Workers oppose Free Trade Agreements


Friday 24 July, 8am – 9.30am,
Melbourne Convention Centre
Organised by TPP-Unions and Community Roundtable Coalition; and

Demand the release of the text of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), oppose Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in all trade agreements, and demand labour rights in the TPP and China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).

● The TPP and ChAFTA will create a race to the bottom on working conditions, environmental standards and all kinds of public regulations. These deals empower corporations to sue all levels of government for perceived ‘barriers to trade’ and loss of potential future profits. Such lawsuits have cost countries hundreds of millions of dollars.
● The US driven TPP limits access to medicines by extending monopoly protections for multinational pharmaceutical corporations.
● The TPP and ChAFTA undermine our Sovereignty and enable multinational corporations to bypass our domestic legal system and hard won democratic and workers’ rights, effectively broadening and strengthening corporate interests before public interests.
● The TPP undermines Indigenous rights and human rights, and conflicts with our UN Charter of human rights obligations (Article 103).
Trade agreements are being negotiated in secret without any parliamentary and public scrutiny or debate.


● Demand the immediate release of the TPP text for public scrutiny, and if it is not released, call for Australia to withdraw from negotiations.
● Oppose all trade agreements that undermine local jobs by failing to include labour market testing requirements.
● Reject any trade deal that includes ISDS and which fail to prioritise the environment, health, citizen and workers’ rights over the interests of corporations and foreign investors.
● Commit to reform the trade treaty process to include public and parliamentary debate and a vote on proposed trade agreements through both houses.

TPP & Trade – Unions and Community Roundtable Coalition
Contacts: Shirley Winton 0417 456 001 & Serena O’Meley 0437 100 688

TPP Motion – ACTU National Congress May 2015

Passed unanimously by 1,000 union delegates

The ACTU calls on the Australian Government to release the TPP text for parliamentary debate and public scrutiny or withdraw Australia from the secret TPP negotiations.

One of the foundation stones of any healthy democracy is the right to participate in the democratic process and to be clearly informed about the choices our Government intends to make on our behalf. We cannot in good faith stand by and allow these negotiations to proceed in secret, with 600 US corporations assisting in drafting the TPP text, that potentially has far reaching impact on people’s lives and the environment, while our elected representatives and key community stakeholders are locked out of the process.

The lack of transparency of the TPP negotiations has in fact led to our elected representatives and the public only knowing details of a few selected chapters because of leaks to the publishing organization WikiLeaks and other public interest media sites.

The most recent leak of the Investment Chapter confirms some of our worst fears about the corporate influence over the agreement. The chapter includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions which enable foreign investors to sue governments for damages resulting from domestic legislation which they claim will harm their investment. ISDS will enable foreign corporations to avoid our legal system, hold unreasonable sway over our legislative process and effectively hold our public policy formation to ransom through the empowerment of multinational corporations to sue our governments.

Current ISDS cases show that it can potentially impact our fundamental human rights and national sovereignty, and threaten our access to affordable medicines, regulations on environmental protections, food safety standards, workers’ rights, jobs, digital rights, cultural rights and Indigenous rights.

As representatives of union members and the broader community, we call on the Australian Government to act in a transparent and democratic way and in the best interests of the people rather than corporations. We believe we need trade policy that engages and works with unions and community groups to uphold human rights, workers’ rights and protects the environment. Australia needs a democratic and transparent process for negotiating and signing trade agreements. Trade Agreements need to be released for public and parliamentary debate before they are signed, and that Parliament should vote on the whole text of the agreement, not just the implementing legislation.

Will you stand with our Unions and Communities?

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