Stevie Wills,CBM Australia’s Community Education Officer writes a heartfelt response after attending the Micah Australia budget night event. Meeting with many like-minded people, she reflects on what the outcome of the budget announcement means long-term and her hope for justice in the future.
Every year, in the first week of May, hundreds of people descend upon Canberra for the release of the Government’s annual Budget.
But this year – amongst the reporters and politicians – there was a different group of people with different intentions.
I was part of this group. I came to Canberra with the intention of worshipping and praying for our leaders and rallying with Australians for greater generosity.
On Budget night, over a hundred young adults gathered with Micah Australia to worship and pray for the Budget.
We were disappointed to hear that over the next few years our government’s foreign aid spending will be cut by $141 million, seeing Australia’s contribution to aid fall to an all-time low of 0.19% of gross national income.
That’s less than a quarter of one percent of our wealth.
I’m grieved that our government doesn’t express compassion; sharing our wealth.
I’m grieved over the impact this will have.
These cuts could mean less people will have access to education, adequate healthcare, immunisations, clean water and sanitation.
This means less people will be able to learn and earn an income, and more people will die from preventable causes.
The night was a gathering of prayerful hearts, hopeful amongst despair, standing together as a voice for those who live in poverty. I was privileged to join the cry for justice, performing my poem, Speak.
Early the following morning, we gathered on Parliament lawn to stage an event around a banquet table.
The table displayed an abundance of food and a banner stating “plenty to share”. It represented the abundance that Australia has, out of which we can share with those who are poor. Several politicians came out to greet us including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party Tanya Plibersek, Senator Pauline Hanson, the Hon Chris Crewther MP and Senator Claire Moore.