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Local advocate lends voice to global concerns

Ali Kim with Craig and Debbie Rayner from Lithgow became political lobbyists last week and joined over two hundred other passionate campaigners from across Australia at Parliament House in Canberra to advocate for the rights of the global poor.

The group of concerned citizens were in Canberra from 21-24 June for the Voices for Justice lobbying event coordinated by the Micah Challenge anti-poverty campaign, and met with over 100 Members and Senators to urge them to take strong action against corporate tax dodging which drains developing countries of billions of dollars each year.

With financial secrecy and tax dodging on the agenda for discussion when the world’s most economically powerful leaders (the G20) meet in Brisbane this November, Ali, Craig and Debbie were voices among many seeking to ensure the decisions made will 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 Debbie Rayner.

According to Ali Kim, 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 Craig Rayner.  “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.”

“We went to Canberra because we want our leaders to know that Australians care about justice for the world’s poor, and are prepared to speak out about a broken tax system which robs the poor of their rightful resources.”

We had a private meeting with Local Member for Calare, John Cobb at the Voices for Justice event.

“It was a privilege to represent the electorate of Calare and speak out for those who aren’t able to speak for themselves,” said Ali Kim.

“We discussed with John Cobb that as host of the G20 leaders’ summit this year, Australia has an opportunity to lead concrete action against tax dodging and help drive a major breakthrough in the fight against extreme poverty.”

Voices for Justice brings together school students and retirees, teachers and plumbers, aid workers and church leaders from across the country. These ordinary Australians met with more than 100 Members and Senators to urge them to make justice for the poorest people in our world a priority.

Micah Challenge is a global movement of aid and development agencies, churches, schools, groups and individuals who are speaking out against poverty and injustice in support of the Millennium Development Goals. For more information see www.micahchallenge.org.au.

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