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.

  • 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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  • G8 points us in the right direction on tax

    Posted by Jennifer

    30 June, 2013

    As promised, tax featured high on the agenda of the recent G8 meetings hosted in Northern Ireland. The resulting communiqué from this meeting of the leaders of the world’s largest economies indicated their desire to find solutions to global challenges of tax evasion and avoidance. And they did so in such a way that recognised the importance of these changes for developing countries. The communiqué said: “It is in everyone’s interests for developing countries to be able to: strengthen their tax base to help create stable and sustainable states; improve their ability to fund their budgets through their own domestic revenues; and increase ownership of their own development processes.” We couldn’t agree more! The outcomes of the summit included positive movement towards each of our three policy asks concerning tax justice. Country by country reporting of the financial affairs of multinational companies has been officially endorsed at the highest level and the OECD has been asked to develop a standard template that could… read more

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  • The business case against tax evasion

    Posted by Trevor

    19 June, 2013

    Bill Gates was in Australia recently and was asked on ABC’s Q&A about the ability of large companies like Microsoft to choose how much (or more to the point, how little) tax they pay. Gates observed that it is quite legal to minimize tax using havens and secrecy jurisdictions, and if governments want to change the rules to collect more taxes they should! (He also said that companies would be happy to pay more in tax but I think his nose grew a little at that point.) This is an important contribution to the debate about the way multinational tax avoidance is reducing government revenues both in wealthy nations and in the global South. If there are no legal impediments to aggressive tax minimization by multinational companies, it is bound to flourish. Sadly, taking advantage of low tax regimes and secrecy jurisdictions is part of most major businesses’ global plans. Apple, for example, is borrowing $70 billion in order to fund a share buyback and dividend payments, despite having over $100 billion in the bank. The problem – from Apple’s… read more

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