• Making the voices of the poor heard at the G-20

    Posted by Jennifer

    9 December, 2013

    On Sunday December 1st, Australia assumed the presidency of the G-20, the pre-eminent economic forum of the world’s 20 largest economies. As President, Australia will have significant influence over the agenda and outcomes for the G-20 meetings taking place throughout the upcoming year.


    At Micah Challenge, we see this as the perfect opportunity for Australia to stand up for the interests of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. In particular, we see massive potential for improvements to international taxation rules, which currently cheat developing countries of more revenue than they receive in foreign aid.

    The current international tax system functions in a way which fails to reflect the realities of international business in the modern era, and allows multinational corporations to shift profits out of countries where they make their profits into low-tax jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the Isle of Man or Hong Kong.

    This practice, known as profit shifting, is particularly damaging to developing countries, who are cheated of revenues which could otherwise be invested in promoting economic growth, combatting poverty and reducing reliance on foreign aid. In fact, increasing the tax base within developing countries by ensuring corporation taxes are paid where profits are earned can be a more sustainable and more effective way of contributing to the fight against poverty than giving aid.

    As was highlighted earlier this year here, limited progress towards a more equitable and transparent taxation system was made under the Russian Presidency for the G-20. It is Australia’s responsibility to continue the momentum that has been achieved.

    Tony Abbott, on the occasion of taking on this Presidency, has stated his commitment to seeing “better international taxation arrangements” as an outcome of the G-20 in 2014. We urge him to recognise and include the interests of the world’s poorest countries when pushing this agenda throughout 2014. Although a forum of a select group of countries, the G-20 has the capacity and potential to bring outcomes in the interest of all countries.

    At Micah Challenge, our Shine the Light campaign will aim to hold our leaders to account on ensuring the voices of the world’s poor are heard within the G-20 forum. International tax justice must be recognised as an essential tool in the fight against global poverty.  

    To read more about our Shine the Light campaign, click here.

    Jennifer Vaccari is the political engagement intern at Micah Challenge