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Time to put Trojan horse provisions in trade deals out to pasture

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 6 Aug 2014

The Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments about today’s hearing into the Greens Bill to ban Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in trade deals - Trade and Foreign Investment (Protecting the Public Interest) Bill 2014.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “I introduced this bill to make sure these Trojan horse provisions in trade deals received appropriate parliamentary attention.

“From today’s evidence it is clear that all Andrew Robb cares about is getting these agreements signed so he can get a headline and distract attention away from the Government’s horror budget.

“Either the Government hasn’t understood or is deliberately ignoring the dangers of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade deals.

“These Trojan horse provisions are flat-out wrong and should be rejected. They put at risk the ability of future parliaments to legislate in the public interest. They also put the interests of big foreign corporations ahead of the interests of the Australian public.

“We heard evidence today that nations around the world are refusing to sign up to trade deals with these provisions and yet the Australian government is prepared to risk them to get agricultural market access.

“The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) should have never been signed by the Government while it included Trojan horse ISDS provisions.

“I call on the parliament to reject KAFTA in its current form and the Government to go back to Korea and negotiate a deal without these provisions.

“Today we heard concerns from a range of experts and stakeholders in support of our Bill to ban these provisions. 

“Even the Chief Justice of the High Court, Chief Justice RS French AC, recently expressed reservations about ISDS.

“The Government should use this opportunity to take stock, drop ISDS from their trade agenda and start delivering for the public interest,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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