Undermining Democracy: Increasing investor rights in trade agreements

Seminar: Thursday 4th September 2014 12-2pm

Finance Sector Union, Level 2, 321 Pitt St, Sydney

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) presents a public seminar to discuss the impact of clauses in trade agreements which elevate investor rights above our democratic rights.

Known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), these clauses essentially give foreign companies extra rights to sue governments for millions of dollars in international tribunals over democratic legislation. Just the threat of an ISDS case could prevent governments from regulating in the interest of public health or the environment.

The timing of this Seminar is critical, as it will be held in a week where Parliamentary inquiries will be reporting on this issue.

Come along to learn more about this important issue and the implications it has for your ability to campaign for democratic changes which would protect the environment, public health, or workers’ rights.

Seminar highlights:

  • Screening of short documentary ‘Water or Gold’: A Canadian mining company, now majority Australian owned,  is suing the government of El Salvador through an ISDS clause because of their refusal to issue a mining permit based on environmental concerns and community opposition

  • ISDS and the rights of workers: Dr Tom Skladzein, the National Economic s and Industry Adviser for the AMWU, will speak about a current ISDS case in which a rise to the minimum wage for Egyptian workers was challenged by French multinational Veolia

  • ISDS in the Australian context: Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET’s Convener, will present an analysis of the outcomes of current Parliamentary Inquiries into ISDS and the Korea Free Trade Agreement, which contains ISDS, and the implications for the TPP campaign.

A discussion and Q&A session will follow.

This event is free and all are welcome. It will be particularly useful for campaigners, environmental activists and union members to learn about the impacts of ISDS on their areas of interest.

Please RSVP to campaign@aftinet.org.au.

You can also download the event flyer or help us promote the event by inviting your friends on Facebook.