Molly, from Ethical Clothing Australia, the company that assists businesses with becoming accredited as an ethical clothing company, had some interesting things to say about the ethics of ‘Made in Australia’.
Unfortunately made in Australia does not always equate to ethically made. The problem of sweatshops also occur in Australia, with many clothing workers working from home in pretty bad conditions, often receiving as little as $4-5 per hour. The Outworkers Code of Practice which you mention is a Mandatory Code of practice for clothing retailers and manufacturers in Queensland. This is intended to supplement the Award and legislative which sets the minimum standards for businesses in the TCF industry in Queensland. There is a strong system of regulation in Australia for clothing businesses, but unfortunately compliance with these laws has historically been poor – hence the need for a voluntary code of practice like ours.
Thanks Molly, for giving me a more accurate picture. For a full list of companies accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, check out the list on their website.
The reality is that buying ‘Made in Australia’ is not enough of a guarantee that the item was produced ethically. Apologies to my teen daughter, who was fairly excited at the prospect of being let into Supre for their new ‘Made in Australia’ range.
This will make the challenge of buying only sweatshop free items more, well, challenging. But I like a challenge.
If you’ve had a look at the lists of sweatshop free shops under the ‘sweatshop free’ tab on this blog, look again, because I’m updating it now that Molly has clarified things for me.