Send an email to the Trade Minister

The Hon. Richard Marles
Minister for Trade
Parliament House

Dear Mr Marles,

I am concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (TPPA) being negotiated between Australia, the US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan. The agenda is being heavily influenced by US corporations which regard many areas of Australian public interest regulation as barriers to trade.

I congratulate your government for its steadfast opposition to the attempt by the Philip Morris tobacco company to use an Investor State Dispute process (ISDS) in an obscure Australia- Hong Kong investment agreement to sue the government for damages in an international tribunal over the tobacco plain packaging legislation. Philip Morris has persisted with this case despite the fact that Australian High Court found that the tobacco companies had no right under Australia law to damages for the legislation. This shows that ISDS can be used to undermine democratic legislation and decisions of the Australian High Court, and vindicates your government’s policy against ISDS in all trade agreements.

As pressure mounts to conclude the negotiations in 2013, I ask you to continue to implement your policies to reject investor rights to sue governments through ISDS processes in all trade agreements.

I also ask you to reject proposals for stronger patents on medicines which would delay availability of cheaper generic medicines and lead to higher costs for government and consumers, and to reject any proposals which would constrain the ability of government to set affordable prices for medicines through the a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme . I ask you to reject proposals which would strengthen copyright at the expense of consumers, for reduction of Australian content in government purchasing, for reduction of Australian content in audio-visual media, for weakening of consumer information on food labelling, including genetically engineered food, and to reject any other proposals which would reduce the capacity of government to regulate in the public interest.

I ask you to support enforceable workers’ rights and environmental protections, and to release the text of the agreement for public and Parliamentary discussion before it is signed by Cabinet.

Yours sincerely

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