Australian Made is not the answer

Maybe you watched the story about the Bangladesh garment factory workers on 60 Minutes on Sunday night?  Or maybe you don’t watch such shows…  I never do, was a fluke that I did this week.

It’s great that these issues are making their way into mainstream media.  It’s sad that over a thousand people had to die for it to be newsworthy enough.

It’s great that they ‘named and shamed’ Kmart and Target, it’s great that it made people react, made them feel angry, made them post Facebook status updates and tweets about how they wouldn’t shop at Target again, would boycott Kmart…

Problem is, I am not certain that the workers in those factories want us to stop buying those things.  I feel quite sure they want to keep their jobs.  You don’t go to work in those conditions, which were, to be blunt, 5 star conditions compared to those shown in the Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts documentary, if you have a choice, if there is some other way you can support your family.

My feeling is that these workers desperately want to keep their jobs, they just want to do them in safer conditions, with better entitlements and a fairer, living wage.

The argument about the environmental cost of fast fashion and the pollution the textile industry creates is one for another day.  There is no black or white, just an extraordinarily large array of greys.    For now, you can do something.  If you wanted to, you could go to and sign the petition to encourage Woolworths and Big W to sign onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord to ensure a minimum standard of workers’ safety conditions.  Again, more grey.  It helps those factory workers in Bangladesh, not worldwide.  But it’s a start.

Bottom line is, you are not powerless.  You can help change the world.  How you do that is up to you, maybe you don’t agree or don’t care about this issue, the point is, you are not powerless.  Go do good things.


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