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Dutton calls on public to "boycott" Woolies after company drops Australia Day merch

Jarred Cross -

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has urged consumers to "boycott" Woolworths after the group announced it would not be selling additional Australia Day-themed products its physical supermarkets or Big W stores this year.

Woolies' cited a "gradual decline" in demand and "broader discussion about 26 January and what it means to different parts of the community" in announcing the decision on Wednesday.

"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," a Woolworths spokesperson said.

"There has been a gradual decline in demand for Australia Day merchandise from our stores over recent years. At the same time there's been broader discussion about 26 January and what it means to different parts of the community.

"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.

"Woolworths and BIG W celebrate the best of Australia every day, and we're proud to support the farmers, producers, and suppliers who work with us."

Speaking on 2GB Radio Thursday morning, Mr Dutton labelled the decision an "outrage" and the "vast majority of Australians" would agree with him.

He linked the move to Woolworths Group's stance in support of the Voice to Parliament proposal last year, slamming company chief executive Brad Banducci in the process.

"Brad Banducci, who's the CEO of Woolworths, was very forward leaning, as they say, when it came to the Voice…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," he said on Thursday.

"I think it's up to customers whether they want to go in and buy the product or not.

"If they don't want to celebrate Australia that's a decision for them. But I think people should boycott Woolworths.

"I would advise very strongly to take your business elsewhere - to go to IGA or Coles or Aldi.

"Until we get common sense out of a company like Woolworths, I don't think they should be supported by the public."

Mr Dutton said chief executives, including Qantas boss Alan Joyce - who also endorsed the Voice, have attempted to "please the Prime Minister with his stupid decisions" saying it was "against the national interest the national spirit".

He alluded that Woolies should be instead looking at provided the "cheapest possible price" on items to shoppers.

Pressed on the proposed "boycott", Mr Dutton said he thinks "there's a very strong argument for it" and that "six or seven out of 10 Australians" would share his view.

Woolies' axing of themed merchandise for the public holiday caused some stir in the public.

"I think Australians have been reasonable in relation to a lot of these issues. And as I say, if it's your decision not to celebrate Australia, well, that's not something I agree with, but that's your decision," he said.

"I respect that but I don't want to go into Woolworths and be told how I need to vote, how I feel about Australia Day."

The opposition leader called on Mr Banducci to backtrack on the decision, and that his employees were "embarrassed by it", with another please to Anthony Albanese.

"I think the Prime Minister frankly needs to call it out," Mr Dutton said.

"These CEOs do believe that by making these crazy decisions somehow they're signing up to the woke agenda of Anthony Albanese and pleasing the union bosses in the super funds who invest into these big companies.

"Customers need to send a very clear message to them that the nonsense has to stop. If you've got spare time and you've got spare cash, bring down the prices of your items."

Host Luke Grant told Mr Dutton he was being "smashed" by listener responses telling the opposition leader "good on you".


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