Defining 'Supply Chain' for Reporting Under a Modern Slavery Act for Australia

21 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018

Date Written: May 10, 2018


Australia proposed a Modern Slavery Act based on the UK's 2015 model, requiring larger firms to report annually on steps taken to address the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. This working paper has two main arguments. First, the approach to defining (or not) ‘supply chain’ is not a mere technical drafting issue, but instead can be seen as going to the overall purpose of this regulation and as a metaphor for more general design philosophies or approaches in this sphere. Second, an Australian statute should refrain from any attempt at a statutory definition of ‘supply chains’ or any definition in ancillary regulations; however, authorities should offer reporting entities far more extensive policy guidance than the UK model has done. Aside from the generic drafting difficulty of finding a stable, commercially sensible definition, the paper explains at least three reasons why the statutory scheme should not seek to define ‘supply chains.’

Keywords: business and human rights, modern slavery, supply chains, regulation, transparency, reporting

Suggested Citation

Ford, Jolyon, Defining 'Supply Chain' for Reporting Under a Modern Slavery Act for Australia (May 10, 2018). ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 18-4, Available at SSRN: or

Jolyon Ford (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics