On 1 December 2011, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (the Act) received Royal Assent and became law in Australia.
The Act forms part of a comprehensive range of tobacco control measures to reduce the rate of smoking in Australia and is an investment in the long term health of Australians.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in Australia.
Tobacco plain packaging is a legitimate public health measure which is based on a broad range of peer reviewed studies and reports, and supported by leading Australian and international public health experts. Further information regarding the implementation of tobacco plain packaging is available on the Department of Health's website.
Philip Morris Asia is challenging the tobacco plain packaging legislation under the 1993 Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Hong Kong for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (Hong Kong Agreement). This is the first investor-state dispute that has been brought against Australia.
Philip Morris Asia is arguing that Australia's tobacco plain packaging measure constitutes an expropriation of its Australian investments in breach of Article 6 of the Hong Kong Agreement. Philip Morris Asia further argues that Australia's tobacco plain packaging measure is in breach of its commitment under Article 2(2) of the Hong Kong Agreement to accord fair and equitable treatment to Philip Morris Asia's investments. Philip Morris Asia further asserts that tobacco plain packaging constitutes an unreasonable and discriminatory measure and that Philip Morris Asia's investments have been deprived of full protection and security in breach of Article 2(2) of the Hong Kong Agreement. Australia rejects these claims.
This webpage will be updated regularly to provide information on relevant developments.
Details at Government of Australia site: