March 15, 2018 by Dymphna

Have we just been sold up the river?

A lot of high fives and back slapping this week with the signing of the TPP… but I smell a rat.

Am I the only one not getting hot under the collar for the news that Australia just signed up for TPP 2.0.

(You know, the one America pulled out of.)

From The Australian:

“The deal will eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs in a marketplace worth close to $US14 trillion.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Chile, Mr Ciobo said the legislation to formalise the pact would be introduced to parliament this month ahead of a joint standing committee an inquiry into the TPP.

He expects Australia’s domestic processes to be settled by the end of September. “This is a very good day for trade,” Mr Ciobo told a media conference in Santiago this morning.

“We are sending a mutual signal that we recognise the policy orthodoxy of trade”…

“Trade is good for economic growth, trade is good for jobs, trade is good for promoting prosperity,” Mr Ciobo said.

He said Australian farmers, manufacturers, service providers and small businesses would be the big winners…”

So it’s a big win and high fives all round, is it? That’s what the politicians reckon.

Of course, you wouldn’t take their word for it. You obviously would want to read the agreement for yourself to see what it’s about.

Oh, but you can’t do that. The details are being kept secret. And that’s because… actually, I can’t think of a good reason why the public is kept in the dark about something that could have such a big impact on them, but I’m sure there is a very good reason.

So how do we know and trust what’s in the deal? I mean, the earlier version, which included the US, had some scary stuff in it.

You know, like the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions – which open the door to multinational companies suing the Australian Government for implementing rules against their interests (e.g. like limiting chemical food additives or literally whatever.)

There were also extensions to patent and copyright protections, which increase profits for companies and costs for consumers.

And then there’s the rumour that the TPP will commit Australia to allowing companies to recruit from six new countries – namely Mexico, Chile, Japan, Canada, Malaysia and Vietnam – without requiring them to first check if there is an Australian that could do the same job.

Yep, totally sure that importing workers from Vietnam or Malaysia won’t hurt Australian wage prospects.

Hang on, I sound like a racist.

If only there was some sort of dispassionate economic body, that could rigorously assess the costs and benefits of the deal, so the Australian public could have total confidence in what our politicians are signing us up for.

Oh wait, there is. That is exactly what the Productivity Commission is set up to do.

So what do they reckon? Well, they haven’t seen it. They won’t see it. The government’s not sharing it with them.

Why..? Again, good question. I’m sure there’s a very good reason. I can’t think of what that reason might be, since it’s obviously a very good deal for Australians. But I’m totally sure we can trust our politicians to do the right thing before they leave office to go and suck the on teat of big business.

And why isn’t America in there?

Trump says it’s not good for Americans and it’s not good for jobs.

I mean, sure, a deal that allowed businesses to recruit directly from the developing world would have a massive impact on Australian pay packets, but Donald is a raving racist lunatic. He’s only saying that because he’s a narcissist and that’s the kind of thing that narcissists say.


Look, I don’t know what motivates the Donald.

But this whole business makes me nervous. There’s some seriously problematic stuff being decided on behind closed doors.

So don’t come out celebrating it like you’ve just done us a huge favour.

If the deal is so good then let us see it before you go canvassing the room for high fives. Or let the productivity Commission take a look.

And spare us the empty hype.

The era of trust is over. We know the system is broken. We know it’s designed to screw over the little people.

Give us something to believe in and then we’ll talk about your high fives.