Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day of action leads to poverty policy movement

Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History's national day of action on August 11 has produced some positive commitments from politicians.

Supporters were asked to email  or tweet political leaders including Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, asking if they would remember the poor this election.

Specifically politicians were being asked to commit to increase Australia's international aid budget to 0.7 per cent of GDP, in line with UN millennium goal recommendations and to ask parties to appoint a Minister for International Department which would ensure greater awareness of aid issues and better targeting of funds.

The campaign received an immediate response from the Coalition with deputy leader of the Opposition, Julie Bishop, announcing that the Coalition, if elected, would appoint a Junior Minister for International Development.

And on the day of the poverty question campaign, Prime Minister Julia Gillard released a statement supporting the work of Christian organisation, Micah Challenge.

'Micah Challenge and the Make Poverty History campaign have done an outstanding job in reminding us all of how we can make a difference in the lives of people who have so much less than us.'

In the statement, Ms Gillard stopped short of announcing a minister for international development or increasing aid to 0.7 per cent but did say there would close ministerial attention to the aid budget and that 0.7 per cent would be considered in the future.

The Greens say in their international aid policy document that it is there goal that the aid budget be increased to 0.7 per cent in 2010. With the balance of the power likely to fall to them, they may well face pressure to negotiate hard on this and other issues.

All major parties have now made policy announcements - read them courtesy of Micah Challenge:
ALP aid policy statement
Coalition foreign policy statement
Greens aid policy statement

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