Monday, 21 October 2019
Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019, Customs Tariff Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019; Consideration in Detail
I think that has belled the cat, because in the Hong Kong agreement and in the Peru agreement there is mention of both health and tobacco but in the Indonesia agreement there is only mention of health, not of tobacco. If and when the first suit hits Australia—you have been put on notice, Labor and Liberal; you have been put on notice about the deficiency of these ISDS clauses.
We have the opportunity to do something about it right here—not just about tobacco but about the agreements in general. We can say, 'Go back and renegotiate.' I understand that people are hanging their hats a lot on the letter from the minister saying he is going to ask for the old Indonesian agreement to be terminated. But what if Indonesia say no? What if they never get around to it? What if the first action is taken before they get around to it? We have the capacity here to do something about it. We don't have to wait for a change of government or another election. We can do something here and now to say that big corporates should not be allowed to sue the Australian government about the things that matter to us.
So let's just pass this very simple amendment. It allows Labor and the Liberals to have their trade deals that they are both wedded to. They can still have them and still get their corporate donations from the same corporations that are going to benefit from them. They can still go and suck at their teat, if that's what they want to do. But at least pass an amendment here and now that says big corporations cannot sue the Australian government, like we've seen with governments around the world, because we take action around minimum wage, around tobacco, around protecting Indigenous Australians and around the environment.