Poverty evokes various definitions depending on the audience and perhaps the purpose or context that it is used. Limiting the definition of poverty to a ‘value judgment’ is of little use in terms of agreeing on a definition for the purpose of comparison and measurement between groups (Sen 1979, p.285). A clear definition of poverty supports and indicates the process for measurement, and as such would also assist in determining the focus and approach for development (Clark 2012; Ruggeri, Saith & Stewart 2006, p.19). In reviewing Oxfam Australia’s (Oxfam) Close the Gap campaign, it is necessary to identify the approach that is taken in defining poverty in order to gauge the scope of the project, the development of the approach used, and to quantify the change that occurs.
Oxfam itself has identified Close the Gap as a human rights campaign that aims to close the life expectancy health gap of 10-17 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait within a generation (Holland 2014, p.46). Vizard in her exploration of Sen’s capability approach (2005, p.24), emphasises the marriage of capabilities with human rights, citing poverty as one of the key exclusions to fundamental freedoms and human rights, thus expanding the definition of poverty into a multidimensional one.
Health is one of the dimensions included in the rights approach, which suggests that the abuses of human rights result in poverty and are also a result of poverty (OHCHR 2006, p.16). Along with a multidimensional