Modern slavery legislation in Australia



Publication Details

Kaye, S. (2020). Modern slavery legislation in Australia. Australian Law Journal, 94 (1), 15-20.


Mainstream media and civil society have become increasingly interested in the working conditions of individuals engaged in employment where the outcomes of that employment find their way to Australia. [1] Concerns are growing over the conditions of those working abroad, in a variety of industries, including those on deep sea fishing trawlers, the use of child labour in factories and in agriculture, the use of sweat shops in the production of clothing among a disturbingly long list. These kinds of practices are grouped together under the heading of modern slavery, [2] as they do not necessarily amount to slavery under the formal definition at international law, [3] but are viewed as unacceptable activities that should be stamped out by the international community. While the occurrence of these activities are often outside of Australia, [4] thereby beyond the scope of direct regulation and enforcement, there have been growing calls to limit the ability of business within Australia to incorporate the outcomes from this type of labour into its supply chain. In this way, it is hoped that by exerting pressure through the marketplace by preventing businesses from using suppliers relying on modern slavery practices, this behaviour can be discouraged. [5]

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