Senate debates

Tuesday, 26 November 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; In Committee

12:08 pm

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

The Labor Party won't be supporting these amendments in relation to ISDS provisions. The improved ISDS clauses in these agreements include safeguards on the public interest, which allows Australia to regulate on legitimate public welfare objectives. This includes the protection of public health, safety and the environment. Australia will be protected from actions against important prudential reform, such as those stemming from the banking royal commission, and, with the new ISDS clauses, tobacco company Philip Morris—which I know has come up in debate a lot through this bill—would not be able to sue the Australian government for its plain cigarette packaging legislation, as they did previously under the existing Hong Kong bilateral investment treaty. If these agreements are not ratified, Australia will be objectively worse off with regard to ISDS. The government, in writing, confirmed to Labor that it would seek to review other old-style investment provisions in existing agreements.

In relation to labour market testing, all of the agreements uphold Australia's WTO obligations, signed and entered into by the Keating Labor government, and have applied since 1995. There is no waiver of labour market testing for contractual service suppliers in any of the three agreements, and the government has confirmed that it will not use the provisions of article 12.9 of the Indonesian agreement to propose or introduce any additional labour market testing waivers. Labor will continue to hold them to account on this commitment.


No comments