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Coalition policy gives manufacturing bosses a seat at trade negotiations, not farmers, unions or other groups

An obscure clause buried in the Liberal-National Coalition’s manufacturing policy says they will ‘appoint at least one industry representative who will be directly included in the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements’. The policy is on p.14 of the Coalition Manufacturing policy released last week. As it was not in the Coalition trade policy, AFTINET only became aware of it today, after we had sent out our comparison of parties’ trade policies.

This is an extraordinary and probably unworkable policy for three reasons.

Australian Election: How do the major parties stack up on fair trade?

As the election draws near, The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) has analysed how the trade policies of our major political parties comparein relation to fair trade and free trade.

To compare the parties on key fair trade issues, we examined the policy documents of each party, as well as pre-election statements and publications on nine key issues. They are labour rights, the environment, health care and access to medicines, investor rights to sue governments (ISDS), intellectual property, Australia’s cultural industries, transparency, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Multilateral versus bilateral and regional agreements.

As you can see in our comparison table, Labor and the Greens have positive policies on all of the nine issues, whereas the Liberal National Coalition has a negative policy on Investor-State Dispute Settlement, and no explicit policies on seven of the others.

AFTINET's Convener speaks to ABC radio from Brunei

AFTINET's convener Dr Patricia Ranald spoke to ABC radio this morning from Brunei, where she is observing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) currently under negotiation.

Dr Ranald reports on the progress of the negotiation and talks about Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and how it could affect our health and environmental regulation, using the examples of tobacco and coal seam gas mining.

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