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Australian Christian leaders call for caring foreign policy

Australian Christian leaders call for caring foreign policy

Australian Christian leaders call for caring foreign policy

13 March 2017

Commissioner Floyd Tidd added his signature to those of 11 other Christian leaders, calling on the Australian Government to develop a more caring foreign policy.

By Simone Worthing

Commissioner Floyd Tidd, National Commander of The Salvation Army in Australia, has joined 11 other Christian leaders calling for a foreign policy that “loves our neighbours as ourselves”.

Commissioner Tidd added his signature to a letter to Julie Bishop, Australia’s Foreign Minister, asking the government to consider the  interests of our poorest, and most vulnerable neighbours, to rebuild our aid program and to position Australia to be, not only a just and generous neighbour, but a leader in international efforts to fight poverty and tackle global challenges of inequality, conflict and climate change.

The letter from church leaders was an initiative by Micah Australia – a coalition of churches and organisations raising a powerful voice for justice and a world free from poverty.  The Salvation Army International Development Department (SAID) played a significant role in ensuring that The Salvation Army joined Micah Australia members in this initiative.

“The upcoming Foreign Policy White Paper will outline the Government’s International Aid and Development priorities for the next decade” said Lieutenant-Colonel Simone Robertson, SAID Director. “It’s important that churches have a voice in shaping this white paper. SAID’s mission in empowering vulnerable communities to prosper in their economic, social and spiritual lives, which is reflected in the call to action‘s focus on the poorest and most vulnerable of our neighbours."

Casey O'Brien Machado, Territorial Social Justice Co-ordinator in the AUE, says that loving our neighbour becomes a question of, ‘Who is my neighbour?’  "If our neighbour is anyone within tangible reach of our compassion, in a world which is increasingly becoming smaller due to globalisation and technology, we can't help but acknowledge that those on the other side of the world are indeed our neighbours.

“We as Christians simply must advocate for generous sharing of our resources with those in the world who are not as resource-rich as we are. As long as issues such as poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change continue to affect our global brothers and sisters, we simply have a responsibility to  advocate on their behalf. Australia can and should have a foreign policy which reflects such generosity.”

Micah Australia said that, at this critical time, Australia’s Christians must speak out for a more just and generous nation. “We want to be a nation that acts as a good neighbour in a region where too many are still forced to live in poverty and vulnerability. A nation that increases aid to help our poorest neighbours tackle poverty, instead of cutting it. A nation that stands with vulnerable communities as they face up to rising seas and a disrupted climate, instead of denying we have a problem. A nation that ensures the wealthiest companies pay their fair share to ensure that all can have enough. A nation that welcomes people rather than excluding them.

“Micah Australia have already gathered over 9,000 submissions to the Department of Foreign Affairs, letting the bureaucrats know we want Australian foreign policy to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves,’. Now it's time to let the politicians know as well!’”

To view the letter and add your signature to that call personally, go to: micahaustralia.org/white_paper

The Salvation Army attends Micah's annual “Voices for Justice” event, this year taking place in Canberra from 9-11 September. If you are interested in attending with other Salvation Army delegates, please email  socialjustice@aue.salvationarmy.org

 

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