Senate debates

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bills

Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018, Customs Tariff Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018; In Committee

12:23 pm

Photo of Rex PatrickRex Patrick (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move Centre Alliance amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 8523 together:

(1) Schedule 1, item 3, page 8 (after line 6), at the end of Subdivision A, add:

153ZKUA Cessation of effect of Division

This Division ceases to have effect on 1 January 2020 unless all of the following come into force for Australia before that day:

(a) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia by an investor of the other Party;

(b) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other Party.

[sunsetting]

(2) Schedule 1, item 4, page 19 (after line 18), at the end of Division 4EB, add:

126AKM Cessation of effect of Division

This Division ceases to have effect on 1 January 2020 unless all of the following come into force for Australia before that day:

(a) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that Chapter 9 of the Agreement, which deals with investor-State disputes, does not apply in relation to an investment in Australia by an investor of the other Party;

(b) bilateral side letters exchanged between Australia and each other Party agreeing that labour market testing must occur in relation to contractual service suppliers entering, or proposing to enter, Australia from the other Party.

[sunsetting]

I want to point out that the objective of this amendment is to include a sunset clause so that unless bilateral side letters are exchanged relating to ISDS provisions and labour market testing by 1 January 2020 this legislation is repealed. We believe that these amendments will allow the TPP-11 to enter into force but signal to other countries that Australia is planning to remove the ISDS clauses and reinstate labour market testing. If those arrangements haven't been made, the legislation will then be repealed.

These amendments give effect to the TPP. In that sense, they address the concerns raised by Senator Farrell in his statement yesterday, where he said that he was concerned that our exporters would miss out on a second tariff cut on 1 April 2019 for Japanese markets. That would give Canada and New Zealand an 11 per cent tariff cut on beef, making their rate lower than Australia's and hurting our beef producers. Our cheddar cheese producers would lose out to New Zealand, who would have a tariff rate four per cent lower than Australia's, et cetera.

Senator Carr, of course, raised some concerns about what would happen if we didn't enter into the TPP now. We respect those concerns. These amendments accommodate the Labor Party's announced intention to make sure that those provisions are removed, except that they provide a guarantee that is beyond Labor's control: if they are not elected next year, these sunset provisions will come into effect. That will, in effect, nullify our ratification and will keep their constituents—the unions and the hardworking Australians who vote for the Labor Party—happy. We would encourage Labor, in this instance, to support this.

I know a concern was raised by Senator Farrell that this may put in place an artificial deadline. Let's presume that the Labor Party were to form government next year and were to commence negotiations. If they felt that for some reason they weren't going to hit the deadline that was imposed by these amendments, I can then assure the Labor Party that we would be very open to a change. In good faith, they could come to us—or Senator Griff and myself, at the very least—and we would perhaps support a change to give more time for the Labor Party to have either these cancerous provisions removed or the labour market testing restored. In that context, I urge the Labor Party to support these amendments that not only are consistent with their national platform but are consistent with the plan that Mr Shorten has announced and made a commitment to in respect to their constituents.

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