Products such as designer shoes and sportswear could be banned for sale in Australia if there are known links to slave labour, under new proposed laws.
A private senator's bill tabled by South Australian independent Rex Patrick has passed the Senate, which would enact new laws to ban imports to Australia with known supply chain links to slavery and forced labour.
Mr Patrick introduced the bill primarily to curtail the number of manufacturing goods imported to Australia that are known to use and exploit forced Uyghur workers under the control of the Chinese Government.
The proposed laws passed the senate despite not being supported by the Coalition, but were supported by Labor, the Greens and the majority of the cross bench.
"The Australian Senate's vote is an important step forward in the international efforts to combat modern slavery, and especially to proscribe the importation of goods produced by the Chinese Government's exploitation of Uyghur forced labour," Mr Patrick said.
"However, the government's refusal to support the legislation is absolutely unconscionable. There is no excuse for not supporting such a measure that directly attacks those who seek to profit from enslaving fellow human beings."
During his opening statement, Mr Patrick said brands such as Adidas, BMW, Apple and Amazon have directly or indirectly benefitted from the use of forced Uyghur labour in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said he agrees in principle with the proposed legislation but was wanting a full government response and analysis on its implementation before supporting it.
"My heart says yes to this bill. My head says, not yet," Mr Abetz said.
"There is the possibility of unforeseen consequences or counterproductive outcomes, which would not serve the purposes of the original paper of this bill."
The implementation of laws would scrutinise supply chains across a number of sectors including manufacturing in Bangladesh and food products coming from South East Asia.
Mr Patrick said the Bill was a "blunt instrument" but was needed to "thwart modern slavery".
"We need to send a very clear political signal to Beijing, and to the numerous global brands that have been happy to turn a blind eye to China's massive exploitation of forced labour," he said.
Greens Senator Janet Rice said during her speech on the Bill that human rights should be at the core of the decision making.
The proposed legislation will now move to the House of Representatives for debate.