Use of imported paper in election a national disgrace

Published: 1 May 2016

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has labelled as a “national disgrace” the Government’s plan to use imported ballot paper in the upcoming federal election.

The union is urging the Government and the Australian Electoral Commission to rule out using imported paper.

Australian Paper mill worker and CFMEU Maryvale Sub-branch Secretary Anthony Pavey said the Government had put local jobs at risk by preferring imports over Australia made paper.

“This election will be the most expensive in Australia’s history and it makes sense to support local jobs and economic activity as part of that process,” Mr Pavey said.

“An election is a time where all Australians get a chance to exercise their democratic right. They should be doing that backed by a Government that supports Australian made products and local jobs.

“It is a national disgrace that Malcolm Turnbull would allow imported paper to be used on a day that is more about Australia’s future than saving a few dollars.”

Industry intelligence along with Austender documents suggest that in excess of 20 million sheets of paper have already been imported and will be used for ballots if the Government does not intervene.

The source of the imports appear to be China, Thailand or Indonesia.

The CFMEU is also urging all political parties to commit to using Australian made paper for their election materials, including ‘how-to-vote’ cards.

“We want all political parties to support local Australian jobs and use Australian made paper for all election materials,” Mr Pavey said.

“There’s no excuse to use imported paper when Australia has the capacity and capability to provide locally made paper products for the election that support local workers, their families and communities that rely on these jobs.

“If they risk our job security by not using Australian made paper on election day we’ll threaten theirs by campaigning and voting against them.”

Mr Pavey said the election would be tainted if voters marked their ballots on cheap imported paper that would cost local jobs and hurt local communities.