Foreign companies should not be able to sue the government for taking action on climate change

An article in the Conversation with the catchy title “Hey Minister, leave that gas trigger alone” has urged the Labor government not to extend the Turnbull government’s gas trigger, which could be used to compel foreign-owned gas companies to keep gas reserves for use in Australia in some circumstances. It warns that actually using the trigger could inadvertently allow such companies to seek to sue the government under Australia’s existing international agreements.

Many Australians don’t know this but some of our trade agreements give foreign-owned companies special legal rights to sue the federal government if a change in law or policy reduces their profits, even if the change is in the public interest. The mechanism is known as an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

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