Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
by leave—I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes members of the:
(i) Australian Parliament will only be allowed to see the final text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (the Agreement) once it has been signed,
(ii) United States of America Congress are allowed access to the Agreement draft text, and
(iii) Malaysian Parliament will be shown the draft text prior to Malaysia signing the Agreement; and
(b) calls on the Minister for Trade and Investment and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to allow members of Parliament access to the Agreement draft text.
I seek leave to make a short statement
In relation to so-called free-trade deals in Australia, all Australians—including senators—are treated like mushrooms. We are kept in the dark and fed crap. These deals are secret. These deals are done behind closed doors and we do not get the information until there have been signed by cabinet. At that point, it is lock, stock or two smoking barrels. We have no way of changing them unless we vote against them. This has got to finish.
Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement the Greens and Labor put through an order of production of documents to have the final draft text released to the Senate. The government did not comply, because it said that in the case of the TPP agreement the 12 TPP parties have signed an agreement to keep negotiating documents, including the text, confidential. It has now been passed on that both the American Congress and the Malaysian parliament will see the final text. There is no reason that the Australian parliament should not be able to view the text of this agreement. No more secrecy.
As is standard practice, TPP negotiating texts are not public documents. As soon as the TPP text is agreed by all 12 parties it will be made public and subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny through a review by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.