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Abbott Government blocks trade deal transparency showing contempt for Senate and Australian people

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 9 Dec 2013

Today Australian Greens spokesperson on trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, was fiercely critical of the Abbott Government's refusal to abide by the will of the Senate and publicly release the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) text.

"Last week the Greens were successful in moving a motion through the Senate which ordered the production and public release of the secret TPPA trade deal," said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.

"This was a win for every Australian who demanded to know how their farm, small business, cost of medicines, labour rights, internet freedoms, and local environment could be effected by this Nation's biggest ever trade negotiation - a negotiation happening in secret under intense pressure from the United States Government, US corporations, and their interests.

"But the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, has now written to the Senate on behalf of the Government and refused to release the text of the TPPA trade deal.

"What this letter says is that the Abbott Government will not abide by the will of the Senate to allow all Australians the right to know how the TPPA trade deal will affect their lives and businesses because the United States has not said it is OK to do so.

"The Abbott Government has shown contempt for the Senate and the Australian people.

"Our legitimate role in opposition is to scrutinise any trade deal to ensure it's more than just ‘free' but is also ‘fair' for our nation.

"There is no such thing as 'free trade' in the real world - to get something we have to give something up and there will be winners and there will be losers.

"The question is who gets to pick the winners and who becomes the losers in Australia?

"Do the Australian people have a say or will US corporations pick who wins and who loses?

"If we want honesty in politics in Australia we need transparency in Parliament, and today I'm asking Tony Abbott again - if he has nothing nasty to hide - to come clean and release the final draft for public scrutiny prior to it being stamped and sealed by Cabinet.

"The Greens will continue to use all measures available in the Senate to pursue the collation on this issue," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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Media Contact: Thomas Moore - 0409164603


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