Campaign to stop the TPP in 2016

Campaign to stop the TPP legislation in 2016 hots up in Australia and other countries.Update November 2016 TPP dead. TPP death result of six years of community campaigns.
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network welcomes reports that the Obama administration has abandoned attempts to push the TPP through the current lame duck Congress, the Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network Dr Patricia Ranald said.
“The Trump election victory may have dealt the final blow but fair trade groups have campaigned since 2010 against the TPP corporate agenda, in Australia, the US and other TPP countries. The TPP gave more rights to global corporations but made it harder for governments to regulate them in the public interest.
“Economic studies showed the TPP did not deliver on promises of jobs and growth. It gave global companies the right to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over health and environmental regulation.
“The death of the TPP should mean it is not used as a model for other deals like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between the 10 ASEAN countries, China, India, Japan Australia and New Zealand.
Contact Dr Patricia Ranald 0419 695 841
Unions and Community groups are meeting for the next stage of the TPP campaign in 2016.
Public meeting anti-TPP Melbourne Town hall 21st April 7pm. organising against the TPP.

TPP Forum Flyer 21st April
See issues here 1. Earlier on this blog in 2015
2. AFTINET Lobby MPS and Senators now.
Make a submission by March 11 Points for a short submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Inquiry on the TPP
Block the legislation. Info here

300,000 petition against TPP
An anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) petition with over 300,000 signatures has been has tabled before Parliament by Labor MP Melissa Parke.

The petition was initiated by campaign groups GetUp! and SumOfUs and been signed by around 305,000 Australians objecting to the TPP agreement.

Parke also presented a letter addressed to members of parliament from the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network (AFTINET) on behalf of 59 community organisations representing two million Australians.

Minister Robb shoots the messenger, refuses independent TPP assessment February 4, 2016:

Trade Minister Robb today rejected calls from 59 community organisations representing over two million Australians for an independent assessment by the Productivity Commission on ABC national radio this morning. He claimed that the broad alliance of public health, church, environment, aid and development and union organisations were just ‘the usual suspects opposed to all trade agreements’.

AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said that Mr. Robb was shooting the messenger, and failing to address genuine community concerns, also expressed by bodies like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Productivity Commission.

“The TPP locks in stronger monopoly rights for global corporations over medicines and copyright, and gives all foreign investors special additional rights to sue governments over domestic laws. This is the opposite of free trade,” said Dr Ranald.

“We are not opposed to trade. We are making the point that the TPP is not mainly about trade at all. Australia already has free trade agreements with nine of the 12 TPP countries, and a World Bank study shows there will be minuscule trade gains after 15 years.”

“Mr Robb’s claim that independent assessments are not needed because the government is tabling a National Interest Assessment in Parliament fails to mention that this document is produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which negotiated the agreement. This is not an independent assessment.”
Against TPPjpg
Dr Ranald said that the TPP will be reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties over the next few months before Parliament votes on the implementing legislation. Community organisations will make submissions and appear at public hearings. But the government has a majority on this committee and it cannot change the agreement. That is why genuinely independent assessments are needed.”

“We repeat our call to parliamentarians to support independent economic, health and environmental assessments of the TPP before any vote on the implementing legislation. In the absence of such assessments, we are calling on the majority in the Senate to reject the implementing legislation,” said Dr Ranald. February 4 2016


Push to stop Parliament ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership February 3, 2016 Read more:
Nearly 60 community organisations are calling for an independent assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership before Parliament is asked to vote on ratifying the agreement.
A large alliance of groups – from World Vision and the Public Health Association, to Greenpeace, the ACTU, Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network – have signed a letter warning the agreement poses “grave risks to the public interest” without being independently assessed.
They want an organisation like the Productivity Commission to evaluate its economic costs and benefits before it is ratified by Parliament.
“We the undersigned 59 community organisations representing millions of Australians are gravely concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership text agreed by the US, Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim countries,” the letter says.

“We believe Parliament should not vote on the implementing legislation until the following independent assessments of the text have been conducted: an independent assessment of [its] economic costs and benefits, as offered by the Productivity Commission, including costs and risks to government of Investor State Dispute Settlement [provisions] and extension of medicine and copyright monopolies; and independent health, environment, human rights and labour rights assessments.
“In the absence of such independent assessments, we consider that the TPP poses grave risks to the public interest and ask you to oppose the implementing legislation,” the letter says.

TPP threatens integrity of Australian education
2 February 2016 by Andrew MacDonald (NTEU National Office)

Australian education unions are calling on the government not to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) amid concerns the covert trade agreement will seriously diminish the integrity of Australia’s education system.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) National President Jeannie Rea, and Independent Education Union (IEU) Federal Secretary Chris Watt, have jointly written to Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, urging immediate legislative reforms to Australia’s treaty-making system, to ensure accountability and transparency.

Representing more than 250,000 teachers, academics and professional staff working in schools, colleges, universities, early childhood and vocational settings, the three unions have deep concerns the TPP will fundamentally limit the capacity of Australian governments to protect and preserve the quality of education in Australia.
Read more here

Sign ACTU petition
Trans-Pacific Partnership Being Sold With Bogus Economic Models
Get Up continues the fight against TPP

NZ protests
US protests continue
Malaysian protesters against TPP

Worst nightmares confirmed read here

UN opposed to TPP


And the China Free Trade Agreement
ACTU Ged Kearney
By Ged Kearney President of the ACTU Thursday, 04 February 2016
DESPITE public fury over local workers being locked out by the China Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), the Government is pushing the same tactics in other trade negotiations.

Today, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) comes into force.

This means from now on, employers can hire temporary workers from China across a range of jobs, without bothering to advertise the work locally.
Ged Kearney ACTU
As well as our own workforce losing out, it’s likely overseas workers will continue to fall victim to unscrupulous bosses, as illustrated by the recent wave of scandals — from the 7-Eleven franchise ripping of its workers, to the underpayment and exploitation of contract cleaners.

However, the union-led campaign on ChAFTA has achieved some important concessions. One key benefit is the promise for local workers to get a look-in on all major projects (not just with Chinese investors).

As well, migrant visa workers will get at least the same rate of pay in the prevailing workplace agreement. Trade licensing standards — at risk of being scrapped — have been improved– although how to enforce them remains a worry.

But while public concern and debate about the ChAFTA controversy raged, it emerged our Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, was busy making almost identical concessions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a huge 12-country trade deal.
TPP Profit
As if that wasn’t galling enough, he signed up to the worst deal for protecting local jobs out of any of the TPP countries. Here’s why: Firstly, Australia will let in workers from TPP countries for all 651 occupations under the 457 visa program. This includes a range of jobs from nurses to chefs. This makes Australia different as other countries have limited their commitments to cover highly specialised roles in particular sectors.

Secondly, we’ll let any employer take on a worker from a TPP country. Other countries restrict this instead to “employers with no commercial presence in the country”.

Thirdly, Robb has signed away “labour market testing” for an additional six TPP countries: Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Brunei and Vietnam. Australia had already waived that requirement for most other TPP countries under earlier trade deals.

This means that an employer can take on a worker from a TPP country without having to advertise the job locally first. That’s a real kick-in-the-teeth for locals struggling to find work.

To be sure, some of these commitments are already Turnbull Government policy, but sticking them in a legally binding treaty will lock them in for years and years to come, no matter how bad unemployment gets.

What if we wanted to improve Australia’s labour laws to make sure visa workers got respect the deserve?

Not likely, as Robb is letting multinational companies sue the Australian Government for measures that affect their profits, under so-called “Investor State Dispute Settlement” provisions.

These are the same provisions that Phillip Morris is using to sue the Government for introducing plain cigarette packaging laws.

That case is being heard in a secretive international tribunal, with no independent judiciary and no right of appeal. And it’s already cost the Australian taxpayer $50 million to defend the claim.

So what did we get in return for making such one-sided and sweeping concessions?

Not much, according to Fairfax journalist Peter Martin: “Our manufacturing and mining industries shrink as a result of the deal and our agricultural and service industries grow. The net effect isn’t big.”
TPP Profit
It’s a similar story when it comes to ChAFTA. The government’s own research pointed out our trade deals with North Asia will create just 5,343 jobs by 2035 – about as many as the Australia economy creates in a few of weeks.

But the sacrifice for this is huge. As we learned last week, Australia is losing $4.15bn in tariff revenue in the next four years from ChAFTA. So that’s about $750,000 lost for every job ChAFTA is supposed to create.

Despite the problems with ChAFTA and the TPP, 2015 showed that campaigning on trade can deliver results, and we have a real chance in 2016.

While the TPP text has been released, the deal hasn’t been agreed by Cabinet, nor formally signed by all parties.

And the US Congress is busy grumbling about it. So its fate is far from certain. This fight is far from over. See video

We need to draw a line in the sand: – especially to stop similar sell-outs with other trade agreements just around the corner.

A high quality trade deal can help take us along the high road to quality, high skilled jobs and industries. But deals like the TPP and ChAFTA threaten to take us down the low road of cuts to jobs, wages and conditions, which do nothing to improve our prospects as a country.

I know what road we’ll be campaigning for Australia to take in 2016.



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