Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement: What’s the Scam?

by | May 31, 2021 | What's the scam?

The British Trade Minister has confirmed that corporations are likely to have the right to sue the Australian and UK governments if governments make laws which hit their profits. What’s the scam?

ISDS is the scam; Investor-State Dispute Settlement that is, clauses buried in “Free Trade” agreements, such as this one, which allow corporations to sue governments in obscure foreign tribunals. Australia’s most celebrated ISDS case was brought by tobacco giant Phillip Morris, which sued Australia in Hong Kong when Australia introduced its wonderfully successful plain packaging laws.

“There are now over 1,000 known ISDS cases, with increasing numbers against health and environment laws, including laws to address climate change,” says Patricia Ranald, convenor of the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network (AFTINET).

“ISDS would give UK corporations the right to sue Australia over democratic legal changes in Australia. For example, British aged care company BUPA could claim compensation if the government follows the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and regulates for improved staffing levels and quality of care.”

Just another chapter in the saga of rising corporate power over democracy.

Another Australian miner sues another poor country, this time Barrick’s Porgera in PNG

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael West

Michael West

Michael West established michaelwest.com.au to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelWestBiz.
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