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MARK ALDRIDGE

Lead Senate candidate for the "GREAT AUSTRALIAN PARTY"

WOOLWORTHS THE POKIE'S PEOPLE

Join the protest in Adelaide on the 22 November from 7.30 am “Light Square”

While I very much doubt Woolworths can even stand behind their statement “The fresh food people” the one issue that raises its head, and a very important one is the Spin that Woolies are family friendly organisation. Woolworths make many fine statements about who they are and what they do, but rarely do we see many truths behind them, let us consider the statement “Supporting Families”.

Woolworths have over 12,000 pokie machines, all of which are conveniently located in our nation’s poorest areas, not something we see the company brag about. It is hard to imagine how boasting more pokie machines than the top 5 Casinos in Las Vegas, as a family friendly move, add to that their continued opposition to problem gambling reforms as sighted by the 2010 “Problem gambling report” to lower maximum betting figures, and the picture becomes more about Money then families.

While Woolworths rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from their gambling venues, the spin of being socially responsible goes out the door, when many of their venues offer children’s play equipment and free meals for children, all to get the punters through the door, yet oppose the ideals of problem gambling reforms. 

Any Australian company that makes billions of dollars of the back of the Australian people has a social responsibility to do the right thing, by not only its customers but also its many workers, yet we see the very same company working towards total self service, in an attempt to lower their total amount of employees.

Recently while studying this issue, I came across a speech by Woolworths CEO, in which he made an interesting statement “Our executives are expected to help in one of our stores during the busy Christmas period, so as to ensure they know the business at a grass roots level” that be the case, maybe it is past time Woolworths executives spent time in the home of a problem gambler!  

“Watching a family lose their home, their lively hoods, or experiencing children going without a meal, might just open their eyes to what as a corporation, they are actually achieving”. 

My experience with Woolworths goes beyond the pokie's experience, the hoards of liqueur stores they no own, their dodgy fuel rebate schemes and the well funded spin all used to take as much of the Australian market as they can, to the many reports of unfair treatment of our struggling Aussie farmers and producers.

While our river land growers have to bury some of the best produce in the world, as the direct result Woolworths import of inferior produce, it makes a mockery of their statements “Fresh food people” and their spin “environmentally friendly” remembering all the time, imported produce is shipped from overseas on top of being stored in long term power guzzling refrigeration.

Their corporate website uses the words “Communities we serve” when it should read the “We serve our investors” it regularly uses the statement “Right across the country, we are committed to helping sustain the communities that support our stores”, yet for every small retailer that closes to make way for their ever increasing stores, more jobs are lost and for every dodgy contract with our farmers they brake, and for every product they import, more farming families go to the wall.

So is Woolworths all about supporting communities or are they all about protecting and expanding their multi-billion dollar profits, I will let you be the judge, and while you consider whom you reward with your dwindling dollar, I for one will be ensuring every cent of mine goes back to the local community, not out of the country or into an executives’ multi-million dollar pay packet.

On the 22 of November there will be a protest which will coincide with Woolworth’s annual meeting in Adelaide, if you would like to stand alongside good Australian people to demand one of our nation’s largest retailers is reminded about their responsibilities to the very people that helped them grow as a business, please make your way to “Light Square at 8.00 am on the 22” and demand some accountability.

If we are to let any corporations grow in such a huge way, it is up to us as a nation, to ensure they do so with respect and accountability for the communities and people of this country.

Mark Aldridge, Independent Candidate (08) 82847482 / 0403379500

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