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Regulating transparency in corporate supply chains: Australia’s draft Modern Slavery Act



Jolyon Ford


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU


Tuesday, 23 October, 2018 - 12:30 to 13:30

Globalised patterns of sourcing and production create the risk that the goods that we consume may, in varying degrees, in effect be tainted by the prevalence of serious human rights abuses occurring somewhere in the supply chain. Who has or shares the responsibility, authority or opportunity for identifying and addressing these problems, what regulatory models might work best to do so, and what theoretical basis do such schemes have?

This seminar engages with June 2018 draft federal legislation that would create a requirement for the largest Australian firms (and the Commonwealth) to report annually on measures taken to identify and address the risks of human trafficking and forced labour in their national and transnational supply chains. Ford will explore what regulatory rationale might underpin the model, in particular the assumed links between ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’, and between external reporting models and internalisation of the regulatory objective.

Ford will reflect on the distributed governance assumptions of a draft Australian scheme that, in the absence of statutory sanctions for non-reporting, presumably relies on market, consumer and civic activity to regulate corporate compliance.

About the speaker

Jo Ford is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (International) at the ANU College of Law, which he re-joined in 2015. He teaches ‘Torts’ (LLB/JD) and ‘Business and Human Rights’ (LLM). He researches various aspects of the regulation of responsible business, and policy-regulatory issues around the private sector’s envisaged role in building ‘peaceful and inclusive societies’ under United Nations SDG16. He studied law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Cambridge. His doctorate at ANU (RegNet, 2008-2011) was published in 2015 as Regulating Business for Peace (CUP). His blog is Private Sector – Public World and he tweets as @fordthought.




School of Regulation and Global Governance

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