China FTA

China FTA Inquiry reports show Coalition, ALP and Greens divisions

MEDIA RELEASE October 19, 2015:  “The majority and dissenting reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on the China FTA show sharp divisions between the Coalition, ALP and Greens on on temporary workers and labour rights, and investor rights to sue governments," Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Read the full media release here.

Amendments support workers rights, but still problems with China FTA

October 14: The China FTA would allow Chinese companies investing more than A$150 million to import many temporary workers without testing if local workers are available, and it will allow Chinese companies to sue the Australian government in international tribunals over changes in domestic legislation (ISDS). Parliament will vote on the implementing legislation in November.

 The ALP proposed amendments to the Migration Act  would provide some protections for the rights of both temporary workers and  local workers and would apply to all trade agreements, including the China FTA and future agreements. AFTINET supports amendments to the Migration Act that would protect workers' rights. We still oppose  the inclusion of ISDS and other aspects of the China FTA. See our latest briefing paper here.

Senior bureaucrat confirms no China FTA testing for local workers

September 9, 2015: The Prime Minister's claim in Parliament that  the China FTA allows " no possibility of placing any foreigner in an Australian job without labour market testing"  was flatly contradicted by the evidence of a senior officer from  Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on September 7 .

Shorten criticism of China FTA backed by academics

September 3, 2015: the Sydney Morning Herald reports that ALP Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is sticking to his criticism that China FTA does not require testing for local workers for projects over $150 million, despite government denials. Associate Prof Stuart Rosewarne and migration law expert Joanne Howe writing in The Drum agree with this criticism after analysing both the text of the agreement and the government’s response.