One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been branded a hypocrite for selling party t-shirts made in Bangladesh while portraying herself as a defender of Australian workers.
The bright orange ‘I Trust Pauline Hanson’ t-shirts were a prominent feature of One Nation’s campaigns during the 2016 federal election and this year’s WA state poll and were often donned by Senator Hanson herself.
But the merchandise, which is sold on the party’s website for $25 a piece, is made in Bangladesh, according to the label.
Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union national secretary Michele O’Neil said there was “no justification” for the party selling t-shirts made in Bangladesh.
“That is an extraordinarily bad call from One Nation,” she told The New Daily.
“There are skilled workers making quality political t-shirts in Australia. And as a party that claims to be based on ordinary working people’s lives, it shows the hypocrisy of that claim.
“All it says is you can trust Pauline Hanson to not support local workers and to promote her party on the backs of exploited workers in a third-world country.”
The unashamedly nationalist party says it opposes “globalism” and has attacked the Liberal and Labor parties for overseeing the decline of Australia’s manufacturing industry.
One Nation’s platform includes a policy to “assist Australians to buy Australian-made” through a tougher colour-coded labelling system.
Senator Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby reportedly said that the party’s controversial light plane was Australian-made because “Pauline’s all about keeping things local”.
The t-shirts bear the label of Sols, a French clothing company.
The New Daily understands t-shirts are purchased by the party from an Australian retailer and are screen-printed locally.
Labor says on its website that its t-shirts – also sold for $25 each – are Australian-made.
The total cost of making a t-shirt in Bangladesh is estimated at around 50c per shirt, according to a 2015 report from Baptist World Aid.
Ms O’Neil said Bangladesh had a “notorious, horrific reputation for the conditions of garment workers”.
“Bangladesh workers earn on $US80 a month and there’s been no increase in that for over three years,” she said.
“It’s dangerous, it’s low paid, the only basis as to why people choose to manufacture items in Bangladesh is it’s one of the cheapest place to do so. And that’s because workers are highly exploited.”
The New Daily contacted the LNP and Greens to ask where their party t-shirts were made but did not receive a response.
In 2011, the Queensland Labor government was slammed for using Bangladesh-made t-shirts to promote its ‘Buy Local’ campaign following the state’s devastating floods.
Earlier in the year, Senator Hanson was also slammed by unions for telling her supporters to buy Swiss brand Lindt’s chocolate easter eggs rather than Australian-made Cadbury, because the latter carried Halal certification for Muslim customers.
One Nation did not respond to a request for comment.