Banducci Resignation A Warning To Woke Corporates

Written by:
21 February 2024
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“The resignation of Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci is a warning to woke corporates and the elite director class to stop disrespecting mainstream values and running down Australia,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Polling commissioned by the IPA, conducted by independent marketing research firm Dynata, at the time of Banducci’s decision to ban Australia Day in Woolworths stores in January 2024 found;

  • Only 22 per cent believed the decision was purely commercial (32 per cent said it was political, 33 per cent said it was commercial and political, and 13 per cent did not have a view).
  • 32 per cent said they were less likely to shop at Woolworths due to their decision not to stock Australia Day merchandise, which is almost double the share who said they were more likely to shop there (50 per cent said it made no difference).
  • Only 32 per cent agreed with Woolworths’ decision to refuse to stock Australian-themed merchandise in its stores in the lead up to Australia Day (46 per cent disagreed, and 22 per cent had no view).

“Australians saw through Brad Banducci’s spin that Woolworths decision to ban Australia Day sales was commercial, when clearly, and the company’s own statements made clear, it was a political decision,” said Mr Wild.

“Banducci’s resignation in disgrace should be a warning to other business leaders that mainstream Australians have had a gutful of big corporates dividing our nation and denigrating our culture and history.”

“No one questions the right of Woolworths to decide what goes on its shelves. This debate is whether woke corporate activism is healthy for our society, and whether business leaders are being fair dinkum with us. Banducci clearly failed in this regard,” said Mr Wild.

An exit poll conducted at the time of Voice to Parliament referendum, commissioned jointly by the IPA and Advance Australia, found that 64 per cent of Australians agreed that big businesses’ engagement in political debate did not represent their values. Only 4 per cent disagreed.

This view was shared among Coalition, Labor, and Greens voters. But it was Greens voters who were most sympathetic to big business, with 56 per cent agreeing, compared with 87 per cent of National voters, 70 per cent of Liberal voters, and 58 per cent of Labor voters.

“Brad Banducci and Woolworths’ behaviour is just another example of the state of disarray of corporate Australia,” said Mr Wild.

“Credit must go to Peter Dutton who showed critical leadership, often lacking in Canberra, in holding Woolworths to account for their divisive intervention on a key cultural issue, and has been proven right to call for its boycott.”

You can read the IPA’s research on Australia Day here.

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