The leader of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party this week released a video encouraging Australians to favour “non-halal” chocolate eggs over brands that are halal-certified, such as Cadbury.
The video was posted on Ms Hanson’s Facebook page as an update to the Senate inquiry into third-party food certification. In it, she suggests Australians seeking “non-halal” Easter products opt for chocolate from Darrell Lea or Lindt.
Ms Hanson has long argued that products in Australia should be “halal free”, claiming Australians are paying a tax on foods permissible to Muslims.
Workers employed at Cadbury have rejected Ms Hanson’s calls for a boycott of Cadbury Easter eggs and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) claims the video is a “desperate grab for attention” and also a threat to the jobs of Australian confectionery workers.
AMWU Tasmania Secretary John Short says 1,100 Cadbury staff are employed across three sites in Tasmania and Victoria, and Easter represents a peak in chocolate sales for the company.
“Any reduction in chocolate sales this Easter because of Senator Hanson’s irresponsible comments directly threatens the jobs of our members and we call on the public to ignore her,” he said.
Last year, 12 workers lost their jobs in Tasmania after Cadbury decided to shut down its visitor centre. Last month, 300 workers in Dunedin, New Zealand learnt that their Cadbury factory would close early next year.
“The threat to workers’ jobs is real,” Mr Short said. “Senator Hanson is not helping and she owes Cadbury workers an explanation. Does she stand for their jobs or does she stand for short-term political opportunism?”
Mr Short says Easter is an important occasion for Australian families and whether or not a product is halal certified is irrelevant when kids go on an Easter-egg hunt.
“Instead of backing Malcolm Turnbull’s attacks on Australian workers, Pauline Hanson should be doing more to make sure their jobs are maintained,” he said.