Send letter to the Trade Minister: say no to TPP demands in 2015
The Hon. Andrew Robb AO MP
Minister for Trade and Investment
Dear Minister Robb,
I am gravely concerned about the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which failed to meet the deadline for completion in 2014 because governments have responded to community opposition in many negotiating countries. The TPP is not just a trade agreement and could impact on many important areas of Australian public policy.
The TPP could mean higher prices for medicines
Please reject US proposals for stronger patents and data protection for medicines, which would delay cheaper generic medicines and mean higher prices for new medicines for longer both in Australia and our region. Please also reject proposals for changes to our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which would allow pharmaceutical companies more say over medicine prices, increasing costs to government and leading to pressure for higher prices at the chemist.
The TPP could allow foreign investors to sue Australian governments
Investor-state dispute settlement proposals (ISDS) allow foreign corporations to sue governments in international tribunals if a change in policy or regulation is seen to “harm” their investment. The US Philip Morris tobacco company is using ISDS in an Australia- Hong-Kong investment agreement to sue the Government over our plain packaging law, despite the decision of the Australian High Court that they were not entitiled to damages under Australian law. If ISDS is included in the TPP, corporations based in any TPP country, including the US, would be able to sue our governments for millions of dollars.
Attempts to “safeguard” health and environmental legislation from ISDS clauses have not been effective in other agreements and do not attempt to safeguard other areas such as industrial relations and tax policy. Recent Senate Inquiry reports, European studies and Australian High Court Chief Justice French have revealed additional evidence that ISDS is a threat to democratic legislation and national court decisions, undermining democracy and sovereignty.
I ask that you do not agree to any ISDS provisions in the TPP or any other agreement.
The TPP process is secret and undemocratic
The level of secrecy in the TPP negotiations means that the public and the Parliament must rely largely on leaks for detailed information about the agreement.
The TPP text will only become public after it is signed, and cannot be changed. Parliament will only vote on the implementing legislation. Any changes which do not require implementing legislation, such as ISDS clauses or administrative changes to the PBS, do not require legislative change and will not be debated by Parliament.
This process is undemocratic. I ask you to release the text of the TPP and other agreements for full public and Parliamentary discussion before Cabinet authorises it to be signed.