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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2742

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (12:26): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh that killed 1 127 garment workers, many of whom were sewing clothes for international brands in unsafe conditions,

(ii) the significant protests and riots by garment workers in Bangladesh in response to the building collapse, and

(iii) that in response, some international clothing brands have signalled their intention to sign an accord committing to improve fire and building standards for their workers in Bangladesh; and

(b) calls on:

(i) Australian companies to ensure the safety of their workers in developing countries through improving standards and conditions and providing for independent inspections of factories,

(ii) Australian clothing companies to join the accord committing to improve fire and building standards for workers in Bangladesh, and

(iii) the Australian clothing industry to consider moves towards supply chain accreditation for products from developing countries.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: This motion is about recognition of the terrible tragedy that we have seen unfolding in Bangladesh over the last two weeks with the collapse of the Rana Plaza building and the subsequent civil disobedience that we have seen around that in Bangladesh. It is also a recognition of the role that we as consumers play in Australia and how we are linked to that and what we can do to prevent these things happening in the future. We often talk about fair trade and free trade in this building. This tragedy is a recognition that this is very real and that there are certain things that we can do to make a difference here. So the motion also calls for a move in the retail and fashion industries to look at things such as product certification so that consumers can be aware of where clothing items come from and how they are made. These types of arrangements should be incorporated in trade arrangements.

Question agreed to.