‘Stupid decision’: Peter Dutton urges boycott as Woolies dumps Oz Day merchandise

Australians eager for Australia Day merchandise will have fewer options this year.

Australians eager for Australia Day merchandise will have fewer options this year. Photo: Getty

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has urged patriotic Australians to boycott Woolworths over its controversial decision not to sell Australia Day merchandise this year.

Speaking on 2GB radio on Thursday, Dutton slammed the supermarket’s move as an “outrage” and said it was against the “national spirit”.

“I would advise very strongly to take your business elsewhere and go to IGA or Coles or Aldi,” said Dutton.

“I think until we get common sense out of a company like Woolworths, I don’t think they should be supported by the public.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said there had been a gradual decline in demand for Australia Day merchandise from its stores in recent years.

“At the same time there’s been broader discussion about 26 January and what it means to different parts of the community,” said the statement.

“While Australian flags are sold within BIG W all year round, we don’t have any additional themed merchandise available to purchase in-store in our Supermarkets or BIG W ahead of Australia Day.

“We know many people like to use this day as a time to get together and we offer a huge variety of products to help customers mark the day as they choose.”

While no additional Australia-themed merchandise is available in the Woolworths Group’s physical stores, some Australian-themed products are sold online through My Deal.

All its retail teams continue to have the choice to work on the day if they are rostered on as is the policy for all public holidays.

Rival supermarket Coles announced it would stock a small range of “Australian-themed summer entertaining merchandise throughout January”.

Dutton said people should not support Woolworths’ “stupid decision”.

“I think it’s up to customers whether they want to go in and buy the product or not,” he said.

“If they don’t want to celebrate Australia Day, well that’s a decision for them, but I think people should boycott Woolworths.

He continued: “For Woolworths to start taking political positions to oppose Australia Day is against the national interest, the national spirit.

“And most Australians, I think, just want to go to Woolies and get groceries at the cheapest price possible because a lot of them are struggling to pay the bill when they get to the checkout at the moment.”

Dutton accused the Woolworths CEO of following in the footsteps of former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in “trying to please the prime minister”.

“Brad Banducci, who’s the CEO of Woolworths, was very forward-leaning, as they say, when it came to the Voice and remember, Big W stores were broadcasting not just a Welcome to Country when the store opened but also preaching that you should vote for the Voice.

“Now it seems Brad Banducci’s following in the CEO mould of Alan Joyce and doubling down and deciding that they’re not going to stock these materials to celebrate our national day.”

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