Our politicians responsible for the negotiations with the other member states have been sold a pup, or they are up to no good.
We as taxpayers stand to loose as much, or more, than we stand to gain with the Investor State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS, provisions buried deep within the TPP. The MSP and news media have conveniently neglected to mention that. ISDS provisions may sound mild but they tilt the playing field to the benefit of the largest multi national corporations; worse yet it undermines Australian sovereignty! It allows foreign companies to sue the Australian Government without ever having to set foot in an Australian court! Good work if you can get it.
When a corporation in one of the investor states invests, or wants to invest, in any of the partner countries and they get blocked they get to litigate against that country by a secret panel of arbitrators. The ISDS does not have independent judges. Instead it has highly paid corporate lawyers go back and forth, representing corporations one day and sitting in judgement on the same corporations the next. If the company wins, the ruling of the arbitrators cannot be challenged in the Australian courts. The arbitrators could then require Australia to cough up millions or even billions of dollars. Is there room for corruption here?!
There were 58 examples of litigations against countries in 2012 alone. Although the present TPP was not in existence then it’s European forebear the TTIP, was. Some recent examples of various treaties with ISDS provisions: A French company sued Egypt because Egypt raised it’s minimum wage; a Swedish company sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, a $6 bn law suit; a Dutch company sued the Czech government because the Czech Government didn’t bail out the bank that the Dutch company partially owned; Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS provisions to prevent Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations aimed at cutting the nations smoking rate. Philip Morris is doing the same here because of the plain packaging laws in some states. Occidental petroleum sued Ecuador because Ecuador denied them rights to drill off their coast to protect their environment. Ecuador was fined $2.3bn for future lost profits they never did earn. Ecuador doesn’t have that money so the outcome eventually is to let the oil company drill.
The new ISDS is even better for the corporations as it has stronger provisions than the one presently being utilised. It has to raise serious questions about democratic accountability, sovereignty, checks and balances and the separation of power.
Are all the mining companies in Australia, Australian? No, there are presently seven that I know of that are intending to or have, applied for drilling and mining rights, and have no doubt that they eventually stand a good chance of being detrimental to our environment in one way or another. The farmer and our food supply usually suffers.
Unbelievably, Bob Katter is the only politician I have heard who has spoken out and who intends to vote against it! And that’s for the reasons above. Well done Bob! Amazingly, the bulk of the TPP agreement is still confidential. We have to believe that the corporations do have our best interests at heart. If you believe that then then I’m Buzz Lightyear!
China is not included in this, yet.
The biggest multi-national corporations are the only benefactors of this scam. Have no illusions otherwise.
Interestingly, in the past with the USA all free trade agreements have failed the test for the workers. I suspect it has been the same here but maybe not to the extent of the American outcome. In 1993, Clinton was President and buoyantly exclaimed that the NAFTA would create jobs and improve their deficit which was around $6 bn. Six years later there had been 2.3 millions of workers put out on the street and the deficit of that country blew out to near six times. Even the Kato Institute has got it terribly wrong in the past. The TPP is NAFTA on steroids!
The corporations had done very well in moving their operations overseas to the poorer countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, two countries that have joined the TPP. In Vietnam the workers are paid wages of $0.56 per hour. Of the est 365,000,000 pairs of Nike shoes made none were made in the country of the Nike corporation.
In Malaysia, the country renowned for electronic goods manufacture, eg. Apple, Dell etc, after an audit by the US Government it was found that the workers employed were treated a little more than slave labour. 94% of the workers had had their passports confiscated. They then had really no rights, could not travel and could not leave the country until they paid back the employment costs which should not have been any more than one month wages. They were found to be exorbitantly more. That behaviour was spawned by ‘free trade’.
But here in Australia most of the manufacturing companies have long since departed. We have our primary industries. For how long though?
WikiLeaks publishing a portion of text from the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership in which was stated by Julian Assange at the time that “If instituted the TPP’s [Intellectual Property] regime would trample over individual rights and free expression as well as ride roughshod over intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you are ill now or one day be ill; the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
So, is TPP a good deal for Australia? How will we know? It was composed entirely in secret with the help of about 600 corporations so disclosure isn’t the strong point here and I somehow get a gnawing feeling that foreclosure might be the buzz word of the day. I also think that we have ‘bucklys hope’ of now forcing foreign corporations who make $billions here to return to us any tax at all. Welcome to the New World Order.