Media Release: AFTINET trade policy election scorecard: Liberal-National zero stars, Labor eight stars, Greens and Centre Alliance nine stars

April 17, 2019: AFTINET trade policy election scorecard: Liberal-National zero stars, Labor eight stars, Greens and Centre Alliance nine stars

“The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community organisations has analysed policy documents, public statements and past records of the main parliamentary parties to compare their trade policies on nine key issues in trade deals. These include foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) stronger medicine monopolies and higher prices for medicines, labour rights and environmental standards, and the public release of trade deals before they are signed. The Liberal-National Coalition scores zero stars, Labor eight stars and the Greens and Centre Alliance nine stars,“ AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today. The issues are summarised and explained below.

The Liberal-National Coalition - Zero stars

The LNP Coalition’s track record on trade is clear. They have consistently supported foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS). In the TPP, and bilateral agreements with Peru, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The TPP and other agreements have also entrenched medicine and copyright monopolies and contain chapters on trade in services that freeze the regulation of services at existing levels and could prevent the re-regulation of essential services and make it difficult to fix failed privatisations in the future. The TPP contains labour and environment chapters that are not fully enforceable. The Coalition has not insisted on enforceable labour rights or environmental standards in other agreements. They have removed labour market testing for temporary workers in the TPP and other agreements and have opposed the public release and independent evaluation of trade agreement texts before signing.

Australian Labor Party - Eight Stars

Labor loses a star because of its record on voting for the implementation of the TPP-11 in October 2018. This resulted in a backlash from its supporters because the TPP-11 contained many provisions contrary to Labor’s policy.

Labor adopted a stronger to trade policy in December 2018 (see policy platform p.p. 26-33 and proposed legislation). The new policy commits them to oppose ISDS, stronger medicine and copyright monopolies, provisions for deregulation of essential services and removal of labour market testing for temporary migrant workers. It supports enforceable labour rights and environmental standards in trade agreements and the public release and independent evaluation of trade agreement texts before signing.

Australian Greens - Nine Stars

The Australian Greens have consistently opposed ISDS, stronger medicine and copyright monopolies, provisions for deregulation of essential services and removal of labour market testing for temporary migrant workers. They have supported enforceable labour rights and environmental standards in trade agreements and the public release and independent evaluation of trade agreement texts before signing. They voted against the implementing legislation for the TPP-11.

The Centre Alliance - Nine Stars

The Centre Alliance have opposed ISDS, stronger medicine and copyright monopolies, provisions for deregulation of essential services and removal of labour market testing for temporary migrant workers. They have supported enforceable labour rights and environmental standards in trade agreements and the public release and independent evaluation of trade agreement texts before signing. The Centre Alliance voted against the TPP’s implementing legislation.

Contact Dr Patricia Ranald on 0419 695 841