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Ending extreme poverty is inevitable.

Ending extreme poverty is inevitable

The line wasn't too long, but long enough to feel like you were getting to know the people around you. Polite smiles before you looked down to read your 'how to vote cards', some idle chatter about how hungry the smell of the sausage sizzle was making you.

I voted for the first time ever this federal election. As a long-time politics nerd it was an exciting moment, a moment that capped off a huge year of campaigning for the movement to end extreme poverty.

Campaigns have their highs and their lows, and we've definitely felt that during 2013.

In March, we felt the force of our movement as we stood together on the lawns of Parliament and called for our leaders to do their fair share to end extreme poverty.

In that moment I knew without a doubt that we would be the generation to end extreme poverty. By the election over 88,000 Australians had joined the Movement, highlighting the depth of support within communities across the country.

But we’ve been tested. Time and time again we've seen our leaders abandon their promises to the world's poor. We know that effective aid saves lives. Yet we saw a Labor budget in May that again delayed our commitment to reaching foreign aid spending of 0.5%GNI. Of greater concern, just 40 hours before the election the Coalition announced their plans to cut $4.5 billion over from the aid budget over four years. These last-minute cuts, to be spent on toll roads, could have saved 450,000 lives

But no matter what we face, we have hope.

Hope because extreme poverty has already been halved. Because every day we make progress. More kids in school, more people with clean water, more communities breaking the poverty cycle.

I was voting in a school, a language school that every day equipped new young Australians with English, allowing them the opportunity to prosper in their new home. It was a polling booth that symbolised hope.

And so as I stood in the line waiting to vote on polling day, I remained hopeful. I knew that no matter who formed the next Australian government that our people powered movement would continue to fight the good fight.

Social movements have their wins and their losses. But if 2013 has taught us anything, it's that the movement to end poverty will not lie down without a fight.

 

 

 

 

Fiona Canny is Head of Campaigns at Oaktree.