Hope for a fairer trade debate in Australia

Nov 22, 2016: The successful campaign against the TPP’s corporate agenda here in Australia and around the world has strengthened opposition to the deal and forced a fundamental rethink of trade policy.

After the US administration confirmed it would not proceed with plans to push the TPP through a lame duck Congress, the Australian Greens immediately called for the deal to be dumped here in Australia. Shadow Trade Minister Jason Clare has said that Trump’s confirmation that he will reject the TPP should mean that the Turnbull government should not proceed with legislation to implement a deal that will not happen. Nick Xenophon has confirmed his opposition to the TPP.

Last week, Jason Clare penned an op-ed for the AFR re-affirming his pro-trade position but acknowledging that one of the problems with the TPP was its provisions to bring in workers on temporary visas without testing the labour market first. He also cited a recent Essential Poll which found that fewer than three in 10 Australians think trade has created more jobs for Australians.

If the Turnbull government does persist with the implementing legislation, we will continue to campaign for the majority in the Senate to defeat it. The government-dominated Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry on the TPP will report to Parliament next week, and a separate Senate inquiry will report on February 7 next year.

Throughout our TPP campaign we’ve made it clear that we are not against trade. We want to see fairer trade, based on human rights, labour rights and environmental protection. 

We hope that the long, drawn out campaign against the TPP’s corporate agenda will lead to a better trade debate - one that puts people and the environment ahead of expanding corporate power.