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Senate Inquiry finds that Trade Agreement negotiation process is broken

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 25 Jun 2015

The Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, says the Senate report into the Commonwealth’s treaty-making process vindicates the stance the Greens have taken on these agreements over previous years.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “These ‘trade deals’ aren’t what they used to be. It’s no longer simply about tariffs and quotas, or trading commodity exports for manufacturing imports. These modern agreements now cover every aspect of public policy.

“Modern agreements like the TPP cover issues such as medicine prices, labour laws, digital rights and give corporations powers to sue governments in private international courts.

“These modern agreements are about standardising global laws to help out big business. It is a deregulation agenda driven by multinational corporations under the guise of trade liberalisation.

“The Greens agree with the Senate Inquiry report that modern agreements are negotiated in unnecessary secrecy, the quality of public consultation is dire, and the level of independent analysis of all aspects of these agreements is dismal.

“The lack of transparency, consultation and analysis suit the agenda of multi-national corporations, because none of the public policy changes being driven by these agreements would survive rigorous public scrutiny.

“The Greens support the direction of the Inquiry recommendations, but don’t believe they go far enough and give the government too many reasons to delay or mute these urgent reforms.

“The government has recently negotiated a suite of these modern agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) using this broken treaty-making process.

“The way the TPP has been negotiated exemplifies everything that is wrong with the treaty-making process and many of the worst aspects of the agreement wouldn’t survive the rigorous public scrutiny that would come with a remodelled transparent process. 

“The scathing findings in this report give the Greens more reason to oppose the TPP that will be coming to Australia shortly. We hope that these findings will give others in Parliament an opportunity to withdraw their support for the TPP too,” he concluded.

The Greens dissenting report can be found on the Inquiry webpage

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