September 9, 2015: The Prime Minister's claim in Parliament that the China FTA allows " no possibility of placing any foreigner in an Australian job without labour market testing" was flatly contradicted by the evidence of a senior officer from Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on September 7 .
September 3, 2015: the Sydney Morning Herald reports that ALP Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is sticking to his criticism that China FTA does not require testing for local workers for projects over $150 million, despite government denials. Associate Prof Stuart Rosewarne and migration law expert Joanne Howe writing in The Drum agree with this criticism after analysing both the text of the agreement and the government’s response.
August 19, 2015: Shadow Trade Minister Penny Wong says Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made misleading statements about the impact of the China Free Trade Agreement on job opportunities for Australian workers, as the Government prepares to launch a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to defend the deal.
August 13: ABC online news China FTA fact check finds that the China FTA does not require checking for availability of local workers before decisions to employ temporary overseas workers, despite the Trade Ministers’ claims that such checking is required.
August 5, 2015 Dr Patricia Ranald's oped in the Sydney Morning Herald
With public hearings for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the China Free Trade Agreement under way, the Shenhua Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, in north-west NSW, may provide a test case for some of the key clauses in the agreement on governments' rights to regulate mining projects for environmental reasons and on the employment of temporary overseas workers on such projects.
Read more here
The AFTINET submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties critcises the unprecedented expansion of the use of temporary labour in a trade agreement, despite government denials. It also criticises the the inclusion of Investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) and the lack of commitment by either government to enforceable labour rights and environmental standards. AFTINET has made a similar submission to the Senate Inquiry. See copy here.
Over 5,000 people rallied against the China - Australia Free Trade Agreement outside the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties hearing taking place in the NSW Parliament House. The rally was organised by Unions NSW.
Over 300 people from unions and community groups protested about the China - Australia Free Trade Agreement and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership outside the ALP National Conference in Melbourne early on July 24, 2015.
MEDIA RELEASE, July 23, 2015
TPP Protest at ALP Conference, Melbourne on July 24 as TPP negotiators meet in Hawaii for possible shameful trade-offs
“Community groups are rallying in the Melbourne winter at 8 am on Friday July 24 outside the ALP conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre to ask the ALP to reject bad trade deals like the China FTA and the TPP. On the same day TPP negotiators begin their secret meeting in the luxury beach resort of Maui in Hawaii, with TPP Trade Ministers scheduled to meet there from July 28-31 to try to finish the deal,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and investment Network said today.