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.