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Dangerous deal

Find out what this deal could mean for you and your family, then sign the petition calling on Parliament to block the TPP!

Trade Minister Andrew Robb has just signed Australia onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

The TPP is bad news for democracy, as it will allow multinational corporations to sue our government over laws that protect our health and our environment.

But it's not over yet. We still have a chance to derail the secretive TPP agenda when it's put to a vote in the Senate.

Will you join over 125,000 Australians calling on Parliament to block the TPP, by signing the petition now?

By building enough political pressure, we can show politicians that Australians won't stand by while our rights are signed away.

Get the facts on the TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (or "TPP" as it's known) is a major trade deal between Australia and 11 other countries. The deal accounts for 800 million people and 40 per cent of the world's economy – making it one of the world's largest trade deals.

Australia joined the TPP negotiations in 2011 under the Gillard Government, and negotiations have since continued under the Coalition Government, which have been largely led by the US. Negotiations concluded on 5 October 2015 in Atlanta, US.

The 12 negotiating countries are Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Mexico, and Peru.
The Coalition Government claims the TPP would open up trade and investment opportunities for Australia in the Asia-Pacific region, by reducing barriers for Australian exporters.

However, the deal has a number of nasty provisions that will impact Austalia's environment, health, internet freedom and workers rights standards.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a provision that allows a foreign corporation to sue governments for policy decisions they believe harm their investments.

ISDS can be used for very legitimate purposes, for example if a government was to nationalise a private company – but it could also be used to sue governments for actions taken in the public interest, such as banning harmful pesticides, or placing a moratorium on fracking to protect water resources.

The risks of ISDS aren't merely hypotheticals, we're already seeing them played out in countries like Canada, El Salvador and even right here in Australia.
A case brought against an Australian government through ISDS, wouldn't be carried out in the courts, but rather through private arbitration tribunals comprised of corporate lawyers. As a result, ISDS cases lack the standards of national legal systems, such as precedents and appeals.

And ISDS cases are expensive to defend. A 2012 OECD study found that ISDS cases usually last between three to five years, racking up a legal bill of US$8 million on average. This may have to be paid even if the government wins the case. The case brought by tobacco corporation, Philip Morris, over Australia's plain-packaging laws has already cost Australian taxpayers AUD$50 million.
The TPP was billed as having environmental standards that would be ground-breaking for a trade deal, but the text reveals it doesn't even mention climate change!

What's more, giving multinational corporations the power to sue our governments for creating new laws, could inhibit their ability to govern in the public interest.

For example, if a state government placed a ban on coal seam gas fracking, because it was contaminating water tables, the fracking company could sue the government and force Australian taxpayers to cover the cost of lost profits.

We've already seen scenarios like this played out in countries around the world, such as in El Salvador, where a Canadian company (now Australian-owned) is suing the government for $315 million in "loss of future profits" because local citizens won a hard-fought campaign against a gold mine that threatened to contaminate their water supplies. The Australian company is continuing to pursue the case.
The US Big Pharmaceutical lobby pushed for an extension of data exclusivity period for medicines. Before a new medicine is manufactured, it undergoes extensive testing to ensure it's safe.

Generic medicine manufacturers currently need to wait five years before they can access this data to produce more affordable versions of the medicine.

The US wanted to increase this period from five to eight years, which would delay the introduction of cheaper generic medicines into the market, making medicines more expensive for Australians.

The text of the deal reveals that Australia has committed to use administrative and other processes to eventually reach the eight year waiting period that the US demanded.
In 2011 the Australian Government introduced plain-packaging laws to prevent young people from taking up smoking.

But now, US tobacco giant Philip Morris, is using a similar ISDS clause from an Australia-Hong Kong treaty to sue the government for millions of dollars in damages.

ISDS clauses are included in the TPP agreement, so US corporations can sue Australian governments over laws that affect their profits.
ISDS provisions can also harm added protections for workers. The Egyptian Government is being sued under ISDS provisions for raising the minimum wage.
Your internet service provider could be forced to spy on you and dob you in for possible copyright infringement.

We all know piracy is illegal, but this treaty gives US companies the power to pull strings that could make heavy-handed spying, fines, internet service disconnection and even criminal charges the norm for even the most minor and potentially unintentional infringements.
Find out what this deal could mean for you and your family.



For more information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, click here to read the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network's (AFTINET) explainer.

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The Productivity Commission found in their June report that "ISDS protections are not necessary or sufficient to foster investment flows between developed countries with transparent and well-functioning legal systems"

Back in 2011, the Commission even went so far as to recommend the government "seek to avoid" the inclusion of ISDS in all future trade deals.

SIGN THE PETITION

To the members and senators of the Australian Parliament,

We call on you to stand up for Australian democracy and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership.




131,089 signatures