The Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on Labor’s recent statements on Australia’s trade agreements.
Senator Whish-Wilson said “Labor’s statement today that they would try and unwind Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions from existing trade agreements is an abrogation of responsibility that it was Labor’s votes in the Senate that passed these agreements into law.
“Last year, Labor voted for the enabling legislation to allow the Korea-Australia agreement, which included ISDS, to be ratified. If Labor had not voted for the legislation, the agreement never would have had been enacted.
“This is just a distraction from the question whether Labor are going to pass enabling legislation for the Trans Pacific Partnership and the China FTA or not.
“With trade agreements, the parliament can either pass the enabling legislation so the treaty gets ratified, or the parliament can block the legislation so the treaty doesn’t get ratified. The parliament cannot amend it.
“Labor is justifiably taking a lot of heat from union and civil society groups on these issues and yet they continue to try and walk both sides of the tracks.
“Labor needs to put up or shut up. Block or pass. That is their only options. Anything else is just noise to distract everyone from the reality they are fundamentally a party of so called 'free trade', rather than 'fair trade'.
"Free trade deals these days are code for handing power to corporations and furthering their deregulation and privatisation agendas,” he concluded.