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Plain Packaging victory is outstanding for public health but ISDS still hangs like a Damocles sword over Australian democracy

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson welcomes Australia’s victory in the Investor-State Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) case against Phillip Morris over plain packaging laws.

“Plain packaging has proven to be an effective public policy tool to reduce smoking rates in Australia. Unfortunately as a nation we have signed up to trade and investment treaties that have given corporations the right to sue us for making laws that might impinge on a foreign corporation’s profits.

“In this case particular case Australia has dodged a bullet because the tribunal has decided they don’t have jurisdiction to decide on this piece of litigation. However, because Australia has signed up to ISDS mechanisms with China, Korea and the United States (via the Trans-Pacific Partnership) we are going to see so much more of this from now on.

“The Liberal Government has exposed Australia to a spate of claims as all the major multinationals with investments in Australia now have company headquarters located in countries with access to ISDS.

“ISDS is the Damocles Sword hanging over Australia's sovereignty and our right to legislate in the public interest. We have reportedly spent over $50 million of taxpayer dollars to successfully defend our democratic decisions in this plain packaging case, who knows what the result will be next time,” he concluded.

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