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The Robin Hood Tax

Some of the nation’s best known charities, trade unions, academics and environmental groups have called on the federal Government to support a ‘Robin Hood tax’ in an open letter to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

The 0.05 per cent levy on financial transactions would generate billions of dollars to invest in anti-poverty and climate change programs globally.

The levy has high profile international supporters including the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and will be debated at the G20 meeting later this year.

65 signatories have called on the Australian Government to come out in support of the tax.

Andrew Hewitt, Executive Director of Oxfam Australia said “The financial transaction tax would primarily be felt by hedge funds and investment trading, with a limited impact on ordinary investors.

It’s a minor reform that would see major change for millions of people around the world in need."

The levy is also seen as a key measure to stamp out speculation in global financial market.

Professor John Langmore, from the Melbourne University’s School of Social and Political Sciences said the levy was timely.

“Introducing a financial transaction tax would generate funds for supporting equitable development, mitigating climate change and as well reduce the risk of another global financial crisis.”

The Uniting Justice Director, Reverend Elenie Poulos said the levy had the potential to shift economic behavior.

“The Uniting Church in Australia supports this campaign because even this tiny social responsibility tax will contribute to shifting the balance of our economy away from the relentless pursuit of profit by a tiny minority and towards the common good.”

Delivery of the letter to the Australian Prime Minister coincides with a global day of action on financial transaction taxes, with activities planned in 35 countries around the world.