The Australian business community fights back:
Sixteen peak business groups and leading companies have sent a letter of protest to Julia Gillard over the government's refusal to include provisions in a series of pending trade agreements that would protect the property and legal rights of Australian companies in other countries.
These "investor-state dispute-settlement provisions" allow companies to bring arbitration proceedings if governments breach an agreement with the company through policy decisions such as the nationalisation of their assets.
Without dispute-settlement provisions, the business groups believe the free-trade agreements will provide inadequate protection for Australian companies internationally and will reduce Australia's attractiveness for foreign investment.
"The government's refusal to consider such provisions in current or future regional and bilateral free-trade agreements is a flawed approach which reduces security for Australian firms," the letter says.
It was signed by Peter Anderson, the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and 15 other business leaders, including Stuart Clark, the chief operating officer of national law firm Clayton Utz.
Without such provisions, the business groups fear companies would be at a disadvantage when operating in countries that, while growing rapidly, may have systems of government that are less developed than Australia's.
Do they have a chance to convince Australia to change course?