Stop the TPP

The biggest trade deal in our history is far worse than expected

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - is the biggest trade deal in Australia's history Now we've seen and started to analyse the 6000 pages of TPP text and side letters, not only have our greatest concerns been validated, the TPP is actually more dangerous than we expected.

Probably the most controversial aspect of the TPP that we've been warning Australians about for the past four years is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. We can confirm that the ISDS provisions are in the TPP and they will allow foreign investors to sue our government if their profits are affected by any Australian law or policy.

For years the Coalition government and Trade Minister Robb dismissed our concerns about ISDS in the TPP. Minister Robb told Australians not to worry because the TPP will include safeguards that will protect new environmental and health policy and regulations from ISDS lawsuits. At the time we pointed out that hundreds of academic experts have argued that the proposed "safeguards" for health and environmental legislation proposed in recent trade agreements are inadequate. 

George Kahale III, the chairman of the world's leading legal arbitration firm, analysed the safeguards against ISDS in the TPP and said, "I think that's nonsense, frankly."

Mr Kahale's main line of work is to defend governments being sued by foreign investors under ISDS and he's pointed out that the TPP includes a ‘most favoured nation' clause which "enables foreign corporations from TPP states to make a claim against Australia based on the ISDS provisions in any other trade deal Australia has signed, no matter which country it was signed with. This means it does not matter how carefully the TPP is drafted: foreign investors can cherry-pick another treaty Australia has signed, and sue the Australian government based on the provisions included in that treaty." [1]

The ISDS provisions in the TPP risks our capacity to legislate to protect our environment, labour standards and health.

In Canada the provisional Quebec government is being sued by the US energy company Lone Pine because it was required to suspend its gas fracking operations to conduct an environmental study. Tobacco company Philip Morris has used ISDS to sue Australia because of our plain packaging laws.

The Greens will continue to oppose the TPP and similar deals that are negotiated in secret, empower corporations to sue governments, or that threaten Australia's labour, health or environmental laws.

The last chance for us to stop the TPP is to block this deal in the Senate.

That's why we're asking you to share information about the dangers in the TPP, and sign and share our petition calling on Labor to join with the Greens to stop this agreement for good. You can also call talkback radio, write a letter to your local paper and inform your friends, community and local networks.

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The Labor Senators have already passed enabling legislation for the China FTA, which included ISDS. The question remains, will the Labor leadership help block TPP?

Now the TPP text has been released it will go through limited government scrutiny and come to parliament as a ‘take it or leave it' option. Parliament can either vote for the enabling legislation or it can vote against it. We can't change the text but we can say no to the deal.

If Labor and the cross-bench join the Greens and block this deal in the Senate then there will be enough support for Parliament to stop the TPP.

We've don't have long to protect Australia from dangerous ISDS provisions so please sign and share this petition today and continue to put pressure on Labor to join the Greens and stop the TPP.

OPPOSITION TO INVESTOR-STATE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

Community opposition to ISDS continues to grow as more people become aware of the dangers in the TPP and ISDS and see how they play out in real life. The Howard government did not agree to include ISDS in the 2004 US-Australia free trade agreement and a 2010 Productivity Commission report found no economic benefits from ISDS, and recommended against it.

Australia's High Court Chief Justice French recently expressed his concerns about the impact of ISDS on domestic court systems in a paper entitled ISDS: A Cut above the Law? The paper notes that governments have not consulted with the judiciary about ISDS. Hundreds of academic experts have argued that the proposed "safeguards" for health and environmental legislation proposed in a trade agreement between the EU and the US are inadequate. But these safeguards are far more extensive than those in the Korea-Australia free trade agreement.

GREEN ACTION IN PARLIAMENT

Only the Greens are standing against ISDS and the dangers in the TPP. The previous Labor government began negotiating the TPP in secret and the current government has continued the negotiation. While in government Labor refused to sign the Korea- Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) because it included ISDS clauses. Recently however, Labor supported KAFTA and the China - Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), both of which include ISDS and it is likely they'll support ISDS and the TPP when it comes before parliament.

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