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Coalition & Labor join forces on Multilateral Agreement On Investment



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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA · THE SENATE

1 April 1998

Senator for New South Wales Australian Democrats Whip

PR/215

NEWS RELEASE

COALITION & LABOR JOIN FORCES ON MULTILATERAL AGREEMENT ON INVESTMENT

* 7 .

The Federal Government and the Labor Party voted together in the Senate yesterday to block a motion calling on the Government to stop negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment until the OECD agrees to include binding and protective clauses in the Agreement.

The motion, which was moved by Australian Democrats Senator Vicki Bourne and W A Green Senator Dee Margetts, follows growing national and international opposition to the MAI. This opposition is fuelled by the secrecy surrounding negotiations on the MAI and the widely-held belief that the terms of the treaty place the interests of multinational corporations ahead of the

national interests of the individual signing nations.

Commenting on the fact that the ALP voted with the Government on this issue, Senator Bourne, the Democrats’ Treaty Spokesperson said:

Ί am very disappointed that the Labor Party chose to support the Government on the MAI. At the heart of the controversy surrounding this issue is the conflict between national interests and the interests of huge transnational corporations. It is difficult to see how they can justify voting against this motion, which, inter alia, called on the Government to discontinue negotiations on

the MAI until such time as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development agrees to include in the MAI:

• binding international labour, environmental and human rights standards,

• a binding charter of corporate responsibilities, and

• dispute resolution process, equivalent to those proposed for investors, by which such standards and responsibilities are enforceable.

“I urge the Labor Party to reconsider their position. For the sake of our nation I ask for their cooperation in seeking to block any agreement which seeks to sacrifice our national interest in the interests of so-called free trade.”

For more information, please contact Senator Bourne: 02 6277 3820 W or 02 6297 3830 H

Commonwealth Parliament Offices, 56-70 Phillip Street, Sydney, N.S.W. Postal Address: G.P.O. Box 36, Sydney, N.S.W. 2001 Telephone (02) 247 3377 Facsimile (02) 247 9681 Toll Free 008 651 921