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Modern Slavery in supply chains of Australian Companies

Hello dear community folk!

A few months ago the government started to look into establishing an act of parliament to eradicate modern slavery from supply chains of companies in Australia and around the world in concert with the UK Modern Slavery Act.

What do you think the best way to eradicate modern slavery from the supply chains of Australian companies is?
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/ModernSlavery

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Bring in a fair price policy. Ban or heavily tarriff the import of foods with dubious labour, environmental and subsidy/market dumping. These are goods produced which would not meet Australia’s expectations or if produced in Australia under the same conditons, would be subject to statutory enforcement (e.g. non-compliance with Australia’s labour, environmental, animal husbandry, quality etc requirements)

I expect that pressure on the supply chain reaults from the consumer’s desire to have a product at the cheapest possible price, without considering the ethics behind the products. Australian businesses are then expected to lower their costs to meet imports which are driven purely by price and potentially source products from countries where its workers and farmers can’t remove themselves out of poverty due to price paid for their goods (so that we can have cheaper goods in Australia)… …this is the modern slavery.

If ethics or fair price is dealt with, pressure on the supply chain will be reduced and Australian companies are more likely to be able to compete on a level playing field.

Modern slavery legislation responds to the behaviour caused by a problem, and does not solve the underlying problem.

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I also think it needs to apply to all products rather than just food.[quote=“phbriggs2000, post:2, topic:13965”]
Ban or heavily tarriff the import of foods with dubious labour, environmental and subsidy/market dumping
[/quote]

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With our historical approaches tending toward education not penalisation, requiring all Australian companies sourcing off-shore, and all importers above mum and pop operations, and perhaps even for domestic, to produce an annual report that includes their production wages against the prevailing wages in the respective source countries, and then as a percent of respective Australian EA or award wages. The consumer would then be able to decide if s/he wanted (eg) cage eggs or free range eggs and see how it goes.

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Hear hear

Great comment, I totally agree with your ideas and opinions.
cheers NatNat :slight_smile:

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Modern supply chains are complex web of international sources of first tier to six tier chains . One way, often overlooked is to ensure that Purchase Order terms and conditions and supply agreements contain relevant clauses . Many large companies have these clause yet they know its hard to know and enforce where slavery occurs.
As in the past, one of the best ways is to name the companies and the products that have slavery in the supply chain . This needs to occur whether there are laws or not .
Make it visible not hidden.

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Try going to “follow the thread via change.org”

Education, requiring disclosure and similar approaches all have a part to play as noted above by others. However if you look at the general population the many will continue to buy if the price is “right” regardless of ethics/morality. Many of us know of the poor working conditions of many Asiatic countries such as Bangladesh but we still purchase the products made in them because of the cost.

As @phb stated the only way to ensure the forced change is to ensure it becomes “unpalatable” or impossible for the consumer to purchase goods that have been produced in unethical ways and most of us respond to price pressure more so than any other method. This will have the flow on effect of making our Australian produced goods more attractive to the consumer.

Of course this will place greater pressure on our disposable incomes, particularly in this time of almost non-existent wages growth, but will perhaps cause a renewal of our Australian Industries and greater wages growth as a result. Globalisation has many negative effects including the death of our own industries and the pressure is always to find the cheapest and most profitable way not the most ethical way sadly.

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My issue with that is who is the arbiter, what are the standards and who sets them and how. What is the appeal / legal process?

There was quiet applause when the multinational online merchants pushed back on collecting GST; imagine the response if they cannot ship products here.

I see this as a be careful what you wish for regardless of how well intended if not approached with finesse and some regard for how the marketplaces work.

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Re: the question of supply chains to Australian companies I spent the last day or two tracking down the price of motor vehicles manufactured in Thailand , Japan the UK and the US . I found one model that is a Medium sized SUV that sells for $45, 727 in Australia . /

The problem I have with this . The vehicle can be sourced from any of the above countries . When I phoned the company involved they were more interested in discussing . " The quality of the vehicle is the same no matter where it is produced. " I countered with “I’m sure the pay scale for the workers that contribute to that quality is not equal .” Meaning the Thai workers would not get the same pay scale as their Japanese , American and English counterparts . /
They made a point that the logistics of shipping their vehicles from the Northern Hemisphere is more expensive . I came back that they source 80% of their vehicles from Thailand for the Aussie market . Northern Hemi argument irrelevant.The vehicle in question is sourced from Thailand . /

My problem with this , why are we paying a Japanese price for a vehicle produced by workers on a 3rd world pay scale .???/

On further checking on the aforesaid vehicle I found that the price actually increased anywhere from $1800 to $3000 AFTER they were sourced from the Thailand factory . I’m going to send off some emails to the manufacturer regarding pay scales . Wonder how far I will get ???

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Will be interested to hear how you go @vax2000, thanks for letting us know.

I don’t disagree that the process would be difficult to implement and control but if we don’t try then we fail because we didn’t act and I am not in any way saying that is what you suggest. If we try and fail then at least we gave it a go. I think of that saying that points to the only thing evil needs to succeed is for a good man to do nothing. Many times our politicians don’t do needed things because they see it as Too Hard or Too Risky politically for them and then they thrust other changes (like GST) without any regard to us.

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I would like to see changes happen a lot faster, but being a realist I have observed that real, lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. Education may be the slow route to change, but it’s a permanent change. Laws that produce those same changes can be overturned when another party is in government.

A good example is the public’s attitude towards eggs - more and more are demanding free range, and ethical treatment of chickens. This took years of continuing education. ( I foresee the day when, hopefully, cage and battery hens no longer exist).

Overcoming the addiction to cheap clothing made in Asian countries will be a tough one. We need a combination of rules and regs as well as education to make changes there, and it won’t happen quickly.

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I’ve just downloaded the Ethical Fashion Guide from Baptist World Aid, and it’s compelling reading. ( https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/2017-ethical-fashion-guide/ )

They’ve rated fashion houses on 40 different criteria relating to how well they treat their staff and what they do to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains.

I can’t recommend it highly enough if you want to be really informed about buying from companies that treat their staff properly.

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@BrendanMays My correspondence has been sent to car manufacturer as refereed to in previous post . I’m assured they will answer me in 3 to 4 working days . Hmm, I wonder , I’m not holding my breath on this one .

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So many variables though. Exchange rates, maybe different base equipment, extra dealer profit, extra manufacturer profit, etc. If they don’t take the opportunity to spin away from local conditions in Thailand re our pricing they are asleep at the wheel.

Remember Holden’s response when it was published a US spec Commodore was cheaper than pretty much the same vehicle here? The ACCC was good with that. Of course our conditions are good and we pay for them but apparently we are paying so much Americans were able to pay less.

Now about that sustainability for long term manufacturing…ooops, back to topic…so at the end of the day it is all just a business decision and because we know it was built in Thailand it is transparent, nothing to see, on to the next. /end scripted spin

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And don’t forget taxes as well. Both on products and also on profits.

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Hi, my name is Carrol. I never got far in school but the topic that I have just read is totally beyond me, I would very much like to understand about this modern slavery in supply companies ( my guess is it lets Australia/ns down. ) or heard of it before. I have no idea where to go to find out more info or know that it is truthful and correct, plus written in a way I can understand it. Could you help me with that info, please.

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I totally agree, Bryan.

I should also say in my email and Facebook newsfeed today, Bill Shorten announced a new bill (or whatever it’s called) to stop modern day slavery in Australia. I’m just stating a fact. Not a political point of view.