Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has accused the NSW Government of being undemocratic and a disgrace after failing to enact a law to eradicate modern slavery two years after it was unanimously passed by Parliament. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Launching a new report yesterday which warns the COVID-19 pandemic has put migrants, refugees and temporary visa holders at greater risk of forced labour, Archbishop Fisher said the Government was “stalling for time” after having declared the law a “moral imperative” in 2018.
Archbishop Fisher said turning a blind eye to modern slavery and human trafficking for many years was a “disgrace and dishonour” but that it was more disgraceful and dishonest to recognise the evil of slavery and then thwart measures to rectify it “apparently so businesses and consumers may continue to benefit from slavery”.
Archbishop Fisher said the NSW Parliament indicated it would be a Good Samaritan by passing the Modern Slavery Act 2018, but two years later the law had still not been enacted.
The NSW Government announced a parliamentary inquiry into the act after it was passed. The inquiry supported the enactment of the act by January 1 next year with some amendments including a three-yearly review. Archbishop Fisher said the parliamentary inquiry had been “unnecessary”.
A NSW Government spokeswoman said it would respond to the Standing Committee on Social Issues which tabled its report on the inquiry on March 25 “later this year”. “The Government is carefully considering the committee’s recommendations,” she said.
In a Facebook post this morning, Archbishop Fisher said: “We simply cannot afford as Christians to remain complicit in such a crime against humanity as modern slavery.”
Catholic Archbishop slams failure to act on slavery as a ‘disgrace’ (By Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald)
Archbishop Fisher's Facebook post (Facebook/Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP)