turnover of over $100 million. It is based in India, grows flowers in India and several African countries and has recently been found guilty of tax evasion in Kenya. Earlier this year, it was discovered that Karuturi had used transfer mispricing to avoid paying USD 11 million of corporate income tax to the Kenyan Government. After shifting its profits through the low-taxing jurisdiction of Dubai by artificially adjusting prices for transactions taking place between different entities within its own multinational group, Karuturi Global Ltd was taken to court by the Kenyan Tax Revenue Authority and found to have broken Kenyan law. This case was the first time ever that an African country had successfully prosecuted a multinational company for transfer mispricing in a fully public process. In such cases, the imbalance of resources available to developing country governments compared to multinationals makes it something of a David and Goliath battle. Though in this global… read more

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  • Hillsong Mobilises the Masses for Justice

    Posted by Matthew

    4 July, 2013

    Matt Anslow, National Young Adults' Coordinator for TEAR Australia, shares his experience of volunteering with Micah Challenge at Hillsong Conference 2013. Hillsong has not been without its detractors. Every few months, almost like clockwork, you can expect some media outlet to have provided the latest exposé. To be sure, as Australia’s largest church, Hillsong is an easy target for antagonists, including some other Christians. But for all the complications of being so large and so visible, there is also the incredible potential for Hillsong to contribute meaningfully to fighting poverty. And so here I am, writing from Hillsong Conference 2013, where I join other fantastic Micah Challenge volunteers as we engage conference-goers with the reality of global poverty and the Christian mandate to love and do justice. This year Hillsong has chosen to partner with Micah Challenge to encourage its attendees to think about what it means to advocate for the poor. That it has decided to partner with Micah Challenge is a clear sign that Hillsong has a… read more

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  • Australia's Minister for International Development

    Posted by Ben

    1 July, 2013

    Newly (re)installed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took his ministerial team to the Governor General yesterday for swearing in. We'll leave it for others to comment on ALP leadership, the timing of an election, the make-up of the ministry, what it means for political debate in this country, and all that. What we want to comment on is that Australia now has a Minister for International Development – Western Australian MP Melissa Parke. The last time Australia had ministry level representation for international development (rather than the more junior Parliamentary Secretary position) was in 1993–96 when Gordon Bilney was Minister for Development Cooperation and Pacific Affairs. It won't be a cabinet level ministry, but it brings a much needed specific focus on international development into government decision-making. Melissa Parke is well-regarded and has considerable relevant experience, having served as a human rights lawyer with the United Nations. She also spoke out strongly against the Government's diversion of aid towards the domestic… read more

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