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Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’

Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’

Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’ is forgetting our responsibility to the developing world

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a speech at the Business Council of Australia’s annual dinner in Sydney, in front of almost 400 of Australia’s leading executives.

His message was to urge these influential business leaders to drive reform of Australia’s current tax system, calling on the Labor party to join his ‘Team Australia’.

However, in Mr Abbott’s push for patriotism, he is once again neglecting an opportunity to help our most vulnerable neighbours and allies in their fight against poverty.

In promoting his Team Australia rhetoric, he is systematically forgetting about our global responsibility to be a part of Team World too.

In the lead up to the G20 in Brisbane, discussions of tax reform have come to the fore. Tax avoidance will be at the top of the agenda for the leaders of the world’s biggest economies.

What Mr Abbott has consistently ignored in ongoing debates about tax reform is the need to include developing countries in the conversation.

As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have an unprecedented opportunity to lead reforms that could see the eradication of extreme poverty.

In the last twenty years, extreme poverty has already been halved, with 700 million people now living above the poverty line.

Australia’s foreign aid has saved thousands of lives, and ensured that children and their families have access to shelter, food, education and clean drinking water.

We have the resources and the knowledge to ensure that poverty becomes a thing of the past. We could be the generation that sees the end of it.  It is entirely in our power.

However, time and time again our governments have chosen to prioritise domestic politicking over our moral and humanitarian obligation as members of the global community.

With the G20 just days away, now more than ever there is a need for the Abbott government to take a stand and represent the voices of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty.

These developing countries are the ones who are hurt the hardest by the current international tax system, with multinational corporations exploiting loopholes in tax avoidance schemes.

Through the use of tax havens and other tactics like profit-shifting, it is estimated that developing countries lose up to $114 billion of tax revenue every year.

The billions of dollars of income from tax that developing countries are missing out on every year could be used to fund the infrastructure and social services that are critical in economic and human development.

Tax justice reform will help to create a system that gives developing countries far more power to tackle the issues their poverty-stricken nations face, and become less reliant upon the aid of governments like Australia’s.

The global tax system is broken and it’s the world’s poor that pay the price. We have the power to transform this reality by making sure discussions of ending poverty go hand in hand with conversations about tax reform.

Our leaders desperately need to remember their responsibility to Team World, and we need to make sure they commit to fighting for it.

Make sure that Tony Abbott hears us loud and clear. Write to Abbott and tell him why you care.