24th June, 2014

SHINING A LIGHT ON GLOBAL CORRUPTION: Campaigners gather at the event in Canberra.

More than 200 Christians from across the country met with federal politicians as part of the annual Voices for Justice event held in Canberra over the past four days.

The advocates at the Micah Challenge event - who range from high school students to retirees - have held more than 100 private meetings with MPs and senators over the past few days.

Tuesday morning they were addressed by Steve Ciobo, parliamentary secretary to the treasurer, and Dr Andrew Leigh, shadow assistant treasurer, on Australia's response to multi-national tax dodging.

Micah Challenge advocates have been seeking to ensure that financial secrecy and tax dodging are on the agenda at the G20 Summit in Brisbane later this year.

John Beckett, national director for Micah Challenge Australia, says that while multi-national tax dodging and corruption impacts all nations, developing countries suffered most.

"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," he says.

Mr Beckett says most people don't realise that the majority of money flowing out of developing countries is not stolen by corrupt politicians and dictators, but "pulled out by large multi-national corporations who exploit loopholes in the global tax system to shift their profits away from the countries they operate within".

He says the impact on developing countries is devastating. "It truly is a case of the rich getting richer while the poor miss out."

The focus on tax dodging and corruption is part of a global campaign being run by Micah Challenge in partnership with the EXPOSED campaign in the lead-up to the G20 Summit.

Rev Dr Joel Edward, director of Micah Challenge International and among those involved in this week's event in Canberra, says the campaign is the "first ever global Christian response to corruption".

"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."

~ www.micahchallenge.org.au

~ www.shinethelight.com.au

- DAVID ADAMS