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.

  • How a supermarket can explain the problems of tax corruption

    Posted by Marissa

    14 October, 2013

    MNCs, base erosion, profit shifting, subsidiaries, tax havens, transfer mispricing... lots of complicated economics terms that zoom over many of our heads, mine included. While determined to undertake further research and grasp the implications of what was being referred to as a complex and broken system, I came across a simple yet accurate analogy. Going to the supermarket, you are left with the choice of lining up for a cashier, or jumping to the self-serve machine. I was shocked to learn recently that it is not uncommon for people to cut corners and avoid accurately paying for things. For example, you can manually enter an item to pay 39c a kilo when it is actually worth $20 a kilo. It's wrong: it's unethical, it's stealing, and it's illegal.... But because you're operating the transaction yourself and there's no one over your shoulder watching exactly what you're doing, you can get away with it. Amazingly, the supermarket company knows this is happening but from a business and profits perspective, it is actually cheaper for… read more

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  • Who pays when aid is cut?

    Posted by Ben

    10 October, 2013

    The new Government faces some tough choices on aid. The first choice is which of the Prime Minister’s statements to be true to. Will they be true to his claim that the Government will not cut aid, but merely “reduce the rate of increase”? This would mean maintaining aid at $5.6 billion for 2013-14 and ensuring that all current aid programs are fully funded. Or will they proceed with $4.5 billion of cuts over four years, including a $656 million cut this year from money already budgeted or committed (as outlined in the Coalition’s final pre-election costings document)? This would cut Australia’s overseas aid budget by 11% this year (the largest ever cut to aid) and be the first cut in aid since Prime Minister John Howard signed on to the Millennium Declaration and committed Australia to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty.” Obviously the first option is the only reasonable course of action for a Prime Minister who wants to be seen… read more

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  • Is aid being streamlined, sidelined or undermined?

    Posted by Ben

    19 September, 2013

    Although Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised methodical and purposeful government with no surprises, it certainly has been a surprising few weeks for Australian aid. First, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced plans to cut the aid budget in the final hours of the election campaign. And now, just as the new Government was being sworn in, the Prime Minister has revealed that AusAID will be "integrated" into the Department of Foreign Affairs of Trade. In this longish post, I just want to walk through what we know and don't know of these two decisions and the implications that are immediately obvious and those yet to be realised. I also want to make clear that while the new Government is entitled to all our respect and prayers, we will not cease from seeking to be a voice for the voiceless, and calling the Government to defend the rights of the poor and needy. We hope you will continue to raise your voice with us. Together, our voices can be powerful. 1. The Cuts We were all shocked as we learned at the last minute that the Coalition planned to fund a large… read more

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  • The G20 Wrap: Some small steps, but no giant leaps

    Posted by Jennifer

    10 September, 2013

    “Developing countries should be able to reap the benefits of a more transparent international tax system, and to enhance their revenue capacity, as mobilizing domestic resources is critical to financing development. We recognize the importance of all countries benefitting from greater tax information exchange.” (G-20 Leaders’ Declaration, September 6, 2013) The Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, the G-20, met last week in St Petersburg to discuss a number of global challenges. Addressing the tax dodging practices of corporations and individuals which deprive governments of both developed and developing nations of valuable revenue was high on the agenda. The Leaders’ Declaration included the statement above which suggests a genuine commitment to including developing countries in this ongoing international conversation about reforming the global tax system. However, the Summit failed to produce tangible mechanisms for facilitating this inclusion. Building upon momentum formed by the G-8 and OECD forums earlier in the year,… read more

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