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.

  • Australia's Aid Budget 2013-14: Delayed, Diverted but Still Doing Good

    Posted by Ben

    14 May, 2013

    In an unusual move, most of the big news about Australia's aid budget was announced well before Budget Night. We've known the big picture since Foreign Minister Bob Carr let us all in on the secret on Monday morning. The aid budget will grow by $518 million from last year, reaching almost $5.7 billion dollars, or 0.37% of Gross National Income (GNI). And while this is very welcome news, lifting aid to its highest level as a proportion of our national income since 1985, it's also not the only side to the story. The commitment to increase aid to 0.5% GNI has been pushed back for the second year in a row – now expected to be reached in 2017-18. The effect of these two delays has been to remove around $4.8 billion from planned aid spending over the period 2012–16. To my mind, these two delays really do call into question whether the Government is serious when it says it "remains committed" to reaching the 0.5% target. I'm not sure that the word committed means what they seem to think it means. The Government… 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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  • North Sydney kicks off Finish the Race events

    Posted by Jasmin

    9 May, 2013

    "Justice Sunday", held at Northside Baptist Church on 28 April, was the first, of what we hope to be many collaborative and catalytic Finish the Race events in the lead up to the election. The aim of the event was to bring together representation from different churches in the North Sydney electorate, as well as different agencies, all working together as a collective voice for justice in the lead up to the election. The event was preceded by a dinner on the Saturday night, hosted by World Vision Australia's CEO, Tim Costello. This really set the tone for the rest of the weekend, with a great feel of camaraderie and unity felt as there was a sense of the electorate coming together to achieve the same goal. The following day's events strengthened this positive atmosphere, with Tim Costello speaking at the church service about the role of Christians promoting social change throughout history, followed by a two-hour training session lead by Jody Lightfoot from World Vision's campaigns team. The group discussed effective strategies about how… 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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