According to a main senate crossbencher, Australia should ban goods manufactured by Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in forced labour camps in western China.
Independent Rex Patrick from South Australia is calling for the Federal Government to follow the example of the United States, where Congress has just passed legislation requiring corporations to reveal their supply chain information.
“We’ve seen a million Uyghurs locked up in China in internment camps, and they’ve been locked up for political purposes,” Senator Patrick said.
“And now 80,000 of them have been moved into factories being used for slave labour to pay for that internment.
“I think some consumers are aware of slavery, and they’re also aware of our laws that now try to stamp that out.
With respect to Uyghurs and other minority Muslim communities, China has been accused of “ethnic genocide.”
Beijing, identifying the camps as training centres, denies those arguments.
A study from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute earlier this year found that hundreds of major corporations had suppliers connected to forced labour camps, including Apple, Nike and Uniqlo.
The independent senator claimed that, given the alarming reports coming from Xinjiang, there would be broad political support in Australia for such a ban.
He said that if there was no government intervention, he would bring his own private senator’s bill to ban the goods.
“I think the Government would find support in Labor, certainly amongst members of the crossbench,” he said.
“We will also need legislation to directly ban these products for companies that are making turnovers less than that $100 million threshold,” he said.