Trans Pacific Partnership: Wrong Way Go Back

25th May 2015
Wrong Way Go Back Sign K 7425

WHAT: Media conference TODAY at 1.15pm Eastern time, at committee room 1R1, Parliament House, Canberra, following a forum on the TPP commencing at 12.30pm

WHO: Dr Patricia Ranald, Co-ordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), Matt Levey, Director of Campaigns and Communications at CHOICE, Melissa Parke MP, Senators Peter Whish-Wilson and Nick Xenophon

Australians face more expensive medicines and restrictions on accessing online content, if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – currently stalled in the US Congress - ever gets approved, a Parliamentary Forum will hear today.

A number of cross-party MPs will launch a cross-party working group on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), following serious concerns from independent experts that the TPP will severely impact consumers and affect Australia’s sovereignty, including:

  • Loss of sovereignty of our governments and courts, if Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses were included. ISDS allows foreign companies to sue governments in off-shore tribunals and findings are not subject to appeal.

  • Rising prices of medicines, because of the insistence by the US of “evergreening” clauses that allow drug companies gain further patents for minor variations to drugs that provide no additional benefits.

  • Draconian copyright provisions that would criminalise even minor breaches of US copyright law and lead to increased prices for IT products.

  • Secrecy of negotiations means the Australian Parliament and people have not had a fair go in assessing the TPP and have had to rely on leaks of details from the drawn out negotiation.

The cross-party MPs and Senators said progress on the TPP had slowed to a crawl, with the cancellation of a Trade Ministers’ meeting scheduled for Guam this week and the inability of the Obama Administration to pass a TPP-related Bill through Congress in recent weeks.

“All Australians should be enormously concerned that the Government is secretly negotiating an agreement (TPP) that would allow multinationals to sue Australia in secret tribunals for laws, policies and even court decisions they consider harmful to their profits.  The tribunals aren’t independent: a panellist can be an advocate one month and an arbitrator for a multinational the next. ISDS has no system of precedents or appeals, so decisions can be inconsistent and unfettered. It is a wholesale attack on Australian sovereignty,” said Melissa Parke.