Popular opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement growing in Australia

The Dirtiest Deal

At the same time as the EU and the USA are negotiating a free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which critics condemn as a licence to transnational corporations to plunder nature and people, opposition is growing in Australia to a similar pact,  the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTP). The Internet campaigning platform, GetUp!, calls it “the dirtiest deal you've never heard of” by which “big corporations are attempting to stage their biggest power grab yet”. In a callout to its more than 900,000 members GetUp! argues that the TPP “will give multinational corporations the power to sue our government for decisions they claim impact their investments in Australia”.


GetUp! runs a highly informative video (viewable by clicking here) which shows the dangers ordinary people will face if the TPP is implemented in any of the 12 countries negotiating it, and presumably in the EU as well if it signs on to TTIP.


Sound too scary to be true? The video shows how it's already happening. 


“If Australia signs on to the TPP, we could see increased medicine prices, a drop in food safety standards, and foreign corporations given the right to sue our government... and that's only what we've seen from the leaked chapters of this secret document,” GetUp! writes.


“Right now, world leaders are caving into corporate pressure, working desperately to seal the deal on the TPP. And here's the kicker: rumour has it they're trying to reach an agreement as soon as this month – before the public has the chance to see the text, let alone a say in whether it's signed.


“We need to slam on the brakes, and stop Australia from signing away our sovereignty. It all hinges on getting the message out widely – first, making sure all Australians know about the secret deal being signed in our name, but against our interests.


“Then, we need to make our message unavoidable for everyday Australians and politicians alike – with a strategic advertising plan, targeted street-level events and powerful displays of public opposition to the TPP.”


Sounds like there are plenty of good ideas opponents in Europe to the TTIP could pick up from the GetUp! strategy to kickstart a campaign to get the message out to voters all over Australia.


“It's important we move quickly. World leaders are giving in to the demands of big business, and scrambling to avoid public outcry and have this deal signed quickly, before the public has a chance to see the text of the deal.


“This is no way to do democracy. We need to urge Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make decisions in the public interest, and in the public eye – not behind closed doors and in the interests of big foreign business.


Adding to the international pressure on the Australian government, in the US a bill to 'fast-track' the TPP looks more and more likely to pass, GetUp! notes.


“If that happens, the largest hurdle the deal currently faces will crumble, and the Obama administration will begin pushing even harder to get the deal signed before the Presidential race begins.


“It's no small task to convince our politicians to stand up against huge international pressure from the US and big business. To do it, we'll need a turbo-charged, strategic, grassroots campaign that builds pressure where it's most important – the electorates of key MPs who hold decision-making power.


“Then, we can make sure our message is public, fierce and on full display: by placing far-reaching, strategic ads where they will be most effective, and running community organising events where they're most needed to stop this deal in its tracks.”


Suggestions GetUp! is making to its activists:

  • Upping the ante in Minister Robb's electorate, with local events and a huge billboard message he can't miss
  • Booking out local halls – to bring together people concerned about the TPP, to learn more and organise local actions targeting their Member of Parliament
  • Running targeted advertisements – online, on radio and even in local newspapers, where we'll get the best bang for our bucks
  • Printing posters and postcards – to flood the streets and electorates of key decision-making MPs
  • Helping to fund collaboration with most strategic efforts to stop the deal overseas – in countries where the movements against the TPP are having great success
  • If we raise enough, we could even organise a mass public event – to show our politicians that Australians reject closed-door democracy, and we're willing to take our frustration to the streets


“If signed and passed into law, the TPP will affect every Australian – yet we haven't been invited to the negotiating table. It's high time we show up anyway,” the GetUp! callout says.


More references:


Congress: Don't betray democracy! No "Fast Track" for the TPP!

Trans-Pacific Partnership talks stir bipartisan opposition by US lawmakers

Doctors worldwide blast TPP's 'chilling effect' on health, climate protections

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Gabriel schlägt für TTIP Handelsgerichtshof statt Schiedsstellen vor

Samstag, 02.05.2015, 14:34        


Hauptkritikpunkt am Freihandelsabkommen mit den USA sind private Schiedsstellen, vor die Konzerne künftig ziehen können sollen. Wirtschaftsminister Sigmar Gabriel legt jetzt einen Kompromissvorschlag vor: Für Streitigkeiten solle ein US-europäisches Handelsgericht eingerichtet werden.