Australian PM’s comments on Walk Free and its founders

Extracted from speech by Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on 8 March 2013, on International Women’s Day.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard:

“It’s hard to imagine from the safety and comfort we know, yet slavery still exists in our world and in our land.

The setting is different than it once was. Today the people forced into slavery work in factories in domestic servitude, in brothels – often in big cities like this. But the violence and coercion they face is exactly the same.


I was introduced to [this issue] by Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola, who were talking to me about their role in establishing ‘Walk Free’ – a global movement that aims to eradicate modern slavery.

There are many things on which Mr Forrest and I do not agree but ending modern slavery isn’t one of them.

Twiggy and Nicola Forrest have shown amazing leadership on this issue. Not only that.  The Forrests have pledged to donate the majority of their wealth to this and other causes.

A gesture that will change lives in the most basic possible way – restoring people to freedom.


[A]s Australia’s first female Prime Minister, I’ve wanted us to do even more. That’s why we passed the Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking Act which our Governor-General signed into law yesterday.

Alongside these new laws, we are updating Australia’s National Action Plan to combat trafficking, slavery and forced marriage – which will come into force next year.

And today I’m proud to announce a new whole-of-government strategy to reinforce ethical behaviour in procurement so that no firm providing goods or services to the Commonwealth is tainted by slavery or people-trafficking anywhere in the supply chain.
While there’s no evidence this is the case at the moment, we know slavery or people-trafficking are becoming a greater issue as the global economy becomes more interlinked. I’d hate to see a single cent of public money go to any entity involved in this vile trade.

Friends, This is one of the many ways that Australia is saying ‘no’. No to people trafficking. No to slavery. No to treating women like objects or chattels. That is not a world we will accept. That is not a life we want for any woman or any girl.

Not here. Not overseas. Not anywhere. Not ever.”


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