Australian Politicians Call For TPP Text To Be Made Public Before It's Signed

from the not-gonna-happen dept

Politicians for the opposition Labor Party in Australia have called on the government there to release the text of the TPP agreement before it’s signed. Yes, it’s crazy that this even needs to be discussed, but the latest round of negotiations are going on, and there have been some rumors that the plans are to let countries “sign” on at the end of the negotiations, before any text is officially released. Countries would still have to ratify, so the signature is largely symbolic, but it still seems fairly ridiculous that any government would agree to sign a massive trade agreement with huge implications for pretty much all of their citizens without the document ever being made public. Frankly, the idea that any country would consider moving forward with such an agreement before they’ve allowed any public discussion of the text is about as anti-democratic as you can imagine.

While it’s good that the Labor party is making this request, the very fact that it needs to do so shows just how screwed up the entire TPP process is. It’s a backroom deal put together to help a few big industries at the expense of nearly everyone else — and the whole thing is secret. This isn’t how countries which claim to be open, free and democratic are supposed to act. But, of course, as former USTR Ron Kirk admitted during a moment of candor, if the public actually got to see what’s in the TPP, the agreement would never get approved. And that’s exactly why it shouldn’t be approved.

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Comments on “Australian Politicians Call For TPP Text To Be Made Public Before It's Signed”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

In case of international trade agreements: Bringing down the trade agreement is close to bringing down the government, or that is what the governments think.

Governments fight tooth and nail to keep anything they have got some responsibility for producing alive. In this context it is likely that the opposition knows the crap they themself negotiated (it has been going for years of their time in government) and knows how much public vitriol it will likely catch. If anything, it is populistic hypocricy. On the other hand, trade agreements are screwing the legislative responsibilities over, making the concept open to attacks of imposing anti-democratic measures. Just because governments negotiate them, they are not inherently democratic!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Out Of Government

The OZ system is a bit different When a Party loses office that group has a huge internal reassessment of its direction and its policies, on the grounds, we lost government, it was our stupid policies, Parties Change Policies, If the Party doesn’t change a policy that policy is really a core Ideology that identifies the party, anyway why knock them too hard, they can offer another voice to help destroy this anti-competitive, monopolistic, anti-innovation treaty.

Mr Big Content says:

For The Love Of Transparency, Please Do Not Do This

It is really dismaying to see those who say they value transparency asking for this kind of unauthorized disclosure of sensitive confidential transparency documents before they have been completely transparency finalized and signed off. Dont you realize what kind of a blow this would be for transparency? These negotiations have already been so transparency, yet here you are trying to use transparency as an excuse to totally torpedo and sabotage this whole transparency agreement.

It is already so full of transparency! Please dont throw all that transparency away, and waste the work of so many transparency groups over so many transparency years, just in the name of transparency. That would be so ironic.

Anonymous Coward says:

bit bloody late, isn’t it? and even then, the opinion of the greatest section involved, the public, needs to be taken into account and seriously! from what i have read earlier today, the USA, typically, with all ‘deals’ that will benefit it and it’s industries, while royally screwing every other country involved, is pushing extremely hard to get this passed over the weekend. i sincerely hope there is enough time to get the same reaction against this as there was against ACTA and stop it completely! imagine the celebration that will ensue if it is passed! it will seem as if it is not just this Xmas best present ever, it will seem as if all Xmases have come at once! except, of course, to the ones that really matter, ie, the public!
these types of underhanded, secret meetings that are always started by the USA, that always threaten every other country that refuses to play ball, need to stop and stop now! the USA is not the only country in the world and it certainly produces far less in all things than it used to. it is no reason to keep screwing everyone else, just because it cant cut the mustard any more!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

” the USA, typically, with all ‘deals’ that will benefit it and it’s industries, while royally screwing every other country involved,”

These BS trade deals only benefit the 1% in the us – it totally screws over the other 99%. And don’t kid yourself, other countries are not much different. The uber-riche pull strings and their political puppets dance.

G Thompson (profile) says:

This motion WILL pass the Senate

Ok firstly this is NOT a request its now a motion in the Senate backed by the MAJORITY of the Senate and the Australian Government (House of Representatives) which is currently controlled by the Liberal/National Coalition Parties MUST comply otherwise it can face dismissal (ie: the whole government is actually sacked and a new election occurs)

As for anyones argument that they wont release the COMPLETE and TRUE copy of the TPP Treaty before any signage due to it being a part of the negotiation treaty not to release the documents.. that doesn’t hold any sway under Australian law since if they do that (any Minister, Politician, or Bureaucrat) they are then in contempt of the Senate and also would face criminal charges under Australian law.

The reasons that this motion will pass the Senate and will become a Compelling Order is that the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions have been revealed to be still part of the treaty that the Aust Government is willing to sign and the Senate believes, and rightly so, that “These provisions and others within the agreement pose a real a threat to Australia?s public interest laws that protect our environment and rural industries, and underpin public health”.

Chris Brand says:

Symbolic signatures

In theory the signature is symbolic, because it happens before the “democracy” part. In practice we’ve seen that when a treaty is discussed in the various parliaments the starting point is “we signed it, so we’re obliged to ratify it”, and it takes an awful lot of pressure from the public (to the level of marches in the streets) to prevent ratification being a foregone conclusion.

Vic B (profile) says:

Participative versus representative democracy

I see what you’re trying to say Mike although I’m not sure that you fully grasp the consequences of your wishes. Democracy doesn’t necessarily mean everyone gets to chime in everything for a number of reasons, from process efficiency to competency and many others reasons, some good and some bad. That’s why we elect and pay people, preferably with the required intellect and experience to make decisions for us. Representative government is the cornerstone of democracy. The kind of democracy you espouse, the populist so called participative democracy may be idealistically pure but, except for cases with relatively few participants, is always been a social disaster corrupted by fundamentalists of the worst breed, from religious zealots to right wing nuts. I realize it is more popular than ever to flame elected officials but at the end of the day it does nothing to strengthen our democractic principles but instead encourages anarchy or dogmatic crazies. Just my opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Participative versus representative democracy

Actually, democracy Does mean everyone gets to chime in on everything. It’s what the word Means. Rule by the people. Representative democracy doesn’t underpin it, it Subverts it. Once you get parties going it’s barely different, and not meaningfully so, from oligarchy using popularity contests rather than assasinations to facilitate handovers of power. Using dice would rarely be less meaningful.

And, in some ways, rightly so at a national level. True democracy, like anarchy, communism, and other such things, doesn’t Work beyond the level of Maybe a small town.

That said, how, why, etc. of where you draw the lines to facilitate the creation of a government which can actually govern, with minimum reductions in liberty (absolutely everyone being at absolute liberty to do absolutely anything never ends well, you see, but you still want as much as possible while still having a functional society) is Very Important.

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