Thursday, 17 October 2019
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee; Reference
(1) That the following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 November 2019:
The proposed Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru trade deals, with particular reference to the impact of the agreements on Australia's:
(a) economy and trade;
(b) domestic labour market testing obligations and laws regarding wages, conditions and entitlements of Australian workers and temporary work visa holders;
(d) social, cultural and environmental policies, including as a result of interactions with investor-state dispute settlement provisions; and
(e) any related matters.
(2) That, in conducting the inquiry, the committee shall review the agreement to ensure it is in Australia's national interest, and have regard to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on the proposed agreements.
Notice of motion altered on 16 October 2019 pursuant to standing order 77.
The government opposes this motion. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has twice supported ratifying the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement and last week supported ratifying the trade agreements with Indonesia and Hong Kong, noting the benefits these agreements will bring to Australia's economy and Australian jobs. There are no new labour market testing waivers under these agreements or any dilution of Australian workplace standards. The agreements have stronger investment safeguards and strengthen the government's ability to regulate, including on legitimate public welfare measures like health and the environment. These agreements will create more opportunities for Australian farmers, investors, businesses and workers.
This reference should get up. We should be looking at these trade deals closely. The reason it's not is the same reason we just had a decision by the Senate, supported by Labor, not to refer the bills to committee—the enabling legislation for these trade agreements—and it's because Labor doesn't want to highlight the fact that they are heading down the path of voting for another trade treaty that includes ISDS, against its own platform, and that does have labour market testing aspects to it. What Senator Duniam said is not quite correct. What you are doing is seeking to avoid scrutiny. Senator Hanson has indicated that she won't be supporting enabling legislation. You have the numbers to stop this. You just need the courage of conviction. (Time expired)