The Australian Greens acknowledge the extensive work of the Committee in
this inquiry, and thank everyone who made a public submission and/or public
The Australian Greens welcome the key recommendations in the report and
strongly support legislating to create an anti-slavery framework in Australia.
The Australian Greens strongly support the appointment of an
independent statutory anti-slavery commissioner. As STOP THE TRAFFIK
...the issue of modern slavery is not addressed by one
Government department alone.
Importantly, an independent statutory anti-slavery commissioner is
crucial to oversee some of the Committee's and Australian Greens'
recommendation on the bill.
Review of the Act
The bill provides for a review of the Modern Slavery Act three years
after commencement. This review would be best conducted by the independent
statutory anti-slavery commissioner. However, the Australian Greens believe
this should be an ongoing three-yearly review, as a continual improvement
That the Act be reviewed on a regular and ongoing three-yearly basis by
a statutory anti-slavery commissioner.
Threshold for Compliance
The Australian Greens believe the $100 million threshold, given the
resourcing allocated, is adequate for the Act's implementation. However, lower
thresholds and targeting of businesses in high-risk industries regardless of
annual turnover are preferable in the medium and long term, and should be
considered in the Act's first three year review.
A review of the Act's threshold and targeting of high-risk industries
must also include a review of appropriate and commensurate resourcing of any
The Australian Greens support the views of a number of submitters who
argued that the first three years should be without penalties, with the focus
instead on developing capacity and buy-in from businesses. However, penalties
should be considered in the Act's first three-year review, and revisited in
That the first three-yearly review of the Act consider lower
thresholds, targeting of businesses in high-risk industries regardless of
annual turnover, appropriate and commensurate resourcing of the Commission, and
penalties for non-compliance.
Public Register and Reporting
The Act should provide for an online public register of compliance
statements. Compliance, whether compulsory or voluntary, should be something
businesses aspire to, and can be held to account over. This will promote
engagement from ethical consumers and consumer activists, which in turn will
positively influence market behaviour.
The Act should include a public register of compliance for
entities over the reportable threshold that provides for real-time online
analysis of the data to the public.
The Australian Greens support Save the Children's recommendation that
...a requirement that entities over the reportable threshold to
comply with the legislation in order to tender for government contracts.
Governments needs to lead by example when it comes to modern slavery,
and ensure their own supply chains are as compliant as those in the private
sector legislated by this Act.
That it be a requirement in the Act that entities over the reportable
threshold comply with the Act to be eligible to tender for government
Victim Support and Compensation
Several submitters have called for the Act to include a national
compensation scheme for victims of modern slavery. Although compensation is
traditionally covered by state legislation, and the focus of this bill is on
transparency and accountability, the Greens believe this argument has great
merit, and is not without precedent, as submitted by Ms Fiona McLeod SC.
Consideration of a national compensation scheme should be the next
priority consideration for the Australian Parliament regarding modern slavery.
Part of this consideration would include whether a victim support scheme would
sit under the Modern Slavery Act, or under other Commonwealth legislation such
as the Social Security Act, which includes compensation schemes such as
Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payments.
That the Parliament consider the need, scope, and application of a
national victim support and compensation scheme as the next tranche of modern
slavery legislation in Australia.
Senator Nick McKim
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