The Productivity Commission again says de-regulate the sugar industry which is just more economic sabotage for farmers. Huge trans-national Corporations continue to strip the nation of its non-renewable natural resources. Donald Trump is leading the charge in the US to halt his country’s economic haemorrhage. The ALP and LNP’s only plan for this country is to open the gaping wound. This week’s symbolic alteration to work visa laws will not make more jobs for Australians.
KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter has asserted the Productivity Commission (PC) is a cancer upon the economic soul of Australia.
The Productivity Commission has advocated a return to the deregulation in the sugar industry and an abolition of KAP’s statutory marketing legislation.
Peter Harris is Chairman of the Productivity Commission. Mr Harris has previously served as Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and the Victorian Government agencies responsible for Sustainability and the Environment; Primary Industries; and Public Transport.
He has worked for the Ansett-Air New Zealand aviation group and as a consultant on transport policy. He has also worked in Canada on exchange with the Privy Council Office (1993-1994). His career with the government started in 1976 with the Department of Overseas Trade and included periods with the Treasury; Finance; the Prime Minister’s Department and Transport; and he worked for two years in the Prime Minister’s Office on secondment from the Prime Minister’s Department as a member of then Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s personal staff.
If his sterling career that earned him an AO is examined, one will find most positions he has held have encapsulated monumental disasters. For example Ansett, Sustainability and Environment, Overseas Trade, Bob Hawke’s personal staff, ad nauseam. This man’s antecedents should have sent him to jail not given him an award.
This Adam Smith-inspired, laissez faire Canberra bureaucracy has proven an abomination to Australian manufacturing and primary industries. This hideous, Marxist ideology shines as the epitome of the Liberal and Labor parties, leaving unregulated markets to the whim of the rapacious trans-national economies.
This man has steered the country into economic oblivion.
“The Productivity Commission has their sympathisers in the Liberal Party and the ALP ‘puppets on an AWU string’. And of course the AWU needing site coverage are ‘puppets on the Wilmar string’. In any event the ALP and LNP are the political wing of the Productivity Commission, PC and they are a cancer on the economic soul of Australia”, Mr Katter said.
“The Productivity Commission, whatever it was called at the time advocated the deregulation of the wool industry in 1990.
“In 1990 wool was bigger than coal. But the PC’s deregulation destroyed the wool industry, 73% of our sheep are gone. The price is shattered. Wool is now $2000m a year. Wool prices have improved but should be worth over $20B/a year.
“Next the motor vehicle industry. 84% of our Motor Vehicles were Australian Made in 1987. Following the PC recommendation the industry collapsed. Next year there will be none. Over $20,000m, once going to Australians, will now be going overseas.
“Now today their decision on ethanol. They have advised the Government that Australia would be better off sending $26B to the Middle East to buy oil instead of sending that $20B of this into rural Australia to buy “clean” ethanol.
“This is $60B a year in just 3 items, $50,000 per year/per family – lost, gone.
“We import all of our “whitegoods” from overseas. All of our “metal processing” in Australia is ceasing since the privatisation and deregulation of the electricity market has driven prices up 300%. They knew this would happen. It’s exactly what happened in California.
“So Mount Isa Mines has announced the closure of much of its copper processing. The nickel plant in Townsville has closed. Kagara Zinc has closed.
“The PC’s deregulation recommendation of dairy, eggs and sugar – but the price “down” to the farmers by nearly 30%. Whilst prices to the consumers rose 25%. Piggy in the middle got an extra $2B a year.
“What an appalling record.”
Mr Katter moved at the last sittings for a Parliamentary Inquiry with a view to replacing the Productivity Commission with a body based outside of Canberra, and consisting of people with ‘hands-on’ experience in production and commerce.
Bob Katter describes the folly of the TPP and the cost to Australian business and local government
Budget allocation for Federal Court to fight challenges to TPP
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Implementation
· Costing $15.6million over four years to implement reform to government procurement which are included in the TPP
· $12.4m for IT systems to support transparency in procurements conducted by limited tendering
· $2.9m proactively being given to the Federal Court of Australia to deal with the disputes caused by the changes.
“The TPP takes away the rights of government to protect their people. For example industrial practice that endangers Australian health and lives, for example their right to a decent wage and income,” Mr Katter lamented.
“This money is for enforcement, so if a Local Government Council wants to use local contractors, instead of a big foreign corporation the foreign corporation can come at them. The TPP gives foreign corporations tendering rights that can be enforced. Pretty sad stuff.”
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.
6 October 2015:
Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today called the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) the greatest blow to democracy in 300 years, saying that it amounted 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 behavior of overseas companies.
“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.”
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.
“Once in place, withdrawing from the TPP will ensure the wrath of countries infinitely more powerful than our own.
“The Americans have imposed this regime upon South and Central America, reducing them to some of the lowest living standards in the world.”
Mr Katter said that he was deeply disappointed with Prime Minister Turnbull, this being his first major initiative since taking the office.
“Mr Turnbull’s background is very much associated with a merchant banking company who’s preeminence in both the Bush and Obama administrations is a matter of public record.
“These are people who make money out of money; they do not make money out of producing goods and services.
“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 be fighting the TPP and have forwarded a letter today to all Senators pleading with them not to turn the control of their country into the hands of foreign corporations.
“We will be moving for the Treaty’s disallowance as soon as Parliament resumes,” Mr Katter said.
by Greg Earl Financial Review
What is it? A 12 country trade pact that accounts for 40 per cent of world GDP which goes beyond traditional tariff cutting to embrace a new trade agenda of common regulation and legal rules. It is Australia’s largest trade group.
Who’s in? The group started as a low profile meeting of New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei, but when the US took it over as a way to boost its stature in Asia it gradually expanded to include Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Canada and Japan.
Who’s out? Major regional economies such as China and India are not included raising questions about how much the deal really boosts overall trade in the region. South Korea, Colombia, Philippines and Taiwan have said they would like to join.
What’s all the fuss about? The TPP has drawn criticism from an unusually wide range of interest groups ranging from libertarians such as the Cato Institute to manufacturing unions to Australian sugar farmers.
This is because it is attempting to reduce barriers to traditional goods trade while also establishing new regulatory standards. Some groups are worried about the US imposing standards across the region which benefit its large companies especially those in information technology and pharmaceuticals. Other are more worried about specific bilateral changes such as whether Vietnamese textiles get access to the US or US beef gets access to Japan.
What’s the value for Australia? Australia’s direct gains are hard to identify because it already has trade agreements with eight of the members and has relatively low trade barriers. But the government sees the TPP as a stepping stone to a wider regional trade deal with clear modern rules which would underpin economic growth cross the whole region. The most controversial issues are whether sugar farmers get better access to the US market and whether US drug companies are able to weaken the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. One major study says the TPP will increase Australian economic growth by 0.5 per cent by 2025 (that’s equivalent to about $8 billion today), while another says the increase will only be 0.3 per cent by that time. It will depend on the final details of the deal and even then will be difficult to quantify the long term effects.
So who wins? The biggest winners are exporters from countries with no existing trade agreement with the US, which is the biggest member economy, such as Vietnamese textile makers. In the longer term it might be the US companies with long term patent rights for products which will be more in demand as Asia modernises such as pharmaceutical and software makers.
What happens next? The trade minister agreement has to be ratified by legislatures in most countries and the most difficult test will be the US Congress where President Barack Obama needs Republican support. But there will be complicated debate in Australia because of the complexity of the issues with criticism from many diverse groups. Canada has an election in October making it difficult for it to accept dairy imports. Malaysia’s government is in turmoil and unlikely to get domestic support for liberalisation policies.
News Updates from CLG
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Previous edition: NSA used Stuxnet to attack North Korea’s nuclear program, but U.S. agents could not access core machines
N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border, Hunting for Hackers | 04 June 2015 | Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents. In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad — including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show. The Justice Department allowed the agency to monitor only addresses and “cybersignatures” — patterns associated with computer intrusions — that it could tie to foreign governments. But the documents also note that the N.S.A. sought permission to target hackers even when it could not establish any links to foreign powers.
WikiLeaks releases documents related to controversial US TPP corporate takeover pact –Document dump regarding Trade in Services Agreement comes day after organization put 100,000 bounty on documents from series of US ‘trade’ treaties | 03 June 2015 | WikiLeaks on Wednesday released 17 different documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa), a controversial pact currently being hashed out between the US and 23 other countries — most of them in Europe and South America. The document dump comes at a tense moment in the negotiations over a series of trade deals. President Barack Obama has clashed with his own party over the deals as critics have worried about the impact on jobs and civil liberties. On Tuesday, WikiLeaks put a 100,000 bounty on documents relating to the alphabet soup of trade treaties currently being negotiated between the US and the rest of the world, particularly the controversial deadly Trans-Pacific trade corporate takeover agreement (TPP). The offer, announced yesterday, has already raised more than 33,000. [The TPP: They’re covering college students carrying mattresses around campus while Eden is burning.’ –MDR, Ph.D.]
Senate passes bill to privatize surveillance: Telcos to act as arm of law enforcement and collect, store data for US govt [I can’t help but think that this has been the goal all along. Nearly all of the previous privacy abuses will continue, but the costs will skyrocket so telco corpora-terrorists can make a killing on the spying. –LRP] Congress approves bill to resume, overhaul NSA surveillance after lapse –After six months of continued spying, NSA will leave records with phone companies | 02 June 2015 | The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would restart — but also overhaul — controversial government surveillance programs that went dark over the weekend after lawmakers missed a key deadline. In a 67-32 vote, the chamber approved the so-called USA Freedom Act. The legislation, which already won approval in the House, now goes to President Obama’s desk. The vote comes after key surveillance programs — most notably, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records — were suspended Sunday after Congress missed the deadline for reauthorization.
NSA surveillance bill passes after weeks-long showdown | 02 June 2015 | The National Security Agency lost its authority to collect the phone records of millions of Americans, thanks to a new reform measure Congress passed on Tuesday. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on Tuesday evening. It is the first piece of legislation to ‘reform’ post 9/11 surveillance measures…Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul assailed the NSA in a 10-hour speech that roused civil libertarians around the country. He opposed both renewing the post 9/11-Patriot Act and the compromise measure — that eventually passed — known as the USA Freedom Act.
FBI says privacy must take backseat to national security in online fight against ISIS | 03 June 2015 | One of the United States government’s top counterterrorism officials says Congress must help investigators crack the encrypted communications of terrorists as groups like the so-called Islamic State ramp-up their online recruitment efforts. On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Michael Steinbach, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterterrorism division, told the House Homeland Security Committee that the FBI is “imploring for Congress to help” law enforcement with its quest to decrypt digital communications. Steinbach said that the FBI is working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the law enforcement tactics currently in use can be implemented as needed, but suggested that legislation might be needed for situations where communications being sought are obfuscated from the eyes of investigators by encryption or other means.
US says data on 4 million government staff hacked | 04 June 2015 | The US government on Thursday admitted hackers accessed the personal data of at least four million current and former federal employees, in a vast cyber-attack suspected to have originated in China [when, in actuality, it likely originated in Langley, VA, to justify the latest secret NSA surveillance program]. The Office of Personnel Management also said that additional exposures “may come to light.” The government’s personnel department handles hundreds of thousands of sensitive security clearances and background investigations on prospective employees each year.
Prisoner alleges CIA sexual abuse, torture beyond Senate findings | 02 June 2015 | The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency used a wider array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture than was disclosed in a Senate report last year, according to a Guantanamo Bay detainee prisoner turned government cooperating witness. Majid Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” — none of which was described in the Senate report. Interrogators, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts, Khan said. “I wished they had killed me,” Khan told his lawyers. He said that he experienced excruciating pain when hung naked from poles and that guards repeatedly held his head under ice water.
Slain Boston man had planned to behead police officers: FBI | 03 June 2015 | A Massachusetts man slain by law enforcement officers on Tuesday had discussed plans to behead police officers with an associate arrested the same day, according to papers filed in Boston federal court on Wednesday. Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, who law enforcement officers shot to death after he allegedly confronted them with a large knife, had told David Wright “I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue,” an FBI agent involved in the investigation said in an affidavit. Rahim had ordered three knives, with blades ranging in length from 8 inches (20 cm) to 9.75 inches (25 cm), from online retailers and had joked in wire-tapped phone conversations with Wright, 24, about “thinking with your head on your chest,” according to the affidavit.
Boston shooting: Suspect plotted to behead Pamela Geller, sources say| 03 June 2015 | Usaamah Rahim, who was fatally shot after waving a military knife at law enforcement officers in Boston, was originally plotting to behead Pamela Geller, an activist and conservative blogger sociopath, law enforcement sources told CNN on Wednesday. But Rahim, a 26-year-old security guard who officials believe was radicalized by ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] and other extremists, decided instead to target the “boys in blue,” a reference to police, according to court documents. “I can’t wait that long,” he said of the original beheading plan, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Boston on Wednesday.
Tennessee infant dies in sleep less than four days after receiving seven vaccines | 03 June 2015 | Parents in Memphis, Tennessee, are mourning the loss of their baby girl Ja’Liyah Cortize Turner, after she passed away in her sleep, less than four days after receiving seven vaccines. Her mother Quavia felt pressured into getting her daughter further vaccinated, even though she didn’t want to, because her daughter had a bad reaction from the round of vaccines given to her earlier. Ja’Liyah’s autopsy report did not mention the vaccines even though she still had the knots on her legs at the injection sites. Her cause of death was ruled “Unknown, Undetermined.” The autopsy stated Ja’Liyah had no significant medical history contributing to her death. Yet, it is very significant Ja’Liyah had just received seven vaccines four days earlier.
How the Humanist Movement Fosters Economic Injustice –A Movement That Makes a Mockery of Its Conventions | 28 May 2015 | The idea that solving the social problems produced by religion will allow for solving the problems of economics in fact gets the reality of the matter backwards…As Michael Rectenwald, Professor of cultural history, science studies, and critical theory at New York University and an expert on the history of secularism, recently suggested to me, with such comments Marx may well have invented what is now called the Existential Security Hypothesis (ESH)…Thus, as Rectenwald writes, “a true humanist doesn’t work hard to eradicate religion. A true humanist works to eradicate the conditions that make religion necessary. In other words, a true humanist condemns liberals more than religions, because liberalism permits such oppression as makes religion necessary.”
Where did the half billion raised for Haiti go? Red Cross won’t say, only built six houses | 03 June 2015 | In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-d-llar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars. In fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success. The Red Cross [frauds] says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.
Hillary Clinton calls for sweeping expansion of voter registration | 04 June 2015 | Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called for sweeping changes in national voter registration laws aimed at making it easier for young people and minorities to take part in elections, putting her on a collision course with Republicans who say such reforms are a political ploy that would lead to widespread abuses. In a speech at an historically black college here [Texas Southern University], Clinton called for federal legislation that would automatically register Americans to vote at age 18 and would mandate at least 20 days of early voting ahead of election days in all states. Clinton said Republican state legislatures are deliberately restricting voting by curtailing early access to the polls and other measures in an effort to suppress Democratic turnout.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Run for President | 04 June 2015 | Emphasizing his record as a seasoned leader of a prosperous state, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally declared Thursday that he is entering the 2016 presidential race. Speaking in an airport hangar in this Dallas suburb, in front of the type of transport plane he flew as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Perry, age 65, also highlighted his military training and promised to take a more muscular approach to addressing conflicts in the Middle East…The Republican criticized the Obama administration for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Colorado Lunch Lady Fired for Giving Kids Free Meals Says She’d Do it Again | 04 June 2015 | A woman says she was fired from her job in an elementary school cafeteria for helping students who forgot to bring m-ney for lunch. Della Curry, 35, was terminated from her position as a kitchen manager at an Aurora, Colorado, elementary school on Friday for giving such students free lunches, she told ABC News today. “I was let go for not charging for all of the food I gave to the students,” the former Cherry Creek School District employee said.
Montana man saves newborn moose after he found it crying next to its dead mother and calls rescue team who horrify him by SHOOTING it dead | 04 June 2015 | A Bozeman, Montana man thought he was saving a baby moose’s life when he called park authorities about the orphan, but instead he ended up unwittingly aiding in the slaughter of the helpless newborn. Josh Hohm was exploring the woodland near West Boulder Campground in Montana’s Gallatin National Forest this past Memorial Day when he stumbled upon a newborn moose, so young it could barely walk. Nearby, Hohm spotted a sad sight: the dead body of the calf’s mother along with a stillborn baby. Overwhelmed by the scene, Hohm hugged the little orphaned moose, posing for a selfie with the baby…Hoping to get the moose some protection and food, Hohm called the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service. Hohm says after he handed the newborn over to the rangers, they shot the baby dead in a ‘mercy killing’ and then proceeded to blow up the three bodies so that their rotting carcasses would ‘not attract bears and other predators’ to the campground.
Brown bear brothers look like they’re shaking on a deal as they play in a lake in Kamchatka, Russia –Heart-warming photos were taken by Sergey Ivanov, who visits the region every year to watch the bears | 02 June 2015 | Stretching out their furry little paws in a show of brotherly respect, two adorable brown bear cubs appear to strike a deal while playing in a lake. In a scene echoing hit Disney film Brother Bear, the animals were pictured enjoying a morning splash in Kamchatka, Russia. The two cubs can even be seen whispering into each others’ ears – just like in the movie – as they stand in the flowing waters of Kurile Lake. Describing the heart-warming spectacle, professional photographer, Sergey Ivanov, 52, said: ‘It seemed like a meeting of two best friends with handshaking.’
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The Liberal Member for the Federal seat of Leichardt, FNQ, Warren Entsch has released the official explanation of the TPP:
|On behalf of theHon Warren Entsch MP
Office of the Hon. Warren Entsch MP
Federal Member for Leichhardt
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Thank you for your email regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations. Mr Entsch has asked that I respond on his behalf. We have had a number of our constituents contact us regarding the TPP and so contacted the Minister’s office responsible for this matter, because it is quite a complex issue and the following response hopefully will allay your fears. Before actually becoming law it will be openly discussed in Parliament and have to pass through both the Lower and Upper Houses.
As a region-wide free trade agreement, the TPP offers an opportunity to strengthen job-creating trade and investment, and further integrate Australia into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region by pursuing common and liberalising policy outcomes.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will be unprecedented in its scale and level of ambition. The twelve countries that have negotiated the TPP – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam represent almost 40 per cent of the global economy – or around US$28 trillion.
Benefits of the TPP will be broad-ranging;
- for Australian businesses – by creating more export opportunities in the Asia Pacific;
- for Australian consumers – by lowering the costs and increasing the variety of goods available in Australia; and
- for the Australian economy – by promoting economic growth in the Asia Pacific, further integrating Australia into the region, and creating a common platform for expanding trade into the 21st Century.
Once concluded the TPP will be the largest trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization, and represents the most significant restatement and enhancement of trade policy rules since the mid-1990s. Once finalised, TPP membership will be open to other economies in the Asia Pacific to promote prosperity and strategic stability.
Because we have received a number of constituent concerns regarding the TPP and its effects and we have therefore compiled a number of answers to cover all situations as follows:
Restricting the Government’s ability to regulate
The Australian Government is not intending to sign up to international agreements that would restrict Australia’s capacity to govern in our own interest – whether in the area of healthcare, the environment or any other regulated area of the economy.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provides an opportunity for Australian investors to protect their investments overseas against expropriation and to ensure that they are afforded a certain minimum standard of treatment, and treated in a non-discriminatory manner.
ISDS provisions have been included in agreements over the past three decades to provide protection for those who choose to pursue new opportunities for Australia by investing abroad. Australia has ISDS provisions in place with 28 economies.
The Government is considering the inclusion of ISDS provisions in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) under negotiation on a case-by-case basis. In the TPP negotiations, the Government will agree to ISDS if certain conditions are met by other TPP countries.
Contrary to some public commentary, ISDS does not protect an investor from a mere loss of profits and does not prevent a Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. A loss of profits, by itself, does not amount to a breach of an FTA.
Should the Government agree to the inclusion of ISDS provisions in any of the FTAs under negotiation, we will seek to ensure that the Government is not restricted in its ability to protect public health and the environment. Further information can be found at www.dfat.gov.au/fta/isds-faq.html.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is an integral part of Australia’s health system and the Government will not agree to an outcome in the TPP negotiations which would adversely affect the PBS or Australia’s health system more generally.
Australia’s position on Intellectual Property
The Government considers that the TPP negotiations provide an important opportunity to establish effective and balanced protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) across the region, in the interests of Australian importers, exporters and consumers. The Government is seeking an outcome on IP in the TPP negotiations that is consistent with Australia’s existing laws, improves transparency and which will streamline the processes for protecting and enforcing IP rights in the region.
Australia has an effective and balanced intellectual property regime, and the Government does not intend to alter the current system through the TPP.
Copyright and the digital environment
I would like to assure you that the Government fully understands the importance of maintaining policy flexibilities, especially for the digital environment. Australia is supporting effective and balanced commitments on copyright in the TPP negotiations that retain the policy flexibilities we currently have. This is particularly important to enable the Government to consider domestic developments, such as the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report following its inquiry into copyright and the digital economy.
Access to medicines
Also issues regarding intellectual property provisions of the TPP and access to medicines. The Government understands the need for access to affordable medicines, both in Australia and in other countries. The Government is working to negotiate a TPP that is in Australia’s national interests, and that supports each Party’s right to protect public health and promote access to medicines. In particular, Australia’s TPP negotiating position takes into consideration input and advice on the potential impact of TPP proposals on Australia’s overseas aid program and developing TPP countries.
At the same time, the Government recognises the role of intellectual property in providing incentives and rewards for investment in pharmaceutical research and development. Ultimately, any outcome on pharmaceutical intellectual property issues in the TPP negotiations must strike an appropriate balance for Australia in promoting investment in innovation, and supporting timely and affordable access to medicines.
Australia is carefully analysing the inclusion of tobacco control language in the TPP negotiations. Under existing international trade obligations, Australia has the right to implement tobacco control measures, such as plain packaging for tobacco products, in the interests of public health. Australia will consider any proposal in the TPP negotiations that confirms this right.
Nothing being discussed in the TPP negotiations will weaken Australia’s policies or regulations on food or alcohol labeling. Australia’s ability to regulate food labeling will not be diminished. All Parties will retain their current rights under the World Trade Organization to make policy related to human health, safety and the environment.
State Owned Enterprises
The Government supports disciplines on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the TPP negotiations that will ensure that entities compete in their commercial activities on an equal footing with the private sector and do not benefit from advantages provided by government. Australia will continue to pursue disciplines that would maintain the Government’s right to use SOEs that serve a public purpose.
Concerns about labour issues under discussion in the TPP. We expect the TPP Labour Chapter will set a new benchmark that will benefit workers across the region by promoting compliance with internationally-recognised labour rights and the effective enforcement of labour laws. While dispute settlement for the Labour Chapter remains subject to negotiations, we expect that the final outcome will include an effective enforcement mechanism.
The TPP Environment Chapter will promote high levels of environmental protection in the TPP region. Australia is seeking to negotiate environmental commitments on issues where trade rules can help to address environmental challenges, including through liberalising trade in environmental goods and services and disciplines on fish subsidies that contribute to over-fishing. We are also working with other parties on trade-related ways to support objectives on conservation, biodiversity and other pressing environmental issues.
Leaked Negotiating Text
The Government is aware that documents purporting to be a leaked version of the TPP have been made public. As is normal practice in trade negotiations, the parties have agreed to keep negotiating documents, including text, confidential, though allowing for governmental consultation processes with stakeholders. The Government will not speculate on the accuracy or otherwise of so-called ‘leaked text’. Negotiating text is a dynamic document, changing regularly, and has no status until all parties have agreed to it.
Consumer protection and best practice regulation is an important aspect of the TPP negotiations. Australia does not intend, through the TPP negotiations or any other trade negotiations, to diminish the level of consumer protection available in Australia. DFAT works closely with key agencies and consults with groups such as CHOICE in developing Australia’s approach to these issues.
The Government is aware that Australians consumers are concerned about the price they pay for items purchased via the internet. As part of TPP negotiations, Australia has raised the profile of ‘geoblocking’ as a commercial practice which has an impact on how consumers engage in electronic commerce.
Transparency in TPP negotiations
Contrary to some reported claims, the TPP negotiations are not secret. The Australian Government made a public announcement about involvement in the TPP negotiations in late 2008 and has been carrying out domestic stakeholder consultations since that time.
As is standard practice with the negotiation of international treaties, draft TPP negotiating texts are not public documents. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is however taking every opportunity to ensure that stakeholders are adequately consulted and able to express their views. There will be an opportunity for full public and Parliamentary discussion prior to any agreement being ratified. In accordance with the Government’s treaty-making process, once the TPP text is agreed it will be tabled in Parliament for 20 joint sitting days to facilitate public consultations and scrutiny by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) before any binding treaty action is taken. Once tabled, the treaty text and an accompanying National Interest Analysis will be published on the JSCOT website and in the online Australian Treaties Library. Further information about the TPP can be found on the Department’s website, at: www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/tpp/.
Consultation – for stakeholder groups
The Australian Government commenced public domestic stakeholder consultations in late 2008 and they are ongoing. Australia’s negotiating positions have been, and continue to be, guided by consultations with a range of stakeholders. The Government will continue to take every available opportunity to consult with stakeholders and is always open to receiving written submissions and meeting with interested parties. I would encourage you to continue to participate in this consultative process.
I trust that this information is of assistance.
Here is a recent article you may wish to read.
“Farmers predict Australian agricultural exports could double by 2030 if the Trans- Pacific Partnership trade agreement is clinched as the Coalition and Labor continue to back negotiations despite escalating attacks from the Greens and anti-trade activists”
17 November 2014: REPORTS that the Federal Government will sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with China today, is simply more billows of bulldust from Canberra which will blow away the last venture of manufacturing and decimate agriculture in this country, KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said today.
“At the present rate the Chinese are gobbling 6-7% ownership of Australian agriculture each year, according to the figures I have seen.
“This is really a joke; the Chinese are practically taking the tariffs off themselves.
“After 9 years, when the dairy tariffs are phased out, the vast bulk of the food exports into China will be produced on Australian land owned by Chinese, produced by the Chinese and manned by section 457 Chinese workers. Indeed, it is very generous of them to take tariffs off their own products they are exporting from Australia to China,” said Mr Katter.
“The ridiculousness of all this is that is we don’t have anything to trade with. We don’t have any subsidies and tariffs to remove. We have no bargaining chips to trade with in this country.
“We had the National Party Minister tell us how the American free trade agreement will save Australian agriculture and at the time there was only three areas where we weren’t free trading – sugar, dairy and beef.
“Once the agreement was finalised there was absolutely no benefit to the sugar, dairy or beef industries and to requote one of Australia’s leading economists the only benefit Australia received was an ice cream a week.
“The Americans blew away our strict quarantine protections under the previous free trade agreement, and we are certain our quarantine protections will be further eroded with this. Their diseased product will be allowed into Australia, and for how much longer will we be clean and green?
“Meantime there is a farmer being foreclosed on every four days in Australia.
“We will be very specific and warn my fellow Australians unless you sink the ship load of eco-rats that run Canberra and occupy seats in Parliament that we will continue to witness the complete and utter destruction of Australian agriculture,” Mr Katter said.