The Federal Government’s decision to look into whether Australia should adopt national legislation to combat modern slavery has been welcomed by The Salvation Army’s Freedom Partnership to End Modern Slavery.
A government committee has commenced an Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, comparable to the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. Such legislation would require businesses to publicly report on the steps they are taking to address worker exploitation and slavery in their supply chains.
If adopted, this national legislation will greatly discourage exploitation and slavery in Australian supply chains.
This is an opportunity for business to shape its response to slavery and human trafficking in our domestic economy, in the Asia Pacific region where slavery is most prevalent, and throughout the global community.
Legislation provides motivation. We would like to see this issue discussed in the boardrooms of companies across the country, and to see NGOs, service providers, unions and workers involved in collaborative supply chain solutions.
Read our full Submission to the Inquiry into Establishing a Modern Slavery Act.
The Freedom Partnership recommends three key areas of reform for the Modern Slavery Act:
1. Commissioner – the appointment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner to provide independent oversight and spearhead Australia’s efforts to eradicate modern slavery, with powers to monitor laws and hold business and Governments accountable.
2. Modern Slavery Statements – requirement for large organisations to annually report on steps taken to eradicate modern slavery within their organisation and supply chains.
3. Repository – creation and maintenance of a publicly accessible repository of all modern slavery statements filed each year, to ensure reporting laws are effective in bringing change and the progress of companies is measurable.
- For full details on the Inquiry including the terms of reference, view the Modern Slavery Act homepage on the Australian Parliamentary website.
- Read Walk Free Foundation’s new publication “The Case for an Australian Modern Slavery Act“. This overview sets out the case for new legislation and highlights three key areas for reform: the appointment of an Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner, disclosure obligations for large businesses and supply chains, and the creation of a reporting repository.
- To make a submission to the inquiry please read Walk Free Foundation’s ‘Guide to Filing Submissions.’
- Clifford Chance’s London-based partner, Rae Lindsay, has developed a table comparing the Australian government’s current Inquiry into a Modern Slavery Act, the Attorney General Department’s consultation paper on a modern slavery reporting requirement and the UK Modern Slavery Act. You can download it here.
Media on The Freedom Partnership and the Modern Slavery Act:
- Media Release: 16/08/17 – The Salvation Army Freedom Partnership welcomes new measures to combat modern slavery. The Salvation Army welcomes the Federal Government’s proposal to introduce new legislation requiring Australian businesses to report annually on steps taken to address slavery in their supply chains.
- Media Release: AFN welcomes Business Council support for a Modern Slavery Act. The Salvation Army Freedom Partnership together with the Australian Freedom Network welcomes the Business Council of Australia’s recent support for a Modern Slavery Act.
- Others Magazine – “Salvos Freedom Partnership leads push for Modern Slavery Act“
- The Huffington Post – “Modern slavery – an issue for Australia?“