CategoryPoverty & Wealth

Are we the world’s stingiest nation?


Never before has an Australian government made cuts to the international aid program like those made by the Abbott government. The argument goes that we can’t afford to borrow money in order to give it away. We first need to deal with our debt crisis, and then we can afford to give more. A friend of mine, Gershon Nimbalker, put together the chart below. It shows the aid budgets of the...

Did I Just Leave Jesus Hungry?


It’s early evening in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I walk through bustling streets. Hundreds of motorbikes whir by, punctuated by the presence of motor cars and trucks. The sidewalks are crowded. The sounds of car horns, chatter, laughter, music and hawkers combine to form a cacophony of life. This is a post-conflict nation that is making rapid strides to lift its people out of poverty. The task...

Joe Hockey ends the idea that Australia can help make poverty history


Yesterday Treasurer Joe hockey announced that next year’s international aid budget would be slashed by $1 billion. This decision marked much more than the cutting of the aid budget. It marked the end of the idea that Australia could play a significant role in bringing extreme poverty to a halt. In the last decade a revolution occurred in the Australian aid program. Inspired by the...

Did you see the dancing bear? A reflection on the conclusion of Micah Challenge Australia


A few years back a brilliant tv ad was created which showed 2 teams of people passing a ball. You the viewer were asked to count how many times the white team passed the ball. And so you count…1,2,3,4,5. The ad ends, the correct answer is given and just as you are basking in the glory of getting it right the narrator asks “but did you see the dancing bear?” Dancing bear? The ad is replayed and...

Tony Abbott, Aid and the National Interest


The Greens are currently running a campaign that declares “Tony Abbott has removed poverty reduction from the goals of the aid budget.” My politics lean more toward the Greens than the Coalition, but this campaign is outrageously misleading. This was the stated objective of Australia’s government aid department prior to the Coalition coming to power: AusAID advances the...

No Tony, economic growth is not the answer to everything


In his speech to the World Economic Forum  last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot made this incredible statement: As always, stronger economic growth is the key to addressing almost every global problem. It summed up the direction of the speech, which was a plea for small government and freer markets. But if the two greatest global problems of our time are extreme poverty and...

Where Have all the Dole Bludgers Gone?


So where have all the dole bludgers gone? Growing up in an affluent part of Sydney, where unemployment rates were low and incomes high, the standard orthodoxy was that the ranks of the unemployed were filled with people who didn’t want to work and were living the life of Riley on unemployment benefits. How we resented them, these “dole bludgers”, wantonly living off our taxes...

Better Ways to Spend our $8 billion


According to the Commonwealth Bank, Australians are set to spend more than $7.9 billion this year on Christmas gifts. Here are three ways we could collectively better spend this money. 1. Reinstate our spending on global poverty. The Federal Government has slashed $656 million from this year’s budget. Surely if we can send $8 billion on Christmas presents, we can give back the $656 million...

It’s a little obscene


What sort of crazy planet is it when 8% of the global population own 83% of global wealth, and 69% of the world population own just 3% of its wealth?

Source data: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data Report 2013

Aussies are the Wealthiest in the World and It Disturbs Me


Here is a disturbing fact: the richest 10% of the world’s population own 86% of its wealth, while the bottom half own just 1%. We live in a staggeringly unequal world. Here’s a second disturbing fact: with median per capita wealth of $220,000 Australia is the richest country in the world on a per capita basis, yet we have just cut our foreign aid budget on the grounds that we...