This week Micah hosted a morning tea for candidates of the upcoming North Sydney by-election. Local church leaders joined with candidates to pray for them and encourage them to champion a generous and effective aid program that fights poverty in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

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As we stood in the forecourt of Northside Baptist Church at Crows Nest, various church leaders from the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Churches of Christ, Independent, Presbyterian and Uniting churches made a united prayer for the gathering, for the candidates and the world’s most needy. The hopeful candidates included the Australian Greens candidate Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, Christian Democrats candidate Silvana Nero, Independent candidate Stephen Ruff represented by Ted Mack, Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman, Sustainable Population candidate William Bourke and Palmer United candidate Robert Marks.

The morning tea celebrated Christians standing together in support of justice for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. During the gathering National Coordinator Ben Thurley shared the importance of Australia's aid efforts and the substantial impact it has in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Last year alone Australian aid helped provide access to safe drinking water for 2.9 million more people, enable 1.4 million more children to enrol in school and ensure nearly 900,000 additional births were supported by a skilled birth attendant. 

Ben also encouraged the hopeful candidates to make a stand for Australian aid.

If we want to build a more just, peaceful and sustainable world in which everyone can truly prosper, then the next Member for North Sydney will not only want to rise to all the challenges of representing the electorate, but to also helping our Parliament meet the big global challenges of poverty, inequality and climate change.

Afterwards Church leaders echoed these sentiments in their personal discussions with the by-election candidates over morning tea where they expressed the view that Australian aid is one of the ways we help contribute a better world for all.

This is the first time Micah has coordinated a morning tea like this with church leaders and election candidates and it was great way to see the power of open dialogue and a united voice among Christians. We worship a God who is passionate to see hungry people filled, homeless people sheltered, people experiencing poverty and oppression defended and empowered, so it’s wonderful when God’s people come together to influence our nation towards justice for the poor.

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We pray for all the candidates facing the by-election this weekend and we call for the next Member for North Sydney to listen to their electorate and support Australian aid enthusiastically as a significant part of the way Australia contributes to a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Many thanks to the church leaders and Micah members who attended on Monday.

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Benn Banasik is the Political Engagement and Campaign Coordinator of Micah Australia.

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