House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Statements by Members

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

4:28 pm

Photo of Melissa ParkeMelissa Parke (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Last Thursday, amid pomp and ceremony, trade ministers gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Despite the overgrown rhetoric about the TPP being wonderful for Australian trade, the TPP is more about increasing the power of large corporations than trade. If it really is good for the country, why is the government refusing to have the Productivity Commission conduct an independent assessment?

Last Wednesday, the parliamentary group on the TPP held a briefing with guest speakers Dr Pat Ranald of AFTINET; Michael Moore, the CEO of the Public Health Association; Ged Kearney, the president of the ACTU; and Danny Faddoul, a senior campaigner for GetUp! At the briefing, AFTINET presented a letter signed by 59 community organisations representing over two million Australians. GetUp! and SumOfUs presented a petition signed by 305,000 Australians. These documents outlined concerns about the impact of the TPP on the cost of medicines, on workers' rights and on environmental regulation. This petition called for assessments of the TPP's economic, health and environmental impacts before parliament votes on the legislation.

We know there is plenty of time for such independent assessments to be carried out, because the TPP has to overcome huge opposition in the US congress in a presidential election year. Canada's trade minister has said the signing in Auckland was purely ceremonial and that the Canadian people would need to have a say before they ratified it. It is time for the Turnbull government to respond to the legitimate concerns of Australians about the TPP, to ensure independent assessments are carried out before ratifying a deal that could have longstanding negative impacts on current and future generations of Australians. (Time expired)