Voice to Parliament Yes campaign’s merch is made in China and Bangladesh – despite saying it’s printed in Australia on Naarm land

The Yes campaign proudly boasts its official clothing merchandise is ‘printed in Naarm’ (Melbourne) but it has emerged the garments are all imported from China and Bangladesh. 

On the Yes23 website, the home of official advocacy for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, the advertising for t-shirts and hoodies sporting official logos proudly state they are printed in Naarm, the Kulin Nation term for the Melbourne region.

However, the $40 T-shirts and the $75 hoodies are supplied by As Colour, which on its website reveals 40 per cent of its clothes come from China and the other 60 per cent from Bangladesh.

Leading No vote campaigner Warren Mundine claimed that the real origin of the branded merchandies was an example of the Yes campaign’s elitism and ‘living off people’s misery’.  

‘These group of people are very elitist, very wealthy and all these corporations are used to having child labour in Bangladesh and all these other places,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday.

Prominent Voice advocate Thomas Mayo (pictured right) wears one of the official Yes23 campaign T-shirts

‘I am not surprised they are resourcing their stuff from some of the poorest countries in the world.’ 

Mr Mundine said the recent move by Qantas to give Yes advocates free airfares was typical of the corporate culture of the Yes campaign that isolated them from the real issues underprivileged Indigenous people face.   

‘This is why these people want a Voice in the Constitution because it keeps them in power and making all these decisions.

‘They have no idea how to fix these issues facing Aboriginal people in  remote and regional Australia.

‘All they will do is set up these committees for people who are going to get massive salaries.

‘Look at the National Indigenous Australians Agency they have a 1000 people working there and some of these people have $400,000 salaries.’

On the Yes23 website the product information says the hoodie is 'printed in Naarm' (Australia)

On the Yes23 website the product information says the hoodie is ‘printed in Naarm’ (Australia)

The National Indigenous Australians Agency website says they employ 1300 people and at the uppermost levels (Senior Executive Service Band 3) total remuneration can reach over $400,000 per annum, according to some job ads. 

Yes23 told Daily Mail Australian on Thursday their clothes are printed by Melbourne company Sound Merch.

‘The t-shirts for sale are produced by global brand As Colour, who have a comprehensive and transparent responsible sourcing strategy,’ Yes23 spokesperson said.

‘Yes23 is grateful to the tens of thousands of everyday Australians who are wearing Yes t-shirts in support of our campaign. 

‘We appreciate the incredible support we are receiving from Australians across the country, who are backing a Yes vote by purchasing merchandise.

‘This appears to be another attempt by the No side to talk about anything but the actual referendum, which is all about recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution and giving them a say on policies that affect them.’

The As Colour website states ‘we only work with factories that can assure auditable standards of safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions.’

On its ‘Supplier Performance’ page As Colour says its suppliers are subject to ‘social compliance audits’ conducted by their partner the Compliance Initiative (Amfori BSCI) platform.

Amfori BSCI auditors rank suppliers by scoring them on 13 performance areas (PAs), which include workers involvement and protection, fair remuneration, decent working hours, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and not having child labour.

No vote advocate Warren Mundine has accused the Yes campaigners of 'living off people's misery'

No vote advocate Warren Mundine has accused the Yes campaigners of ‘living off people’s misery’

On some of those measures the website revealed As Colour suppliers were getting a below par grading.   

For adopting management systems that ensured all the social compliance standards were adhered to more than half of As Colour factories (52 per cent) were scored received a ‘D’ grade with 16 managing a ‘C’ and none achieving an ‘A’.

‘These scores indicate to us that a lot more work needs to be done in this area,’ the As Colour website admits.

For ‘excessive working hours’ 57 per cent of As Colour suppliers scored a ‘D’ rating, leading the website to comment ‘the majority of our suppliers are struggling in this area’.

For Occupational Health and Safety 16 per cent of factories were only able to manage a ‘D’.

‘Unfortunately keeping workers physically safe isn’t always prioritised by suppliers or companies in the apparel industry,’ the As Colour website says.

AS Colour says 60 per cent of their garments come from Bangladesh and 60 per cent from China (Bangladeshi factory workers pictured)

AS Colour says 60 per cent of their garments come from Bangladesh and 60 per cent from China (Bangladeshi factory workers pictured)

Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post in early 2022 investigated how Chinese clothing factories are audited for social compliance and alleged false records were often used and auditors bribed to boost grades.

A 2023 study by Aberdeen University and advocacy group Transform Trade surveyed 1,000 Bangladeshi factories and found that 20 per cent of them were not paying the country’s minimum legal wage. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk