Senate debates

Wednesday, 17 October 2018


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

11:32 am

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

In respect of the Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018, I move Greens amendment (1) on sheet 8530:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (cell at table item 2, column 2), omit the cell, substitute:


Given the failure, sadly, of the amendment just now because the Labor Party refused to be an opposition and voted with the government to tick through the TPP—despite the fact that that amendment was simply instating the Labor Party's own policies; take that as you will—this amendment ensures that any need for funds to fight an ISDS clause would have to come before the parliament. It also ensures that there is proper transparency around how taxpayer funds are being spent in defending our sovereignty and our laws and regulations against multinationals. Given we now have a TPP agreement with locked-in ISDS provisions, it is absolutely essential that the Australian people know what this is costing us and what the impact is, and that transparency prevails. This is about ensuring that the government can't paper over what they've just agreed to; that the Labor Party, either in opposition or in government, can't pretend that this isn't having a chilling effect; and that taxpayer money being spent on it is accounted for, and sunlight is shone in places where, we know, both sides of this place would prefer it not to be.

While I've been on my feet speaking, it has been just fascinating to see the minister in negotiations with the Labor Party. It just proves what a cuddly, convenient relationship we have now between the two parties in this place, with the Labor Party and the coalition selling out Australian democracy: selling out the rights of the Australian people to have laws and regulations that protect their health, protect the environment and look after their best interests. Meanwhile, Labor and the coalition are passing legislation that puts the interests of big multinational companies first. That's what they're more interested in doing. How can they shut down debate today? How can they make sure that power remains with the big corporates rather than with the Australian people?

I urge all in this place to support this amendment now that the Labor Party have rolled over with the government to lock in these provisions which would allow multinational companies to sue the Australian people over regulations and laws that perhaps the public want because they know they are in their best interests. At the very least, the government of the day needs to be transparent about how much this is going to cost and what is on foot. It's a transparency measure. There should be nothing to be afraid of. But, of course, the proof will be in the pudding. We'll see the Labor Party and the coalition vote it down because they don't want the public to know just how bad this TPP deal really is.


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