The time for change is now
These words represented a powerful commitment from then Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, at the Sydney Finale of the ZeroSEVEN Roadtrip, where he pledged to lift foreign aid from 0.34% to 0.5% of gross national income by 2015. This Roadtrip provided a platform for not only 700 young people to speak directly to over 50 000 Australians in schools, businesses and community organisations about the issue of extreme poverty, but it was also a historic moment in which an increase of $2.3 billion for the world’s poor was secured. This was the story of the ZeroSEVEN Roadtrip.
Although at the age of 14, I was too young to go on a Roadtrip, I remember this moment so vividly. It was on TV, on the internet (when MySpace was the big thing!), there was even an assembly presentation at school about this important victory. It was a moment where the voices of everyday Australians and that especially of young Australians, was palpably powerful. And it was a moment where I felt deeply proud of Australia’s commitment to being a generous, compassionate and globally minded nation.
Seven years later. We have another important moment awaiting us.
The world we live in, the Australia we live in, are vastly different environments today than they were seven years ago. Promises of increasing foreign aid expenditure have been abandoned, and existing commitments slashed by governments past and present. There are new challenges, like a broken global tax system, that pose a greater threat than ever before in enabling communities to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. We also know that the issue of extreme poverty is not one that everyday Australians are having regular and informed conversations about in their day to day living. There has never been a more pressing time to change the status quo.
It is time to hit the roads again and combine our power as people that care about creating a better world. Because over the years, it is through the collective action and passion of humanity, that has led to important achievements on this issue – that has meant that six million fewer children died in 2012 than in 1990, and the number of people living in conditions of extreme poverty halving over the past two decades.
The G20 Summit in Brisbane is an important moment for us as a nation and as a global community. We have the opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of 20 of the most powerful leaders across the world, to demand just action, and an unwavering will from them to see a world that is free from extreme poverty. And in order for us be able to achieve such goals, we need to hit the road – sparking thought and having conversations.
So, what will be the story of this year’s End Poverty Roadtrip, and more importantly, will you help write it?
Sign up at oaktree.org/roadtrip