When Kevin Rudd was PM I wrote a letter which I sent to both him and the minister for trade. I just found it again, so I have again sent it. This time I sent it to Julia Gillard & Craig Emerson (minister for trade). The more people that write to the government about this, the more likely they are to do something about it. There is little motivation for change (especially in an election year) if the people don’t speak up. They’ll do what they think will win them favour and get them votes. Why not even send it to Abbott and ask him to do something about it if he gets in government in September?
I’ve even done all the work for you! I’ve written the letter and given you the contact details. Take 60 seconds out of your day to help the exploited of the world.
If you want to contact the PM go HERE. If you want to contact the minister for trade go HERE. To send a letter to Tony Abbot go HERE (although you’ll need to tweak the letter slightly to send it to him). You can also contact your local member by searching for them HERE.
Here is the letter I wrote:
To The Honourable Julia Gillard,
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen. In this time of increasing social awareness, specifically in the area of fair trade, I think it’s time that the Government stepped in and made some serious changes.
You are a representative of the people, and there had been a huge increase in the public interest of fair trade products. As a country we import countless products that exploit the poorest of the poor who are unable to advocate and stand up for themselves. The abolition of slavery was founded on these same principles. We wouldn’t dare endorse slavery in this country, so why do we support it through our trade practices? We freely import products that keep people in a cycle of poverty. This is unacceptable.
You may say I should choose to purchase things that are fair trade (and I do), but as a Government it is your responsibility to oversee our country’s conscience. We don’t allow people to have slaves if they so choose, so why do we allow people to buy products that effectively keep people in conditions that amount to slavery? Why is this part of our trade policy, supporting these conditions? There is nothing acceptable about this. There is no reason for companies to continue to exploit these workers other than greed and financial gain. People are always more important than money. Always.
This issue is particularly poignant for coffee and chocolate products. Even though things are starting to change, I still see it as the Government’s role to be involved.
Having said all this, I do realise it is a complicated issue. I know that there is no solution that will not be met with immense opposition. But did that stop those campaigning for the abolition of slavery? Should it stop us? I say no. And as a representative of the Australian people, it is your role to ensure that our country is run with integrity, and that our trade practices are not something to be ashamed of.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope it will drive you to positive action.