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Howard's election strategy: An exchange of letters!

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Senator Bob Brown Senator for Tasmania

12th Aug 2004

Howard's election strategy: An exchange of letters! The second Howard media conference today on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was pure election strategy, Greens Senator Bob Brown said.

"After Labor joins the government to get the FTA through the Senate, all that remains to validate the FTA is an 'exchange of letters' between President Bush and the Prime Minister or their representatives," Senator Brown said.

"It is in this exchange that the hostile White House could rattle Labor's election cup.

"It can request interpretations, alterations or even arbitration over Labor's amendments. This is the scene Mr Howard alluded to.

"Far from being an election winner, it could rebound badly for Mr Howard. The Greens will campaign strongly on the FTA's disempowerment of the Australian parliament to deal with issues like quarantine, jobs, cultural integrity, and intellectual property in the wide national interest.

"US Trade Representative Zoellick's letter to Australia warning that the US reserves the right to penalise Australia is not just a legal courtesy, it is an arrogant disregard for Australia's right to make our own laws," Senator Brown said.

More information: Katrina Willis 02 6277 3170 or 0419 704 095