KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has today continued his insurgency against the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership-11 (TPP-11) as it heads into the Senate by unleashing a tirade on the Government’s claim that Australia will be ‘last in the queue’ should the bill be shot down.
“Most of my last speeches in Parliament have been what I’ve hoped are fierce attacks upon the hypocrisy of free trade; upon our industry representative organisations particularly in agriculture. All we’ve got out of these bodies in Canberra is a clapping of hands for every free trade deal.
“The Federal Government couldn’t drive the drover’s dog to a drink in the Murranji Track, and yet, they live in a world where their peculiar Adam Smith policies eliminate any reference to the assumptions upon which free markets are valid.
“Adam Smith would turn in his grave if his principles had been used to abolish arbitration in the dairy industry when there were 15,000 sellers in the market, and only two buyers: “Woolworths and Coles”.
“These people would fail the most elementary economics course at a reputable university and yet they continue on with the most crude and snivelling supine pathetic resort to the mantra of free trade when it has removed our car industry, made us petrol mendicants, blast production, halved our cement and steel industries and reduced us to two quarries: iron ore and coal.
“Take note, if the TPP-11 is signed it will be the greatest blow to democracy in 300 years, and will amount to nothing more than a new form of Corporate Colonialism.
“This agreement is not about trade, it’s about sovereignty,” Mr Katter said. “Governments will now be stripped of their power to regulate the behaviour of overseas companies and will face legal consequences if they do. The cigarette smoking case is a classic example.
“Companies will be able to come here under certain terms and conditions and no Government will be able to change those without fairly horrific consequences, if at all. It takes away our sovereignty and hands it over to the giant foreign owned corporations.
“Once in place, withdrawing from the TPP will ensure the wrath of countries infinitely more powerful than our own.
“Over the last two centuries America has constantly enforced these principals upon the Latin/American countries and reduced them to grinding poverty if not quite mendicant states”
Mr Katter expressed concern over the foreign workers who would be let into the country under the TPP agreement.
“Foreign workers will pour in and they are already at high levels, there are 600,000 foreign workers a year coming into an economy creating only 200,000 jobs a year. They are taking our jobs and undermining our pay and conditions, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Mr Katter said free trade had ravaged multiple agricultural industries in Australia, pointing to the US Free Trade Agreement as an example.
“The American free trade deal was about dairy, beef and sugar. The value to dairying was quoted as being the value of one free ice-cream a week for each farmer. The cattle industry has always had a fairly good deal on access to the US and the sugar industry was wiped like a dirty rag. It got nothing. The powerful ‘Florida cane mafia’, as they are called, laughed.
“The Americans on the other hand, wanted quarantine dramatically weakened. Our quarantine was dramatically undermined and our drug and pharmaceutical rules of entry dramatically weakened. They achieve both their goals, and it was hailed in the American congress as ‘wonderful for America’ and I quote: “I know Australia, there is a view that they got shafted, but I think there was some things in there for them”. Yes, there was, but we couldn’t find them.
“The Government told us how wonderful it was for us, but there were no specifics.
“These are the people that have halved our wage structure in the mining industry. They say labour costs are killing us. A decent income for our workers is what we strive for in this country. And what was once our great pride and achievement in the days of the Bjelke-Petersen/ McEwen Country Party governments, now it is apparently a mark of shame.
“I absolutely believe we are now retreating back to the days of colonialism, the only difference being that it is Corporate Colonialism and not Imperial Colonialism.
“We will continue the fight against the TPP-11 in the Senate by introducing an amendment and we plead with all Senators not to turn the control of their country into the hands of foreign corporations.”
A university in the United States has found that the much-heralded Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal will cost the American economy 448,000 jobs and significantly decrease their Gross Domestic Product.
One of 12 nations in the deal, Australia signed the agreement in New Zealand last week.
The Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University near Boston said President Obama’s promises of sweeping economic benefits are wrong and the treaty would actually harm America.
The analysis said U.S. jobs would be “hardest hit” of all the nations in the agreement.
Meanwhile the TPP along with the National Interest Analysis was tabled in the Australian House of Representatives today prompting the Member for Kennedy and leader of Katters Australian Party, Bob Katter to form a cross bench alliance, citing the TPP as the “greatest threat to Australia’s sovereignty in decades.”
Mr Katter, Senator Glenn Lazarus and Greens’ Trade Spokesman Senator Peter Whish-Wilson fronted a joint press conference at Parliament House to oppose the ratification of the TPP, which is expected within weeks.
Whilst full details of the TPP Agreement were laid before Parliament, all three attacked the Government’s own analysis of the Agreement – an analysis which is unlikely to highlight the real losses to Australian manufacturers and producers.
“There has been a hole a mile wide torn in the sovereignty of Australia,” Mr Katter said.
“If there is a product which some foreign corporation is producing or distributing in Australia and they have invested money, then we can’t stop that product from coming in – so what is left of our sovereignty is now vanishing away.
“Andrew Robb, one of the most appropriately named Ministers that I have encountered in my time in Parliament, has greatly erred here, so maybe we should call him Rob-err.
“He has an extraordinary eagerness to please foreign corporations and to get foreign investment – but what he calls foreign investment I call the stealing of our country!
“I defy him in the last 10 years to tell me where any significant jobs have been created by foreign investment, that hadn’t already started 15-20 years ago.
“And in the last 10 years, since this fanatical free trade business has been going on, I defy them to point out to me where there has been one benefit for the Australian economy.”
Mr Katter pointed to the absurdity in the Government’s own figures published today – which cited $109 billion in sales to TPP countries, versus $1,109 of investment in Australia by TPP countries – meaning a staggering ten times more imports than exports, all of which compete with if not eradicate Australian producers and manufacturers.
“Mr Robb says that this agreement will open up avenues for Australian manufactured goods – for iron and steel, ships and auto parts to name a few.
“But manufacturing – it’s already all gone. There is no capital investment by Government, no motor vehicles produced, no white goods produced – no manufacturing left in the country.
“We allow slave labour produced goods into the country without any tariffs or restrictions on them whatsoever.
“Instead of trading aggressively and collectively, we have the weakest trading position of any country on earth.
“TheGovernment keeps pressing ahead talking about foreign investment as if it’s a good thing – when we all know it’s just selling your country off because your country’s broke, the Government’s broke, and the only way to get out of trouble is to sell off the assets,” Mr Katter said.