by Dee McLachlan
The Australian Senate is holding an inquiry into the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership — the ominous TPP. This is your last chance to make a submission. Your action is needed!
At Gumshoe we have done several articles on the TPP, but luckily — through a GetUp campaign — money was raised to produce a report on the trade deal. Dr. Kyla Tienhaara (Australian National University) produced a report entitled:
THE CANARY IN THE COALMINE: What Canada’s experience with Investor-State Dispute Settlement tells us about Australia’s future under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Secret Dirty Dealings
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is the largest regional trade deal in history — and perhaps the most controversial. The deal was secretly crafted by corporate specialists over seven years, and the document was under lock and key – with the media and public barred from participation.
Encompassing 11 Pacific Rim nations — of which the United States is one — this deal sets new terms for global business. At the heart of the TPP are expanded powers for multinational corporations — through the highly controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. These would allow multinational corporations to sue the Australian government in secret extrajudicial tribunals, adjudicated by corporate lawyers.
In these ISDS disputes, these tribunals can award corporations unlimited sums, including for loss of future expected profits — and all paid by Australian taxpayers.
Right now, the Senate is holding an inquiry – and their recommendations are Australia’s last line of defense against the TPP.
Dr Tienhaara’s report illustrates some of the possible costs of ISDS for Australia — this based on available global data and a direct comparison with the experience of Canada under Chapter 11 of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
She suggests the ISDS is a Corporate Assault on Democracy.
Canada is an excellent comparator to Australia, Dr Tienhaara explains, owing to a comparably sized economy, and similar economic and trading activities.
Canada then is Australia’s “canary in the coal mine“, whose experience under NAFTA gives us a preview of the ISDS environment that might emerge in Australia under the TPP.
Despite enormous public concern over the deal in Australia and abroad, the Turnbull Government has flatly refused to undertake an independent cost analysis.
Although it is called a “trade” agreement, the TPP is not about trade. Of its 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues. Rather, the TPP trades away our democratic right to create laws in the public interest
The video below explains how the Australian government signed the Lima Declaration back in 1975, and how that impacted Australia.