Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives, Hansard, Wednesday, 17 September 2018

Description:

The Modern Slavery Bill is currently being considered by Parliament. On 17 September 2018 there was a second reading during which a number of members gave speeches and put forward amendments and opinions. Mr Thistlethwaite, stated that as it stands, without amendments, ‘the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 doesn’t go far enough, and unfortunately, ignores the recommendations of several inquiries’. With regard to the issue he goes on to state that Australian businesses can, ‘play a major role in either facilitating modern day slavery or helping to eradicate it. Companies can be culpable by driving down supplier price or demanding ever-quicker production’. Mr Bandt, also identified that this issue is not just occurring in global supply chains but also in our backyards, with a story of clients he represented while he worked as a lawyer. Ms Plibersek said, ‘As a society, we won’t be able to end it unless we have laws dedicated to preventing it and to stopping it and resources to support that legislation’.

Read the hearing here: https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/

Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives, Hansard, Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Hearing description:

The Modern Slavery Bill is currently being considered by Parliament. On 12 September 2018 there was a second reading during which a number of members gave speeches and put forward amendments including the inclusion of penalties for non-compliance and the establishment of an independent commissioner. Ms O’Neil of Hotham stated, ‘tackling slavery and exploitation is absolutely core to Labor’s mission’ and that, ’Modern slavery is everywhere we look. The problem that we face is that we are not looking enough and that brings us to the bill before us’. She also stated, with regard to the importance of penalties for non-compliance, that, ‘For a long time, companies have argued that what their suppliers do is none of of their business, and we just believe that is not good enough anymore….I just want to make it absolutely crystal clear that complying with Australian law is not optional; it’s not optional for the ordinary citizen, it’s not optional for people that sit in this chamber and it should not be optional for big business’. There is indeed overwhelming support for the Modern Slavery Bill, Mr Crewther, who led the Modern Slavery inquiry, when speaking said, ‘this is indeed an issue that has brought together both the left and right not only in politics but in the broader community’.

Read the hearing here: https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/

‘Tackling modern slavery in global supply chains’, by Kevin Hyland OBE, The British Academy

Blog description:

This blog post is written by the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE. This is an incredibly powerful, informative and inspirational read. The closing sentence states, We have incumbent upon us a moral duty to stop privileging price and profit over the basic wellbeing and rights of people who are just like you and me, but happen to have been born into different circumstances.’ Kevin Hyland focuses in particular on the role of the private sector in this blog post. He states, too often in my role as Commissioner, I have been told that solving forced labour in the private sector is ‘impossible’, particularly with regard to the Global South. It is not; rather, this is wilful blindness to the solutions needed’.

Read blog here: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/tackling-modern-slavery-global-supply-chains

A Human Rights Approach – Briefing sheet

Reports and convictions of trafficking in Australia have occurred. They have occurred in situations of slavery, sexual servitude, forced labour, forced marriage, domestic servitude ( in home workers) and debt bondage. Exact numbers of people trafficked to Australia each year is not known due to difficulty in reporting and because of the illegal nature of the crime. There is also a need for a national compensation scheme for people who have been caught in slavery in Australia. All the compensation schemes are state based and different. Yet slavery is a national crime. To address these issues adequately, Australia will need a Domestic Slavery Commission. The Commissioner would be a focus and a central “go to” point to ensure the implementation of an Act and adequate care for people caught in slavery in Australia.

Laws reflect the values of a culture. Freedom is a human right and not a privilege. Human rights protection has traditionally been a matter for the State. However, due to globalisation, the liberalisation of trade and the immense economic power of corporations, it is now well recognised that there is also a crucial link between the way in which businesses conduct their operations, human rights and diligent corporate social responsibility policies. In addressing human trafficking, slavery and slave like practices in Australia, our laws should take into account that the most immediate obligation is to ensure that the victim is protected from further exploitation and harm and that compensation and remediation is available. These are basic human rights that Australia has committed to. These should underpin a Modern Slavery Act.

Human Rights Approach REVISED Human Rights Approach

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Australia has obligations under a number of international treaties to protect survivors of human tra cking and slavery.5 It is essential that the rights and safety of survivors are at the heart of any legislation or policy to combat human trafficking and slavery.

Human rights protection has traditionally been a matter for the State. However, due to globalisation, the liberalisation of trade and the immense economic power of corporations, it is now well recognised that there is a crucial link between the way in which businesses conduct their operations and human rights. Businesses have a responsibility to protect human rights impacts that are linked directly to their operations. Around the world more and more responsible businesses are investing in corporate social responsibility prolicies that put human rights front and centre of business practice. In the list of the world’s top 100 economic entities, 31 are nation states and 69 are corporations.

Anti-Slavery Commissioner – Briefing Notes

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We believe an Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be essential to be appointed to oversee Australia’s implementation of any Modern Slavery Act and the complexities associated with the same. This requires a sophisticated and cross-departmental approach with Government. It crosses human rights, human services and law enforcement at a minimum. Its implementation will require building relationships with the States, NGOs, Trade Unions, business and the legal community.