One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been slammed over her call for an Easter boycott of Cadbury, with the union representing the chocolatier’s workers labelling the move “totally irresponsible”.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Tasmanian secretary John Short said the Queensland senator’s push for a boycott over Cadbury’s halal certification could put jobs at risk.
“For somebody that is supposed to be looking after Australians and trying to protect Australian jobs, to promote Lindt, which I understand is made overseas, over Cadbury’s workers is a bloody disgrace,” Mr Short told The New Daily.
“Why would you support overseas manufacturers when you want to protect Australian jobs?”
Federal Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson has joined the chorus of criticism, saying Pauline Hanson is talking “complete BS” trying to urge Australians not to buy halal Easter eggs.
“Pauline Hanson is talking complete BS,” Mr Wilson told Sky News.
Senator Hanson posted a video to social media earlier in the week, telling Australians to choose Lindt or Darrell Lea at Easter instead because they were not halal-certified.
Here's an update on where I'm at with the Senate inquiry into 3rd party food certification.#Auspol #OneNation #PaulineHanson #HalalCertification
Posted by Pauline Hanson's Please Explain on 2017年4月10日
“If you want to support these companies, do it … go and buy some non-halal Easter eggs and chocolate,” she said.
“We see these products out there that are actually halal certified, Cadbury’s chocolate for instance.
“But if you want to get product that’s not halal certified, I’d suggest Lindt, that’s not halal certified. And another great one is Darrell Lea.”
Any boycott of Cadbury could have disastrous consequences for the 1100 workers at factories in Victoria and Tasmania, according to Mr Short.
“It’s one of the most important times of the year for Cadbury,” he said.
The company shed 20 per cent of the workforce at its Hobart factory in 2015, while a plant in Dunedin, New Zealand is also set to close this year.
Mr Short said recent job losses had been “devastating for the people who were made redundant”.
“You’ve just had a Cadbury factory close and you get Pauline Hanson saying, ‘Don’t buy Tasmanian, don’t buy Australian goods.’
“She doesn’t care about Australian workers. All she cares about is the big headline in the paper.”
While Darrell Lea is an Australian company, Swiss chocolatier Lindt has factories in Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the US. However, it does have chocolate “cafes” in Australia.
Ms Hanson said she had written to the government, asking whether it would implement the recommendations of a 2015 inquiry into third-party food certification.
The inquiry, spearheaded by then-Liberal and now Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi, made seven recommendations, including that products that had received third-party certification were clearly labelled.
The inquiry also proposed the creation of a single halal certification authority and a single national registered certified trademark.
It found no links between halal certification and terrorism – a key focus of the inquiry.
Halal certified products have a licensed marker that confirms the food does not violate Islamic religious rules, which could mean containing colouring or other additives derived from certain animals in the case of confectionary.
Meanwhile, The Project host Waleed Aly chose to eat a Lindt gold chocolate bunny on air in response to Senator Hanson’s claims on Tuesday night.
Aly, who is a Muslim, said on the program that while the product was not halal certified, it was still halal.
“I eat these all the time. These are awesome,” he said.
Cadbury was contacted for comment.