House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Statements by Members

Workplace Relations: Amazon

1:34 pm

Matt Burnell (Spence, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As we are now in the midst of Black Friday sales, it is prime time that I talk about Amazon and the kind of corporate citizen they are they are in operations in Australia and in the US. Frankly, anywhere they have established routes by way of server farms or distribution warehouses—or as they are called if you understand and speak the dystopian Amazonian language, a fulfilment centre—suffice to say, they are not called that because of how their employees feel about working there. In Australia, those workers are represented by the SDA and my former employer, the Transport Workers Union, the TWU. They banded together in 2018 to form the Online Retail & Delivery Workers Alliance.

It is of note that to Australia, Black Friday sales are a US import. Prior to Amazon, Black Friday is not exactly something the Australian would celebrate. These imported Americanisms by Amazon include their views toward industrial law and a worker's right to organise. We have seen shocking stories out of the United States. I'm sure Amazon would likely have gotten away with continuing to treat their workers with contempt here too, had it not been for the stoicism and action taken by the TWU and SDA on behalf of their members. I stand in solidarity with the SDA and TWU, and I echo their calls to send Jeff Bezos and Amazon a message. Treating workers with contempt is not tolerable here or anywhere else in the world or, in Jeff's case, not on the edge of space either.