Australian Christian leaders call on government to reverse budget cut

Australian Christian leaders have banded together to oppose the planned aid budget cut and has sent a letter to government Treasurer Scott Morrison in a bid to convince him to reverse the cut.

(Reuters/Samrang Pring)Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison smiles during an interview with Reuters in Phnom Penh, September 26, 2014.

Leaders of Australia's 12 Christian denominations are concerned that the planned aid budget cut of AU$224 million (around US$171 million) will see the lowest level in the history of the country's aid budget. In their letter to Treasurer Morrison, the Christian leaders expressed their hope that Australia will become a better neighbor to other countries, the Anglican News relays.

"Australia's support for aid and the flourishing of our neighbours is fundamentally a moral question and it rises above partisan politics ..." the Christian leaders said in the letter.

"Because of our shared faith, our commitment to compassion and our common humanity, and with a resolute hope that Australia can be a better neighbour and more principled actor in the community of nations, we call on you not to proceed with the scheduled cut of $224 million and begin, instead, to restore our commitment to Australian aid," the letter explains.

The letter also points out that this will be the fourth time that the government has reduced Australia's aid budget.

Morrison's office has not yet released a comment on the letter. A spokesperson told SBS that the government does not speculate on the budget and it will be released on May 3.

Ben Thurley, the head of the group that organized the letter, said Australia has chosen to drop its commitment to fight poverty and has become less generous despite its increase in wealth. He also highlighted the Australian Aid's role in making sure that children in poor countries have access to education, safe drinking water, and vaccinations.

Nevertheless, the national coordinator of Micah Australia remains optimistic that the budget could be revised at the last minute. Thurley says more than 10 million Australians represented by the letter's signatories are united in their belief in Jesus' call to love their neighbor.