What EXPOSED has achieved

We wanted to go beyond “Is it legal?” to “Would God be pleased with my decisions?”

Brisbane has returned to the everyday as 3,000 media, 6,000 policemen and 20 world leaders exit. I was lucky enough to hear David Cameron and Tony Abbott at their press conferences and saw the Obama motorcade leave the conference.

IMG_3101              IMG_3088               IMG_3105

Thanks so much for following my blogs about the G20. The EXPOSED campaign landed in Australia after three years of prayer, coalition building, research and planning ideas.

What have we all achieved in that time?

I think I’d give the G20 7/10 and a B minus for effort.

Definitely worth the effort though because we represented the voices of ordinary people – church communities, small and medium size business people and development groups – who want to end the blight of unequal growth and selfish greed.

Information and education. We talked about the C word (corruption) in all sorts of contexts so that millions learned the extent, complexities and injustice of the problem around the world. 

We produced theological material and a report called Open for ServiceWe encouraged prayers of confession and prayer for leaders.

We sought out stories of transformation as we wanted to bring light and hope. Remember Biship Zac in Uganda, whistleblower Michelle Harding in South Africa and work across Nepal on integrity?

Our toolkits addressed corruption in the church and business. And the Global Call recognised that G20 governments needed to act.

Campaigning actions. EXPOSED has always been a call to churches, business and government to model integrity and transparency, that goes beyond “Is it legal?” to “Would God be pleased with my decisions?” We achieved *1000 vigils, *147,700 signatures on the Global Call in 176 nations, *hundreds of Selfies with a message for Australia’s Treasurer, *the Open Letter from 95 global Christian leaders representing a billion Christians, and *the world’s biggest mock tax haven event

Policy. As a global campaign calling for integrity in business and government we explained that funds could be freed for the poorest communities in the world if we dealt with corrupt and unethical practices. Extra funds from taxes could also be used to encourage business growth and employment opportunities in all nations.

We tried hard to make the policies accessible and to give real world examples from topical issues like corruption in sport, fashion and the oil industry in Nigeria.

Did we succeed in seeing policy change? The G20 committed to ongoing work to addressing all the policies at the heart of the Campaign – global tax dodging and corruption.

There’s still more steps to take but that is the beauty and curse of the G20 – small enough to have honest discussions but large enough for those discussions to end in general promises that need meaty detail at the national level.

G20 nations have agreed to share tax related information with each other and have established high level principles for ensuring that more is known about the true owners and beneficiaries of anonymous companies and trusts. In a bid to consider the interests of low-income countries, the G20 have also communicated plans to support the administrative skills and systems of developing countries’ tax systems through ‘capacity-building’.

So there have been definite steps towards the light of transparency.

Thanks for playing your part.

What do we really want the G20 to do?

Saturday – 1st day of the Summit

My last blog was mainly images, this one mainly words but they’re good, so bear with me.

EXPOSED has always been about a call to churches, business and government to model integrity and transparency, that goes beyond “Is it legal?” to “Would God be pleased with my decisions?”

18 months after we launched, and after….

*1000 vigils, *147,700 signatures on the Global Call, *hundreds of Selfies, an *Open Letter from 94 global Christian leaders representing a billion Christians, AND the *world’s biggest mock tax haven event…..

we are waiting to see how the G20 will take action on issues that affect us all – tax evasion and corruption.

Good governance is vital to all of us – business people, families, teachers, judges. And to do an effective job, governments need tax income.

But corruption robs us all of funds for public services. And the biggest form of ‘corrupt’ practice is tax evasion. Much of it is on the edge of legality but we all know it’s wrong. Australia’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, calls it “theft” and Tim Costello, chair of the Brisbane C20 and CEO of World Vision, asked this week why tax havens are allowed to exist when they do so much harm.

And here’s how unethical practice affects the poor.

In Sierra Leone, they are fighting Ebola with few resources. But, according to OECD sherpa, Gabriela Ramos, (in the centre of the photo) six international companies operating there enjoy tax breaks that are equivalent to 800% of the country’s health budget.

In other words, aggressive tax deals (it’s called the race to the bottom) mean that Sierra Leone is missing out on trained health workers and health infrastructure which in turn has exacerbated their Ebola crisis.

 IMG_3075                IMG_3071

That is why we are in Brisbane (basking in 38° today!) with the signatures, the tax haven media stunt, overseas friends from the Philippines and France and the involvement of hundreds of locals. We take seriously the words of Job in Chapter 24,

There are those who move boundary stones;
    they pasture flocks they have stolen.
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
    and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
They thrust the needy from the path
    and force all the poor of the land into hiding. …..

[God] may let them rest in a feeling of security,
    but his eyes are on their ways.
For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
    they are cut off like heads of grain.

We want less greed and more good.

For those still reading, this is the ABC of what we are hoping will be included in the communique tomorrow:

Automatic information exchange of tax information between governments. This has been endorsed by all G20 nations to be implemented by 2018.

BEPS is corporations reporting openly who benefits from profits and payments so the real beneficiaries are known. It is also about stopping companies shifting profits and costs among subsidiaries to avoid tax. This will be going ahead under guidance from the OECD over the next 3 years and more and more multinationals are supporting this move.

Country by country reporting is companies reporting exactly where they make profits rather than supplying global figures. Developing countries may not have the where withal to comply if the deal is only ‘reciprocal’. The OECD has released a template that could be a global standard.

Please pray for the communique process. Pray for the will to see the rules applied for the benefit of all.