Australia Day Controversy



Usually, on Australia Day, I would share a cheerful greeting about what a wonderful country Australia is and how proud I am that we're an Australian company serving great Australian customers. 

But celebrating Australia Day has become controversial especially after Woolworths surprised us when it announced it would stop selling Australia Day merchandise.  While they claimed it was just a commercial decision due to declining sales, I'm sceptical. Even if dropping the merchandise was a business move, publicising it seems political to me and many others. After all, other retailers, e.g. ALDI, who pulled Australia Day items, did so quietly without making announcements. 

A holiday meant to unite us in celebrating our beautiful, diverse country has become politicized. And I think there are lessons here for retailers.

Woolworths said its decision to end its Australia Day celebratory products was due to lagging sales. Perhaps so. Few would have cared if the merchandise was available at Woolworth's; when I looked at the shops in my shopping centre, many stocked such items. Now, many do care. It will cost them both financially and in goodwill.

This illustrates what I've said for years - business and politics don't mix. It isn't a company's role to get involved in politics. 

What do you think about businesses getting involved in politics? I welcome your perspective.

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