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.

  • Reflections on the latest UN MDG report

    Posted by Gershon

    15 July, 2013

    The latest UN MDG report was released this month. It’s one of those reports that I really look forward to every year, it’s probably the best snapshot of the progress the world has (and hasn’t) been making in the fight against poverty. Committing a few choice statistics from the report to memory is also a great way to razzle dazzle your friends and colleagues with your ‘amazing’ knowledge of world events. Next dinner party, try a line like this one, “I loved that speech that Malala gave to the UN about education this weekend. Did you know that in the last decade or so, the number of children out of school has almost halved, falling from 102 million in 2000 to 57 million by 2011?” It’s a guaranteed way to get some self-esteem boosting ‘oohs and aahs’. Back to the report. It outlines that many of the Millennium Development Goals are within reach by the 2015 deadline, but to achieve them will require building on the momentum that has been generated, despite the economic difficulties facing many nations. The… read more

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  • Legislating for Overseas Aid?

    Posted by Rachel

    12 July, 2013

    National politics has been unusually active lately. The politics of Australia's overseas aid has also been excitingly active. You would be forgiven if you missed what was happening in the Senate on Wednesday 26 June. All the media attention was on the Labor leadership spill that day. But it's worth taking a moment to highlight the Overseas Aid (Millennium Development Goals) Bill 2013, which was introduced into the Senate by NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. In her second reading speech of the bill Senator Rhiannon outlined how good aid works, “Good aid, spent well has helped reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty by 200 million over the last 5 years.” The purpose of the bill is to ensure Australia keeps the commitment we made in the year 2000 when signing onto the Millennium Development Goals to give our fair share towards ending extreme poverty. Senator Rhiannon told of how Australia is well placed to keep our commitment in overseas aid, as Australia is ranked number two on the UN Human Development Index and has not suffered… read more

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  • 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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