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FTA signed but not sealed and still won't deliver.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/404 WEDNESDAY 19 MAY 2004 SENATOR ADEN RIDGEWAY AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS TRADE SPOKESPERSON FTA signed but not sealed and still won't deliver The signing of the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement is a symbolic move that in no way guarantees its support by the Australian Parliament and the US Congress say the Australian Democrats. Democrats Trade spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, said there are similar doubts being expressed about the FTA in the US, as there are here. "The US Congress has a right to vote on such agreements that our Parliament does not have," said Senator Ridgeway. "But it is still not clear what the level of Congressional support for the deal is. "The Australian Parliament and people were excluded from the FTA process and the full detail was not available until the final text was released. “As the deal is being fully scrutinised by two Senate committees it has become more obvious that it is not in Australia's interest. “But the Senate does not have the right to say no to the agreement only to certain bits of enabling legislation required for parts of the Agreement. Senator Ridgeway said the Democrats will not be voting for any of that legislation but would re-introduce the Parliamentary Approval of Treaties Bill to ensure the Australian Parliament does have the right to scrutinise any such agreements in the future. "We first introduced this Bill in 1996 and it was not supported by the major parties. "However it was recommended by last year's Senate inquiry into the US FTA. “Parliamentary involvement in treaty making process is the only way to ensure that our national interest is protected,” concluded Senator Ridgeway Media Contact - Liz Willis 0417 410 506 News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.