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Labor's trade stance is hollow - votes in parliament are what counts

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Media Release // Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

Labor’s trade stance is hollow - votes in parliament are what counts

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, called on Labor to walk-the-talk on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and declare if they will vote in favour of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP).

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The Labor Party must immediately come clean on its position on the TPP. Will they vote against it when it comes to parliament?

“The Labor Party is trying to white-wash its voting record on ISDS. Labor MPs say they want to remove ISDS clauses from existing trade deals, but in the last parliament they voted for both the Chinese and Korean trade agreements that contained ISDS.

“There’s no point having a policy if you don’t follow it. In parliament, votes are what matters. Labor can’t have it both ways.

“Labor MPs had the chance to halt the proliferation of ISDS. They had negotiating power. They had union and community support. But they blew it. They were too interested in pandering to big business.

“The Labor Party’s opposition to ISDS will continue to mean nothing if their MPs vote for the TPP. The TPP will expose the Australian Government to compensation claims from companies based in eleven other countries, including the US.

“US-based companies are twice as likely to use ISDS to sue governments. Even John Howard wouldn’t include ISDS in the US trade agreement. But the US has got its way through the TPP.

“ISDS is a serious threat to our democracy and rule of law. ISDS allows foreign companies to sue governments for the impact that public policy has on their profits. ISDS is governed by unaccountable tribunals that do not follow basic principles of law.

“Concerns about ISDS have been raised by the likes of the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Productivity Commission. These people are not scaremongers. They are raising serious concerns about the impact of ISDS on our democratic and legal processes, and the contingent liability that taxpayers will bear,” he concluded.


Media contact: Tim Beshara 0409164603