Some Australian senators have called on the government to ensure that Australian consumers are not subjected to forced labour in the purchase of solar panels for the Uighur people of Xinjiang, and have called on the Australian government to take action. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said on 16 November that the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, when asked to comment on the report, strongly denied that China was involved in forced labour.
Laura Murphy, a professor at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice in the UK, said that some Uighurs are forced to produce polysilicon, a key material in solar panels, if the Australian government, Australian property developers and even If the Australian government, Australian property developers and even Australian consumers were to buy modules from China, they would be severely affected.
Murphy said that almost everyone in the world who buys solar panels is likely to buy a product made by forced labour.
Independent Senator Rex Patrick believes that the Australian government should push harder for legislation to stop the importation of any products that involve forced labour.
According to the Australian Parliament website, Rex Patrick introduced the Customs Amendment [Banning Goods Produced By Forced Labour] Bill 2021 into the Senate on 24 June. The bill was read for the first time in the House of Representatives on the same day, following its third reading in the Senate on 23 August.
Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching also said that the Labor Party would support requiring manufacturers to produce proof that forced labour is not even indirectly involved.