Friday, December 18, 2015

Plain packs win in Australia

Four years ago, the Australian government passed a plain tobacco packaging law, requiring cigarettes to be sold in plain, vomit-coloured cartons with no distinctive branding. The tobacco industry was outraged, and tried to challenge the law, first in the Australian courts, and then - after a sham restructuring in an effort to establish jurisdiction - under a free trade deal Australia had signed with Hong Kong. And now, they've lost, with the FTA arbitration tribunal rejecting the case on jurisdictional grounds:

The federal government has won its case against tobacco giant Philip Morris Asia challenging Australia's tobacco plain-packaging laws.

It means the former Gillard government's plain-packaging laws, introduced in 2011, will remain in place.

The tribunal in the arbitration, based in Singapore, has issued a unanimous decision agreeing with Australia's position that it has no jurisdiction to hear Philip Morris's claim.

So much for that. And hopefully the Australians will demand costs from the cancer-sellers for their efforts.

Meanwhile, plain packaging has been on hold in New Zealand pending the outcome of this case. Now it's been resolved, hopefully we'll see some rapid progress.