Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Before I proceed, I ask that the name of Senator Wang be added to the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Lazarus, Muir, Whish-Wilson and Wang, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) on 6 October 2015, 12 Pacific-rim countries signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,
(ii) to date the text of the Agreement has not been made public, and
(iii) on 24 June 2015 the Productivity Commission released its Trade and Assistance Review 2013-14, which stated 'the emerging and growing potential for trade preferences to impose net costs on the community presents a compelling case for the final text of an agreement to be rigorously analysed before signing'; and
(b) calls on the Government to refer the text of the Agreement to the Productivity Commission for a full-scale review prior to the Agreement's implementing legislation being introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate.
'Transparency is in our genes.' Those are the exact words the Productivity Commission used at Senate estimates when I asked them about trade deals. They have long been critics of aspects of our trade deals, particularly the secrecy and the flawed process that go towards our trade and treaty negotiations. I wrote to the new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, last week asking that he send the Trans-Pacific Partnership text to the Productivity Commission. He wanted to do the same thing for the NBN when he was shadow minister. He wanted the Productivity Commission to independently assess it. There is no reason for the secrecy around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to remain. We as a parliament should get to see it; the Australian people should see it, and the Productivity Commission should independently assess it. I ask all senators to be reasonable today and to send the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to the Productivity Commission. I thank Senator Xenophon for organising this today.