Federal MPs join Christians in shining the light on global tax dodging

Parliamentarians have met face to face with over two hundred Christians from across the country this week to discuss Australia’s opportunity to lead action against corporate tax dodging which is draining vital revenue from developing nations.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steve Ciobo MP, and Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh MP, addressed the group  of Micah Challenge advocates on Australia’s response to multinational tax dodging at a special event in Parliament House this morning.

Steve told participants at the event that Australia is passionate about achieving outcomes on the issue of multinational tax dodging at the upcoming G20 Summit in November. While acknowledging that the process might not be straight forward, he said he was confident of a global desire for reform and believes there is the political will necessary for action.

Acknowledging this as an important issue for both Australia and people suffering in developing nations, Andrew also indicated Labor’s support for global and domestic policy change on multinational tax dodging.

Both MPs thanked the Christian constituents from over 70 electorates for coming to Canberra to raise the issue with political leaders and assured them their voices are being heard.

As part of the Voices for Justice event, these passionate advocates, ranging from high school students to retirees, have conducted over 100 private meetings with MPs and Senators while in Canberra.

With Australia perfectly positioned to lead action against financial secrecy and tax dodging at the G20 summit in Brisbane later this year, Micah Challenge advocates have been seeking to ensure that the decisions made by the world’s most economically powerful leaders will directly benefit citizens of poor nations.

“Most people don’t realise that the vast majority of money flowing out of developing countries is not stolen by corrupt politicians and dictators, but is rather pulled out by large multinational corporations who exploit loopholes in the global tax system to shift their profits away from the countries they operate within,” said John Beckett, National Director for Micah Challenge Australia.

According to John,while multinational tax dodging and corruption impacts all nations, including Australia, developing countries suffer the worst.

“Highly conservative estimates show that poor nations lose more than $160 billion each year through corporate tax dodging, which is more money than they receive annually in foreign aid,” said John.

“This is money which rightfully belongs to the citizens of these countries and should be being used to provide essential services like healthcare, education, infrastructure and water,” he said.

“The impact on developing countries is devastating, denying them the money they need to be self-sufficient and making them dependent on aid and debt. It truly is a case of the rich getting richer while the poor miss out.”

“As host of the G20 summit this year, we are looking to our political leaders to take concrete action against tax dodging and help drive a major breakthrough in the fight against extreme poverty. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.”

Rev Dr Joel Edwards, director of Micah Challenge International, who travelled from the United Kingdom to be involved in this week’s lobbying event, says the global voice from Christians on this issue is quite unique.

“The strength of this campaign is that Christians from the grassroots have come together in the first ever global Christian response to corruption,” said Joel.

“They are speaking out collectively on an issue which affects communities all across the globe and it’s their voices which are highlighting corruption and a lack of transparency in the global financial system as the most significant issue of tackling poverty in their context.”

Voices for Justice forms a key part of Micah Challenge’s campaigning in the lead up to the G20 summit in November. In partnership with the global EXPOSED campaign, these Australian Christians join with thousands of Christians around the world who are seeking to reflect something of the character of God by taking action to ‘shine the light’ on tax dodging and corruption.

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