Boycotting Halal

Just before Easter, One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson called for a boycott of Cadbury chocolate because of a Halal certification. Below is Barbara’s response to the controversy.

I have rarely heard anything so ludicrous and unpatriotic as Pauline Hanson’s call to boycott Cadbury’s Easter eggs.

Cadbury’s has factories in Australia employing Australians. Those Australians probably have families. Those families buy goods and services from other businesses and thus help keep the economy ticking over. They may have a mortgage on a house or be paying rent. If a boycott was successful and nobody brought Cadbury chocolates what would be the consequences for those workers? Unemployment, less spending money and hardship for them and their families. The impact, however, extends beyond them to the businesses they once supported as they can no longer spend money there. Unemployment in Tasmania is high so why would an Australian politician want to make it worse by closing a Cadbury factory? If there are no sales in the country they have their factories why would a company stay instead they would succumb to the lure of cheaper wages and go overseas.

In an area of country South Australia with a scarcity of jobs, a small manufacturer managed to score a lucrative contract, and he increased his staff by about 35 people to make the new product. The product was going into an overseas Muslim country and had to be certified Halal. The business owner was threatened as were his children. The intimidation worked, he cancelled the contract and sacked those workers. Years later many are still unemployed.

Businesses get Halal certification, not to appease the just over 2 percent of Australia’s population that is Muslim but so they can export to Muslim countries and expand their markets. This trade is potentially worth billions to Australia and results in employment for Australians. This site is the Government site explaining Halal. 

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It was apparent from many people’s comments on the Halal boycott they don’t really understand the way certification is done. It is not necessarily every individual food type that is certified, so no the Chocolate eggs or Vegemite aren’t specifically selected to be certified Halal, but the factories and supply chain. Many foods are naturally Halal but certification indicates that a check has been made that the ingredient suppliers, transport companies and the factory itself can’t accidentally contaminate the food. This may mean an ingredient in one product has to change so ‘contamination’ can’t occur impacting other already naturally Halal foods. Once certification of a production facility is done everything coming from that facility is Halal. Most products are aimed at the export market or a hoped-for export market, and some hits Australian supermarket shelves. It is not possible to certify one and not the other because it comes from the same facility.

Many people express concern that the money raised may go to fund terrorism despite AUSTRAC finding no evidence of this. There is silence however over fuel companies continuing to buy oil from ISIS captured oil wells or TABCORP being found guilty of money laundering some for terrorist groups. Have these people also stopped putting fuel in their cars and pulled all support from TABCORP?

I find Pauline Hanson’s anti-Halal stance incredibly unpatriotic as she is asking you to help axe Australian jobs. I’ve checked One Nation website her policy is that the Australian Government do the certification for Halal. I doubt they could or would as they outsource or privatise their functions regularly and it would probably end up back with the one or more of the same organisations and if a Government body did it will the importers accept that. After all, there are all sorts of requirements put on exporters to meet other countries requirements, (labelling, packaging product size, chemicals used are among a few).

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If you feel strongly that you won’t buy Halal, or you won’t buy products with palm oil, or foods or products sourced from child labour, products from animals or any other thing you may feel strongly about I can understand and support that even if I don’t have your concern. However, are you doing it though with a full and clear understanding of all the issues?

Do you agree with Barbara? What do you think of products with Halal certification?

 
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