Labor’s newfound opposition to investment protection provisions in Australia’s Free Trade Agreements displays its rank hypocrisy and opportunism.
Labor signed Free Trade Agreements containing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions when last in government, including with Chile and through the ASEAN-New Zealand agreement.
ISDS provisions provide safeguards for foreign investors against such things as government expropriation of investment without compensation or discrimination against foreign investor.
These provisions provide protections for Australian companies investing in jurisdictions that may have unreliable legal or political systems.
For the record Australia has ISDS provisions with 29 economies through a range of existing free tradeand investment treaties, dating back 30 years.
This includes a pre-existing investment treaty with China,which was entered into by the Hawke government back in 1988.
Only one challenge has ever been brought against Australia under ISDS provisions, with respect to Labor’s tobacco plain packaging laws. This dispute is ongoing.
Australia has an enviable reputation as a safe and reliable investment destination. In an increasingly competitive global investment environment, ISDS only serves to further enhance that reputation.
This is typical Labor hypocrisy of implementing ISDS when in Government then opposing when in Opposition.
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