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Free trade agreements threaten quality of public education: unions

2 June 2016
The National Tertiary Education Union, Australian Education Union and Independent Education Union last week wrote to the Coalition’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo arguing that various free trade agreements would open the floodgates to private for-profit education and education services providers, potentially undermining the quality of services from domestic public providers, the Australian reports today.

45.8 million people live in slavery but TPP doesn’t ban forced labour

1 June 2016

NGO Walk Free has released its latest annual survey measuring slavery across the world and it has found that more than 45.8 million people live in slavery, including 4,300 people in Australia who are estimated to be in modern slavery.

Despite promises to tackle this human tragedy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement does not ban products of child or forced labour, but only says that governments should ‘discourage’ it.

TPP gains ‘paltry': former UN official

30 May 2016

Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Jomo Kwame Sundaram writes that recent TPP studies ‘greatly overstate benefits from the TPP’ and that even so the claimed gains are small.

He also writes that the TPP ‘will significantly constrain the policy space needed for governments to accelerate economic development and to protect the public interest.’

Read the full article here.

Leaked Trade in Services proposals would restrict regulation in the public interest

Media Release, May 26, 2016: Wikileaks has released the most updated draft texts on the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)[i]on three new annexes: State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs); Professional Services, and New Provisions Applicable to All Services.

The TISA is currently being negotiated among 50 mostly industrialised and service-exporting countries including Australia, the US, 23 EU countries, Japan and Korea.

Download the full media release here.

Time to think differently about trade

26 May 2016

Michael Brune, Executive Director of The Sierra Club writes that the TPP is deeply flawed and would be bad for the environment, bad for workers, bad for human rights, and bad for public health. 

But as he points out, "increasing international trade doesn’t actually require that we sacrifice our environment, health, jobs, or human rights. To be clear, the reasons why these so-called trade agreements are so dangerous has little to do with trade. They’re terrible because the powerful corporate insiders who do the negotiating (in secret, of course) pack them with provisions that protect and empower giant, multinational corporations — including some of the biggest polluters on the planet."

Read the full article here.

Hockey lobbying of US Congress shows TPP flaws

May 25, 2016: “Reports of Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey’s desperate attempts to lobby the U.S. Congress to support the TPP beg the question of why the Australian government should be supporting it,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.US bipartisan opposition to the TPP is now so strong that the US is now getting other governments to lobby its own Congress. There is something wrong with this picture.”