Queensland Law Society

Australia’s first modern slavery bill the first step: QLS

The first national Modern Slavery Bill in Australia has been introduced into Federal Parliament, with Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor saying it was a good first step in a longer process.

The Bill was introduced on June 28, 2018 and referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry, with a report due by August 24, 2018. The proposed bill would see a supply chain reporting provision to encourage certain entities – those with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million – to report on modern slavery risks in their supply chains.

Mr Taylor said that the Society supported any sound measures that would ensure businesses who benefit from the provision of a good or service know how that good or service was produced.

“Queensland Law Society supports fundamental human rights for all people – whether in Australia or overseas –  and this is a solid first step in beginning to address modern slavery,” he said.

“We acknowledge the contribution of past president Greg Vickery AO in the development of this legislation.”

The Law Council of Australia has called for a national redress scheme for victims of modern slavery and compensation for the harm they have suffered. They also noted exclusions from the bill including the creation of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a lower proposed revenue threshold for reporting requirements set no higher than $60 million and penalties for non-compliance with the legislation.

“The Society stands ready and willing to provide any support or guidance on this bill or any others that protect human rights,” Mr Taylor said.