Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 August 2005 2005) . . Page.. 3167 ..
I will now speak to both the original proposition and the amendment. Let me say that one cannot argue with motherhood, and you would have to say that this is a very worthy sentiment, and I do not mean that in a patronising way. I have done a little personal research on fair trade and I understand the concept and understand the consequences of there not being a process such as this.
The motion itself talks about tea and coffee, and I suppose they are some of the products that we in this place might use a little more than honey, sugar, rice, fresh fruit juices and sports goods, which, so far, have been covered by the free trade labelling organisations certification process. Of course, there are other labelling mechanisms around the world and other initiatives of a similar nature that set out to label products as having been purchased in a fair and ethical way or, at least, the base materials have been purchased in a fair and ethical way. I think it is a very commendable process. Today I want to make a commitment; in fact, I have already issued the instructions. Having read Dr Foskey’s motion, and having done a bit of research myself, we will—in reviewing the purchasing processes that are in place, and the legislation and the regulations that we put in place to govern our purchasing—take into account the fair trade philosophy and do what we can to make sure that this process is incorporated or at least taken into account in the purchasing that we do.
We have a purchasing regime, a procurement policy, which has a number of principles included in it: value for money, open competition, probity and environmental sustainability and ethical suppliers. It is a moot point as to whether that parameter that we place on purchasing would be sufficient to take into account fair trade certification. I do not think it will so, in our examination of the purchasing procedures scheduled for this year or early next year, we will take into account this process, particularly under that guideline that we have in our purchasing principles.
At the same time, there will be many products that do not necessarily have their roots in exploitation but are not certified as fair trade items. If we are going to do this, if we are going to look at it, let us not make it a gesture. Let us take it into account and build it into the purchasing process. We will do that but we will also have to take into account, whether we like it or not, the procurement agreements and free trade agreements that have been signed. We have to take into account those governing agreements within our purchasing procedures and we also have to take into account our own parameters such as buying Australian, for example. There may well be many products that are not necessarily fair trade certified products, or similar certification, but nevertheless we would at least assume that they do not have the base materials provided under some exploitative regime.
This does smack of a grand gesture. If it is only tea and coffee, and only tea and coffee consumed in this Assembly, then it is purely a gesture. I would not like to think we were involving ourselves in that sort of process but, rather, be a little more serious and look at the potential and the growth of fair trade initiatives across the world. At some future time, we may find that quite a number of products would fit into the same category and would have the same problem of exploitation of the production of base materials associated with them. We probably should have a regime that is practical, workable and takes into account every opportunity. I give this Assembly the commitment that we will conduct a review, and it is scheduled to be conducted, and it will take into account