Good News: A Modern Slavery Bill is in the Australian Parliament
“Modern slavery in supply chains distorts global markets, undercuts responsible businesses, and poses significant legal and reputational risks for companies..... This significant initiative will shine a light into the shadows of global supply chains where modern slavery thrives."
The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Former Minister Assisting the Minister for Home Affairs.
Join Our Campaign
Australia is developing a Modern Slavery Act that, if robust, could help save thousands of people from slavery around the world. We need our politicians to hear that Australians are interested, and want them to know what we think is important!
Send a Postcard to the PM
Ask Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to make a leader’s call to introduce a robust Modern Slavery Act into the Parliament this year.
Particularly, if you are in a swinging seat, we need you to help us raise this with your MP's.
The PM. names William Wilberforce as one of the people he wishes to model his leadership upon. Let’s encourage him to take leadership on this issue so we have an outcome Wilberforce would be proud of.
Guide To Visiting your politician
You can either post your cards to the Prime Minister, or if you are in a Coalition seat. Ask to meet with your local MP or your coalition Senators and ask them to deliver them to the PM for you. Below is a guide to meeting with your politicians.
Write to your MP and Senators
CLICK on the button below and you will be taken to our campaigning webpage BE SLAVE FREE. Enter your postcode and you will be provided with the contact details and suggested emails to your Representative and Senators.
What the Political Parties are Saying
We acknowledge that, for the parties, these responses are a “work-in-progress” and these commitments may change. We also acknowledge these are our interpretation of the commitments of the parties. We are asking the Labor Party, Greens and cross benchers in the Senate to introduce amendments to the Bill.
The Senate Inquiry has been released.
1. That the Government work towards building a list of 'reporting entities', and to publish compliance standards publicly, in order to test the proposition that 'reputational risk' is a sufficient motivator for reporting entities to comply with the requirements of the Act.
2. That lists of entities that do report, including entities outside the compliance threshold who report voluntarily, should be published publicly.
3. That an independent statutory officer be appointed to support the operation of the Modern Slavery Act.
4. That the statutory three-year review consider all aspects of the Act, with particular attention to compliance thresholds and compliance standards, and that the review be required to consider whether a mandatory penalty regime is required, drawing on the evidence and data gathered through the first three years of the Act's operation. The committee acknowledges that it may be shown that penalties are not needed.
5. That the Modern Slavery Bill be amended to include, in one location, reference to Australia's existing Modern Slavery offences (as outlined in Divisions 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code Act 1995) and to offences relating to fighting modern slavery such as offences relating to sexual and labour exploitation under the Migration Act 1958.
6. Subject to the above recommendations, the committee recommends that the bill be passed.
The Bill has been Tabled
The Modern Slavery Bill has been tabled in the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate for an Inquiry. Responses are due by the 20th of July, 2018.
The Government wants to support business to take action and create a level playing field for those who are doing the right thing through a legislative framework. However, the Government has omitted commitments to there being an Anti-Slavery Commissioner and penalties for non-compliance in reporting. Without someone charged with the responsibility and authority to oversee and implement the Act and without consequences for not complying with the Act, it will be very weak indeed.
This Could Be Our Best Chance to End Modern Slavery
STOP THE TRAFFIK welcomed the recent release of the Labor Party National Platform and the Minister of Home Affairs (the Hon Alex Hawke MP) both of which make commitments to a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.
We applaud the Minister Alex Hawke's vision that,
“This legislation sends a clear message that modern slavery will not be tolerated in our community or in the supply chains of our goods and services.”
Hidden in Plain Sight
STOP THE TRAFFIK welcomed the release of the report “Hidden in Plain Sight - An inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia”. The report adopts a human rights approach, which we support.
Hidden in Plain Sight addresses the multifaceted nature of modern slavery crimes. Tackling its wide-ranging nature requires all key aspects of the report being picked up in the proposed legislation. Should all the recommendations be adopted it will have enormously positive impacts on the lives and destinies of potentially millions of people working in the supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region including Australia. It will also provide better options and outcomes for people at risk of being coerced into conditions of modern slavery and support for victims of the same crimes.