In an appearance on Nine‘s Today Show this morning, Woolworths boss, Brad Banducci admitted that communication surrounding the decision to pull Australia Day merchandise from their shelves could have been handled better.
“I think we could clearly have done a better job of explaining our decision; that’s why I’m here,” he said in response to questioning from host Karl Stefanovic.
Banducci also confessed that he was concerned about the impact the decision was having on the Woolworths team. “I do feel anxious about the impact that this is having on our team. They are proud, hard-working Australians, and for them to be seen as anti-Australian or woke is fundamentally unfair”.
Banducci denied being an anti-Australia Day company, saying that the day means different things to different people and that the organisation encourages Australians to celebrate the day however they wish.
In a later appearance on Sunrise, Banducci was grilled by host Natalie Barr. He denied that the supermarket giant was making a political statement but rather reflecting the wants of their customers.
“I don’t think that is true… We’re focusing on what we do best, which is food and everyday needs,” Banducci said. “There is pressure out there on Australian families and affordability, so we focus on what we do best, which is that”.
Woolworths‘ plan to remove Australia Day merchandise off its shelves has resulted in several conservative politicians calling for a boycott. Several Queensland stores were also recently vandalised off the back of the decision. “Aussie Oi Oi Oi Woolies F*** U” was written in spray paint across the front of the Woolworth Tenerife store last week, and a flare was placed at the entrance, triggering the fire alarms.
The holiday has been a date of much contention for many years now, with the public holiday recognised as a day of mourning among Indigenous communities, marking the day the British colonised Australia and invaded Indigenous land. Aldi and Kmart are among other stores to have jumped on board, announcing they would not be stocking any Australia Day-specific merchandise.
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