Guardian oped: ISDS proposal in Australia – UK FTA would threaten public interest regulation

June 2, 2021: AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald warns in the Guardian about the dangers of UK proposals to include ISDS in the FTA. UK companies are frequent users of ISDS with 90 recorded cases. Inclusion of ISDS would expose Australia to UK company cases for the first time.

She warned that big UK companies such as mining company Rio Tinto and aged care owner Bupa could sue Australia, just as Philip Morris did over tobacco plain packaging, if they object to new laws or regulations to protect Indigenous heritage sites or implement the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission.

ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) is unpopular because it gives global (but not local) corporations special rights to sue governments for millions of dollars in international tribunals if they can argue that changes to regulation by any level of government will harm the value of their investment.