Greens Leader Bob Brown has hailed Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus' Nobel Peace Prize, saying "The prize is also recognition that peace is undermined by poverty. It is up to us all to work to close the yawning gap between the gluttonous rich and desperately poor people in our global community."
Senator Brown called on the Federal Government to recognize Muhammad Yunus' Peace Prize by doubling Australia's meagre contribution to microcredit to$15 million per annum. The global target is to triple to 175 million the number of people receiving microcredit by 2015.
In June, the government used its Senate majority to vote down Senator Brown's motion that the Senate:
(a) notes that:
(i) microcredit is a particularly effective and sustainable means of eradicating poverty,
(ii) microcredit borrowers, particularly women, generate income that allows them to feed, clothe, educate and care for the health of their children,
(iii) to date, 66.6 million people in the world have been reached with microcredit services,
(iv) Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) seeks to eradicate poverty, while its 2015 target is to reduce by half the number of people living on less that $1 per day,
(v) if the new Microcredit Summit goal of having 175 million of the world's poorest families receiving microcredit was reached by 2015, then nearly half the MDG target would be met,
(vi) Australia spent $14.5 million on microcredit in the 2005-06 aid budget which is 0.6 per cent of the aid budget, and
(vii) the United States of America, which has funded microcredit longer than most donor countries has established an international benchmark for microcredit spending, being 1.25 per cent of the aid budget; and
(b) urges the Government to:
(i) agree to support the new Microcredit Summit goal of having 175 million of the world's poorest receiving microcredit by 2015 as a means of achieving the MDGs, and
(ii) increase the proportion of money it allocates to microcredit to 1.25 per cent of the budget.
Family First did not support the motion.
Further information: Prue Cameron 0408 473 379