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Government blatantly misleads parliament and the public on trade deal job claims

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 17 Sep 2015

Today in Senate question time, Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, asked why the government had made such a basic error of mathematics in estimating that will be an additional 178,000 jobs created from their three North Asian trade agreements when their own modelling shows that there will be just 5,434.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The government has made a basic error that is analogous to someone saying ‘I have $1000 in my bank account at the end of this year and $1000 in my bank account at the end of next year, therefore I have $2000 in total.

“The government has somehow accumulated the already accumulated figures to overstate the number of jobs created in by 2035 by a factor of almost 33 times.

“The former Prime Minister Tony Abbott used this 178,000 figure, as did the Minister representing the Minister for Trade Senator Marise Payne. Trade  Minister Robb said these agreements would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“The government has misled the public and misled the Australian people. It is not clear from the answers I got today whether they were being deliberately deceptive or simply were obscenely bad at maths.

“The Greens have long echoed the Productivity Commission’s view that the treaty-making process lacks transparency and independent assessment and the validity of this view become more apparent by the day.

“The Greens will never support a trade agreement containing an open-ended Investor-State Dispute Settlement schemes and the public are right to be sceptical of a government that is so deceptive about the benefits of these agreements,” he concluded.

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