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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 12: Australia: Corporate Code of Conduct Bill, 2000


Commentary: This private member’s bill arose in response to the Baia Mare spill by an Australian company in Papua New Guinea. Some 43 organisations lodged submissions with the Australian Parliamentary Joint Statutory Committee on Corporations and Securities. Although ‘drafted with the best of intentions’, the Committee considered this Bill to be ‘impracticable and unwarranted’ and recommended abandoning such an ‘unnecessary and unworkable’ initiative: ‘Report of the Corporate Code of Conduct Bill 2000’, Canberra, 2001: para 4.5. Several members of that Committee concluded that ‘its time has not yet come’: Comments by Labour Members on the Corporate Code of Conduct Bill, 2000. Others concluded that ‘while the current Bill needs amendment, there is a demonstrated need for it’: Australian Democrats, ‘Minority Report on the Corporate Code of Conduct Bill 2000’: para 89. The non-adoption of this Code mirrors the fate of the Corporate Code of Conduct Bill 2000 (US) brought before the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman McKinney. This draft contemplated preferential government procurement, withdrawing financial assistance and prospective corporate liability within US courts. Part 1 Preliminary 3. Objects of Act 1. The objects of this Act are: (a) to impose environmental, employment, health and safety and human rights standards on the conduct of Australian corporations or related corporations which employ more than 100 persons in a foreign country; and (b) to require such corporations to report on their compliance with the standards imposed by this Act; and (c) to provide for the enforcement of those standards. 2. To avoid...

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