Fair Trade Electorate Office

12 May 2015

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 15:18:21 ): We are currently in Fair Trade Fortnight, and I want to let members of this house know about the Bright electorate office's recent fair trade accreditation. I would like to take this opportunity to let the parliament know about the fair trade accreditation process and to inform members that it is my intention to encourage our parliament to become Australia's first fair trade accredited parliament.

Since working in Uganda in 2007 and again in 2009, I have had a significant interest in fair trade and the benefits which it delivers to people living in developing countries. This interest was reinvigorated by my recent visit to Zimbabwe as a guest of World Vision Australia and through a meeting of representatives from VGen, the youth arm of World Vision.

Fair trade is worth pursuing, as it gives an alternative route for goods and products rather than traditional international trading systems, which often foster exploitation of produce and the environment, which in turn has a detrimental impact on people's livelihoods, cultures, communities and environments. The benefits of fair trade include:

  • support for producers who are already disadvantaged by poverty, environmental and climate disasters, disease, conflict, government corruption and poor infrastructure; and
  • emphasis on the importance of respectful and sustainable production and trading practices.

Fair trade also helps alleviate poverty and other disadvantages faced by producers and their communities throughout the world by enabling producers to create sustainable livelihoods and develop the capacity to compete in local and international markets.

Becoming a fair trade accredited office is quite an easy process. To achieve accreditation, an office only needs to have two regularly used fair trade products and commit to using their position as an employer, or a place where people visit, to promote fair trade practices. For the Bright electorate office, that has meant swapping to fair trade tea and coffee and displaying information on fair trade prominently in the office, as well as promoting it through our community newsletter, on social media and on our website. Organisations which are fair trade accredited are entitled to display their fair trade logo in their promotional material and in the office.

It is important to note that the South Australian parliament already uses fair trade coffee and was the first parliament in Australia to make this important switch. To become officially fair trade accredited, Parliament House will only need to regularly use one other fair trade product. I have been liaising with Creon Grantham about this and will continue to pursue it.

Those of us occupying seats in this house are uniquely positioned with the influence and resources to be leaders in our community, making a public commitment to decent, dignified work practices and doing our bit to support sustainable economic development, living wages and developing countries. I urge all members of parliament to investigate getting free trade accreditation for their electorate offices. It has been a pleasure working with Chris Hartley and Kitty Weir from the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand throughout the accreditation process, and I am sure they will be able to help any other members of parliament who wish to follow this up.

Extracted from Hansard