Woolworths has come under fire following the decision to not stock Australia Day merchandise in store this year.
Woolworths joins other retailers including Aldi and Kmart who have also said they will not stock Australia Day merchandise amid rising scrutiny surrounding the public holiday and its wider cultural impact, citing cultural sensitivities.
A spokesperson for Woolworths stated that there has been a gradual decline in demand over recent years for the merchandise and notes that “there’s been broader discussion about January 26 and what it means to different parts of the community.”
Opposition leader Peter Dutton called for a boycott against the supermarket which Prime Minister Albanese condemned stating the workers need to be considered. “His big statement was to call for a boycott of Woolworths as well as I assume Aldi and Kmart – they employ over 200,000 Australians,” he told ABC radio.
“He needs to explain whether that boycott is forever, or whether it’s just until Australia Day and what the impact on those people who work for these companies will be.”
In an incident directly linked to the controversy, one Woolworths store has literally come under fire. A Woolworths store in Brisbane was vandalised earlier this week with pro-Australia day graffiti reading “5 days 26 Jan Aussie Oi Oi Woolies f— u” on its exterior with the vandal, dressed in makeshift combat gear, caught on CCTV setting off a flare inside the business. The flare was quickly extinguished by first responder teams and an investigation led by Brisbane police is underway.
Rival supermarket Coles will continue to stock themed merchandise ahead of the public holiday on January 26.