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The secrecy around the Trans Pacific Partnership will be at the expense of people and the environment

Scott Ludlam 7 Jul 2014

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (16:16): I will just make some brief additional comments. I want to congratulate Senator Whish-Wilson for bringing this forward.
As Senator Whish-Wilson and Senator Milne have identified, going into trade agreements-or investors' rights agreements, as the TPP should more properly be understood-and pretending that trade issues are entirely separate to environmental or human rights issues, is a recipe for utterly amoral foreign and trade policy. That is what the government appears to be plunging us into.

As much as those on the other side of the chamber love to deride the work of the WikiLeaks publishing organisation and its beleaguered publisher and staff, we would know nothing about the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement if it was not for whistleblowers from inside the trade agreement posting two of the chapters-the IP and environment draft chapters-on the WikiLeaks website. We would be operating completely in the dark.

Are we seriously proposing we would put ourselves up to be sued by foreign corporations or foreign investors on unelected international tribunals from industry sectors in countries like Brunei? This agreement needs to come to an immediate halt, and the draft text should be made public by the Australian trade negotiators. We need to know exactly who is pulling the strings-whether, as it appears from the mark-up in the draft IP chapter, we are simply doing as the US trade negotiators are demanding and traipsing along behind them, or whether we could even detect faint traces of an independent foreign and trade policy inside the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

We will not know, and we do not know, because the government is sitting on that text and refuses to make it public. I understand and acknowledge that other governments are doing exactly the same thing; that does not make it all right. We are blinding domestic politics and domestic populations to the consequences of deals that are not being done in our name-deals that are being done in the name of particular industry sectors and then given a kind of veneer of respectability through agreements such as this.

The idea that we would team up and allow elected Australian chambers and parliaments to be dictated to by unelected foreign tribunals, such as one the Trans-Pacific Partnership would set up, is unthinkable. These negotiations were started under the ALP, although they did, at least, have the grace to support our motion-which, I think, was introduced in joint names-to make the text of that document public. But how the Liberal and National coalition which voted against that motion can sleep at night is absolutely beyond me.
I am very interested to see Senator Cory Bernardi's view on this. He is the one who is obsessed about creeping sharia law coming into Australia and wants all sorts of things done domestically as a result, but he does not seem to mind hopping into bed with a country that would be bringing-

Senator Wright interjecting-

Senator LUDLAM: That is right, Senator Wright: as long as it is about other people. But you do not legitimise a country that appears to be bringing that for about for its own domestic population; you do not legitimise obscenities like that by signing up to trade agreements, or investors' rights agreements, with them.

We can no longer pretend that trade agreements, or investors' rights agreements, are divorced from their human consequences. That is what the TPP effectively does. That is what this amoral foreign policy and trade policy does-it delinks trade and investors' rights agreements from their environmental, human and community consequences. The day the Australian government is sued by foreign tobacco multinationals, the gas fracking industry, the atomic energy industry or forestry corporations from overseas for daring to pass laws to protect environmental values or public health and safety, it is going to be absolutely no pleasure whatsoever to stand up here and say, 'We told you so.'
The time for disclosure and transparency on this agreement is now. If you are not seeing the red flag put up about the kind of countries we are proposing to get into bed with as a result of the motion Senator Whish-Wilson has brought forward today then I have no idea what it would actually take.

With regard to Senator Faulkner's brief comments, I do not understand the distinction the Labor Party has started to draw between complex foreign policy matters and complex domestic policy matters. I do not understand it at all. We still bring motions forward in here that have life or death consequences for-
Senator Faulkner interjecting-
Senator LUDLAM: I will go back to the original speech, Senator Faulkner. I suspect it will be worth the read. Nonetheless, we deal with complex and sensitive-
Senator Faulkner: That's very generous of you!
Senator LUDLAM: I am only half joking, Senator Faulkner. I suspect it is quite a valuable contribution.
Senator Faulkner: I have heard similar things said of you.
Senator LUDLAM: Thank you for calling the chamber to order, Deputy President. I am in need of your protection from Senator Faulkner. We do deal with complex and sensitive matters- (Time expired)
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Unfortunately you cannot get any further protection from me because your time has expired.
The question is that the motion moved by Senator Whish-Wilson to suspend standing orders be agreed to.
The Senate divided. [16:26]
(The Acting Deputy President-Senator Marshall)

Ayes 10
Noes 47
Majority 37
Di Natale, R Hanson-Young, SC
Ludlam, S Milne, C
Rhiannon, L Rice, J
Siewert, R (teller) Waters, LJ
Whish-Wilson, PS Wright, PL

Back, CJ Bernardi, C
Birmingham, SJ Brown, CL
Bullock, J.W. Bushby, DC
Cameron, DN Canavan, M.J.
Colbeck, R Collins, JMA
Dastyari, S Day, R.J.
Edwards, S Faulkner, J
Fawcett, DJ Fifield, MP
Gallacher, AM Heffernan, W
Ketter, CR Lambie, J
Lazarus, GP Leyonhjelm, DE
Lines, S Ludwig, JW
Lundy, KA Macdonald, ID
McEwen, A McGrath, J
McKenzie, B McLucas, J
Moore, CM Muir, R
Nash, F O'Neill, DM
O'Sullivan, B Peris, N
Polley, H Reynolds, L
Ruston, A Ryan, SM
Seselja, Z Sinodinos, A
Smith, D Sterle, G
Urquhart, AE (teller) Wang, Z
Williams, JR

Question negatived.



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