Our budget is a moral document. It is how we as a people decide to spend our collective money.
We delegate power to people we elect to tax us and to spend our money.
They are called Parliamentarians.
As Treasurer of the duly elected Turnbull Government, Scott Morrison has primary responsibility and will deliver tonight’s budget.
So what can we as Christians expect?
One of the biggest areas of concern is our generosity to the world’s poor.
Australia has long had a budget item for overseas aid.
This is money that the government channels towards some of the world’s poorest people.
As a rich nation, we should do this.
But the most recent Labor and Liberal Governments have deferred or cut our aid dramatically.
Until 2013, both parties made election promises to raise aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income.
This is about fifty cents for every $100 our nation raises.
But Labor’s last two budgets deferred this goal and when the Coalition got in in 2013, they began cutting aid in the name of “budget repair”.
Tonight’s budget will see Australia’s aid fall to its lowest level since the 1970s. It is currently hovering around 0.22 per cent of GNI.
This analysis by the Lowy Institute is worth reading. The Lowy Institute’s graph shows our aid is the lowest in 40 years.
Now government should live within its means and yes, we must look after poor people in Australia.
But poverty in this nation, while confronting, is nothing compared to what billions who live in extreme poverty in places like Africa and India endure.
During the Howard era, both sides of politics signed up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Other nations signed on, notably the United Kingdom, which met its commitment to raise aid to 0.7 per cent of GNI.
All this while imposing austerity measures to fix a budget emergency far worse than Australia’s.
Media reports yesterday that the Turnbull Government will tonight raid the aid budget to pay for counter terrorism measures is further evidence of our abandonment of the world's poor.
That there is little outcry, even from the church, is testament to how great a hold materialism has on our hearts.
Money is precious to us.
We seem to see the budget as about us and our economic well-being.
Yes, we have a generous welfare system for our poor and more money will be found for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, but we are putting aside precious little for our neighbours in our global community who are suffering.
Now that the MDGs have expired, the new Sustainable Development Goals have been adopted and continue to pursue the eradication of all forms of poverty.
A measure of virtue is one’s ability to do things for others in disregard for one’s own self-interest.