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Commentary: At last, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. Here’s what you’ll need to know

Auteur: Paul Redmond, The Conversation, Publié le: 4 December 2018

3 December 2018

It has taken years, but after votes in the Senate and House of Representatives last week, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act.

...Australia's will require businesses and other organisations above a certain size (consolidated revenue of A$100 million) to report annually on the risks of modern slavery....

...Two controversial omissions are penalties and independent oversight.

This needn't be fatal. The requirement and the public register means that companies that don't report properly can be "named and shamed"....

Australia's parliamentary inquiry and a good many of the submissions strongly supported the appointment of an independent statutory anti-slavery commissioner with the authority and resources to oversee compliance.

...The Labor party supports both penalties and the appointment of an independent commissioner.

It is possible that both requirements will be in place before the first modern slavery statements are due on June 30, 2020.

...[W]e need to monitor compliance levels, and determine whether penalties and independent oversight are needed. And we need to set up processes that ensure the reports are of good quality.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a guide. Happily, the Act adopts these principles.

...The Guiding Principles help here too, outlining the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights and to provide remedies wherever they operate.

...The Act is a start, quite a good one. We will need more.

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