Trans-Pacific Partnership – A Transgression of Secrecy

Gumshoe News
by Dalia Mae

andrew-robb

The Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb (above). Is Mr Robb working for the Australian public or for the (International) Corporate Kelptocrats?

This on the Australian Government’s (DFAT) website:

‘The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is one possible pathway toward realising the vision of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific…. (and) …the TPP would open new trade and investment opportunities for Australia in the Asia-Pacific region, etc.

I sent an email to the Minister on the 14th January 2014 (over a year ago) asking nine questions about the TPP. A DFAT’s media spokesperson replied the next day (some extracts): 

The Australian Government is not intending to sign up to international agreements that would restrict Australia’s capacity to govern in our own interest… 

…the Government will not accept an outcome which would adversely affect the PBS…

The Government is seeking provisions on copyright in the TPP that are consistent with Australia’s existing international intellectual property commitments…

Nothing in the TPP will create a body with law-making powers.”

My last question was:

Has Minister Robb just been briefed, or has he been provided the full text that is being negotiated?”  

The reply:

“Mr Robb is fully engaged with the negotiating process including on all chapters of the treaty.”

I wrote again this week to the Minister’s office asking (among other questions):

Has Mr Robb read the full text?”.

The same reply one year later.

“TPP negotiations are at an advanced stage and only the most difficult issues remain.  Australia is committed to concluding the TPP negotiations in the first half of 2015.  

Mr Robb remains fully engaged with the negotiating process including on all chapters of the treaty.”

The department provides an overview (here), but here are a few questions for the Honourable Minister!

Are you, Mr Robb, negotiating the ‘process’ (as the answers imply) – or are you actually negotiating the detail in the document?

We hear that the International Corporate sector has written the text for the TPP. Is this correct? We read that US Congress members have no access to the document.

Have you, Mr Robb, actually read the text of the TPP?

 

I called on Friday to seek clarification – and await an answer. But the secrecy surrounding the TPP is of great concern. This what GetUp has produced:

GetUp writes:

‘It’s a deal, so shrouded in secrecy, even our own Parliament doesn’t know the details…

The TPP agenda is being driven by big business, big pharmaceuticals and big tobacco – but the impacts will affect all Australians.

Between foreign corporations suing our governments over public health measures and environmental protection laws, higher pharmaceutical prices, and surveillance of Australians’ internet usage, there’s a lot for citizens to be concerned about –which is why Prime Minister Abbott and Trade Minister Robb are keeping it quiet.

What we do know from leaked parts of the agreement is terrifying.’

To support the GetUp petition go here.

We all so want to believe that our elected politicians are doing their best to get the best deal for Australians. Maybe they believe they are helping Australia and all Australians into the future. So why the secrecy?

Mr Robb – Please Release The Text.

 

The US Congress refused to give Obama a yes to fast track the TPP.  It would have had to pass it before seeing what was in it.  And a globalresearch article, entitled, The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Dismantles Democracy”: Stop The Secrecy, Release The Texts, explains how the US government fears transparency. Less than one fifth of the Trans Pacific Partnership deals with trade.

On the website of The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it welcomes public submissions and comments on Australia’s participation in TPP negotiations. Submissions (and comments) may be emailed to tpp@dfat.gov.au. Past submission viewed here (then click on ‘Submissions’ tab). (Update–strange the TPP link on the government website is not presently working???)

A side note: We Australians have become used to our government giving away our Sovereignty (and knighthoods).

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