Sovereignty Gone: Abbott To Sign Highly Secretive TPP Agreement This Month

9 Oct

Just as I warned here and here, Tony Abbott’s election night victory speech “Open for business” really means “the path to serfdom”.

What is becoming clearer by the day, is that many decades of Australian governments (both “sides”) financing our profligate living habits (ie, trade deficits) by selling off Australia’s national assets, is now reaching a more sinister denouement.

The Abbott government intends to formally sell out our national sovereignty.

Just as international corporatism (money-lending, in particular) has long desired, and planned for.

Imagine a future where the Australian national government is little more than a figurehead. One that can no longer protect you and your children from the predatory aspirations of greedy, profit-and-power-mad international bankers, and the big multinational corporations they finance.

In plain language, that is what the TPP really means.

Cross-posted from Independent Australia:

The Abbott Coalition looks set to sign off on the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership later this month, but what will it mean for ordinary Australians? Dr Matthew Mitchell reports.

Initial nations involved in the TPP; it may include more later.

Initial nations involved in the TPP; it may include more later.

WHAT SORT of “Trade Agreement” manages to both criminalise internet use and force coal seam fracking onto communities?

The answer to this is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pact that has the ominous potential to achieve both these corporate objectives — and many more.

Of course, we cannot know the exact effects of the TPP, as the negotiations over the past few years have been held in secret.  However, two leaked chapters – out of the 26 or more under negotiation – have caused more than their fair share of concern.

One of these chapters threatens to undermine both our existing domestic and international legal systems, throwing away the protections and rights achieved over hundreds of years.

How? Through tribunals linked to a system of International Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). The one in the TPP led to an open letter signed by prominent Australian judges, lawyers, politicians and academics insisting that the government should not sign an agreement that includes ISDS. The letter states:

‘…the increasing use of this mechanism to skirt domestic court systems and the structural problems inherent in the arbitral regime are corrosive of the rule of law and fairness.’

But ISDS is most definitely included in the proposed TPP put forward by United States negotiators.

The Gillard government made it clear that Australia would not sign another trade agreement that included international dispute settlement by tribunals. This followed Australians being burnt by an agreement that has allowed Phillip-Morris to take Australia to an international tribunal over its plain packaging laws, even though our own High Court already decided against Phillip-Morris.

Other countries are experiencing equally serious consequences.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is being used by gas and oil company Lone Pine Resources to sue Canada over Quebec’s moratorium on fracking. A trade agreement was also used to sue Ecuador for USD $1.77 billion.

The Coalition’s trade policy document indicates that Abbott’s government will sign the TPP with acceptance of ISDSs because the Coalition is

‘…open to utilising investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses as part of Australia’s negotiating position.’

Not only that, but it says it will

‘…fast track the conclusion of free trade agreements.’  

Tom J. Donohue, CEO and President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC that the TPP deal will be completed in a month.

Added to the threat of ISDSs are many other concerns, including those raised by the leaked chapters.

For instance, based on the leaked IP chapter, Aaron Bailey of OpenMedia.ca is concerned about the new powers that may be given to massive international media organisations [IA emphasis]:

The TPP seeks, among other things, to rewrite the global rules on intellectual property enforcement that would give Big Media new powers to lock users out of our own content and services, provide new liabilities that might force ISPs to police our online activity, and give giant media companies even greater powers to shut down websites and remove content at will. It also encourages ISPs to block accused infringers’ Internet access, and could force ISPs to hand over our private information to big media conglomerates without appropriate privacy safeguards. You can see a more complete list of new restrictions below, but it appears that the TPP would turn all Internet users into suspected copyright criminals. In fact it appears to criminalize content sharing in general.

A statement by a U.S. trade representative at the recent ASEAN meeting in Brunei said that the TPP Ministerial Meeting held at the APEC meeting in Bali in early October would be a “milestone” and that the aim was to finish the TPP agreement “by the end of the year“.

President Obama is scheduled to address the APEC leaders, including Tony Abbott, on October 7.

Before Prime Minister Abbott signs this agreement, Australians deserve to know what rights we may be signing away.

Upcoming Information sessions on the TPP:

  • Melbourne, Oct 15. Hosted by Swinburne University. See here for details.
  • Sydney October, 22. Hosted by AFTINET.  12-2pm Macquarie Room, NSW Parliament, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney. RSVP by Oct 21: campaign@aftinet.org.au

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16 Responses to “Sovereignty Gone: Abbott To Sign Highly Secretive TPP Agreement This Month”

  1. Kevin Moore October 9, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    It seems to me that Tony Abbott is simply putting a signature on the work of Kevin Rudd.
    .
    http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=171271.0;wap2
    .
    Rudd pushes Asia Pacific Body – IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies, Shangri-La dialogue
    .
    quotes –
    .
    “And that is a single pan-regional body that brings together the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan and the other countries of the region with a broad agenda to deal with the political, economic and security challenges of the future. Our ambition remains to create an Asia Pacific community by 2020” – 20th November, 2008 – Canberra, Australian Capital Territory – PM Kevin Rudd.
    .
    “It’s time to build an Asia Pacific Community” – Prime Minister Rudd, 4th June, 2008 – Sydney
    .
    “It’s not about political union or creating an Asian parliament or monetary union. But it certainly would envisage an Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, as well as any other agreed steps towards greater economic integration in the region, which could in some measure build on APEC.” – Richard Wolcott AC – Founding Director of The Asia Society AustralAsia Centre – 13th June, 2008
    .
    “Regional blocs are the way of the future.” – China specialist Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald – 22nd June, 2008
    .
    “We in the Australian government have set ourselves ambitious goals in global affairs, in development of an Asia-Pacific community, in ways to address the challenge of climate change, in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.” – Deputy Prime Minister Juilia Gillard – 25th June, 2008
    .
    “This is, after all, an era of integration. Regional integration is taking place all over the world.” – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon – 28th June, 2008
    .

  2. Farmer Ted. October 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    “and force coal seam fracking onto communities?”

    With all the hullabaloo about coal seam gas, at law landowners don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Economic argument also leaves landowners out of the running.

    However there are other reasons why the rush to coal seam gas must be called to order. And with it also mining in general, especially coal mining.

    There should be a full inquiry into coal mining in particular, and mining methods and the consequences.

    Historically mining has “picked the eyes out of” the resources. It was observed when during the gold rush days Chinese miners who were prepared to work more thoroughly could find gold in the heaps discarded by the rushers. And it continues in even more spectacular fashion today as longwall mining systems pick the best coal out of a seam and leave other coal to be buried in a fashion that makes it impossible to ever recover that coal except by open cut mining.

    We can be sure that this will continue unabated with CSG, as miners will extract the most profitable gas, leaving behind gas which would have been economically recoverable at a future price, but not so when the eyes have already been picked out of the resource.

    Regulators should be ensuring that these things stop happening. Future generations may very well curse us for the way we squandered these resources.

  3. Ross Johnson October 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    We all have to get our acts together. There are so many new parties starting up with no one to co-ordinate what is really important. The Citizens Electoral Council have it right on banking but have no idea of marketing their ideas to appeal to the masses. Senator John Madigan has some good ideas by shies away from taking on the banks. Senator Anne Bressington knows all about Agenda 21.

    In the USA according to Karen Hudes, 22 states are considering beginning their own state Govt Banks like the Bank Of North Dakota

    Perhaps Clive Palmer is a good beginning to get all these dissatisfied groups together. Many do not realise what the fundamental problems are.

    • dusty October 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Any views on Australia First?

      http://australiafirstparty.net/aristocratic-labor-party-distinguishes-itself-from-ordinary-workers/

      “Australian Unionism in the true apolitical sense exists to uphold the decency of the Australia workplace and its workers.

      Defend Unionism

      But corporate-geared LibLabs since Keating have steadily corroded the ability of democratic unionism to uphold Australian workplace decency.”

      • Kevin Moore October 17, 2013 at 10:44 am #

        On reading the Australia First article George Orwell’s “animal Farm” came immediately to mind.
        .
        “Aristocratic Labor Party distinguishes itself from ordinary workers”
        .
        Under Labor teachings, each Labor MP’s vote is worth about 350 rank-and-file votes. This is Labor pure aristocratic put down of its own rank and file. Labor MPs think they have 350 times the rights of ordinary Labor members. Since when did the working class faithful of Labor grant their representatives aristocratic delusions of elitism above their own? Everyone’s shit stinks.
        .
        This says it all about Labor’s self-interest over universal suffrage. One man one vote does not resonate with the Australian Labor Party, so which casts it as an irrelevance to Australian society.
        .
        This paragraph from chapter 10 of Orwells “Animal Farm” is a good summary of the corporate governance suffered today.
        .
        “…………..Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. It was not that these creatures did not work, after their fashion. There was, as Squealer was never tired of explaining, endless work in the supervision and organisation of the farm. Much of this work was of a kind that the other animals were too ignorant to understand. For example, Squealer told them that the pigs had to expend enormous labours every day upon mysterious things called “files,” “reports,” “minutes,” and “memoranda.” These were large sheets of paper which had to be closely covered with writing, and as soon as they were so covered, they were burnt in the furnace. This was of the highest importance for the welfare of the farm, Squealer said. But still, neither pigs nor dogs produced any food by their own labour; and there were very many of them, and their appetites were always good……………….”
        .
        The General Epistle of Barnabus chapter 9 “………wherefore it is not the command of God that they should not eat these things; but Moses in the Spirit spake unto them, …….neither says he, shalt thou eat the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the crow; that is thou shalt not keep company with such kind of men as know not how by their labour and sweat to get themselves food; but injuriously ravish away the things of others; and watch how to lay snares for them; when at the same time they appear to live in perfect innocence………so these birds alone seek not food for themselves, but sitting idle seek how they may eat of the flesh others have provided; being destructive through their wickedness……..”

    • Anenome Ofglobalgov November 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      The people are lazy. They have been raised in a nanny state. When you try and inform them you get a ‘glazed’ look like there’s nobody home, brain dead except to what they are being fed, 1984 is here. Nor do they care to research anything. Its ‘I believe this not that’ mentality. And you know the mainstream media is giving them what to believe. Why BELIEVE anthing, why not KNOW? For that you have to activate your brain and exert yourself. The Tavistock Institute of mass brainwashing has done a good job. (Dr John Coleman’s book “The Tavistock Institute”, also his book “The Committee of 300”), create and fund ‘women’s lib’ to receive the other 50% of taxable humanity and at the same time the children are groomed by the state towards decimating the family unit. (Communism abhors family and wants allegiance to the State instead). Give the men ‘sports’ and the women ‘fashion’ and soapies to dumb them down and to divert their attention while we proceed to take away all their individual rights….. They are also cowards. Ann Bressington is the only MP to speak out. Let’s pay her salary and none of the other party sicophants. Gough Whitlam was the last politician to stand up to the transnational banksters. Since then we have nothing but betrayal.

    • Anenome Ofglobalgov November 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      Good comments and I agree about Clive Palmer. The CEC are focussing on group leaders of any type eg mayors etc which would be an excellent strategy if they had heard of the term ‘bail-in’, never mind ‘Cyprus bail-in’. The lack of education is a huge problem thanks to total press censureship in mainstream media including ABC. Then, once informed, most ‘community leaders’ don’t want to stick their necks out. It is cowardice and ignorance where the Citizens Electoral Council have their work cut out. The 2 party system is so entrenched in the minds of the ‘Cattle’ as the Globalists call We, the People. They cannot compute that Libs and Labour are but TWO CHEEKS ON THE SAME BUM. The ‘great culling of the useless eaters’ began with the swine flu vaccine that was to be a compulsory vaccine – luckily the effects were so bad and so swift that they could not get away with it. Watch your food – GMO’s, vaccines, fluoride, smart meter microwave radiation, wi fi radiation, mobile phone radiation, mobile towers radiation. Grow your own and live simply. Pay off your debts asap and don’t trust your money sitting in banks. Get a second passport just in case – Joel Skousen (Strategic Location) is concerned there is a preplanned 3rd world war in about 8 yrs with China and Russia, as is Lyndon LaRouche (great statesman).

  4. Tel October 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Just when you thought you couldn’t trust the unions, you discover you can’t trust the other guys either. Eternal vigilance I guess it is.

  5. Kevin Moore October 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    http://isreview.org/issues/32/crisis_theory.shtml
    .
    “………..Marx argued in Capital over a century ago that –
    .
    within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labor are brought about at the cost of the individual laborer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the laborer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hated toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labor process…they distort the conditions under which he works, subject him during the labor process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness…. It follows…that in proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the laborer, be his payment [wage] high or low, must grow worse…. [T]his law rivets the laborer to capital more firmly than the wedges of Vulcan did Prometheus to the rock. It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole.
    .
    For Marx and Engels the only solution was democratic economic planning–socialism:
    .
    If the producers as such knew how much the consumers required, if they were to organize production, if they were to share it out amongst themselves, then the fluctuations of competition and its tendency to crisis would be impossible. Carry on production consciously as human beings–not as dispersed atoms without consciousness of your species–and you have overcome all these artificial and untenable antitheses. But as long as you continue to produce in the present unconscious, thoughtless manner, at the mercy of chance…crises will remain; and each successive crisis is bound to become more universal and therefore worse than the preceding one; is bound to impoverish a larger body of small capitalists, and to augment…the numbers of the class who live by labor alone…………..”

    • dusty October 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Kevin:

      “For Marx and Engels the only solution was democratic economic planning–socialism:
      .
      If the producers as such knew how much the consumers required, if they were to organize production, if they were to share it out amongst themselves, then the fluctuations of competition and its tendency to crisis would be impossible. Carry on production consciously as human beings–not as dispersed atoms without consciousness of your species–and you have overcome all these artificial and untenable antitheses. But as long as you continue to produce in the present unconscious, thoughtless manner, at the mercy of CHANCE…crises will remain”

      Except it isn’t CHANCE. What we have today is the unfolding of the – earlier – Pacific Rim Strategy of the Rockefeller Foundation, introduced by their Australian vectors, initially the Whitlam ALP in 1973, but after them all subsequent Australian governments, particularly Hawke-Keating. The idea was that Australia would be a pastoral run, a farm and a mine and that the cheap labour nations would be suppliers of manufactured goods or anything else that could be made more cheaply there. In order that the active capital that remained in Australia would return the (Marxian) Average Rate of Profit (to be determined Globally) Third World immigration – and plenty of it – designed – through the market mechanism – to keep wages down, and later to drive them down further – was an essential part of the inevitable process.

      Reworking an earlier poster on this superb site (why did it take me so long to find you!), I post this “correction”:

      Trade imbalance arising from the imposition of the Plan of the Banks and their Transnational Corporations, is a major problem for Australia. Falling into line with the Plan began in 1973 under the newly elected Whitlam ALP government which instituted a 25% ad valorem cut in tariffs across all imports, thereby falling in with the Neo-Liberal Pacific Rim Strategy of the Rockefeller Foundation, a front organisation of the Rothschilds.

      At the same time, cheap labour manufacturing platforms (“Tariff-Free Zones”) were being set up in Third World nations in the periphery of China as the quote below from a volume on my shelves indicates. It documents an important piece of economic history regarding the genesis of Globalisation, the nascent form of the planning of the World Economy by the Banks and their Transnational Corporations, so beloved of the Far Left Neo-Liberals.The emphasis on Japan in the light of subsequent history is uncalled for:

      Halliday and McCormack JAPANESE IMPERIALISM TODAY 1973 pp.72-
      TARIFF-FREE ZONES
      “As an urgent measure to attempt to deal with the problems of chronic balance of payments deficits, inflation and mass urban unemployment – with the peasantry being driven into overcrowded cities either by bombing or by deliberate policies undertaken to foster consumer-urbanization – many Asian countries have, in recent years, set up what are known as ‘ tax-free zones’. Recent reductions in official, largely U.S., government aid, and in ‘special procurement’ orders, have also accentuated the need to attract private foreign investment on the best of possible terms. While the unrestricted opening of East and South-East Asian countries to foreign investment might be the most attractive business proposition, some concession to nationalist sentiment and desire to protect and foster the growth of indigenous industry on the part of the ‘developing’ countries has operated in the devising of the system by which a special area is marked off from the domestic market within which export goods are to be manufactured or assembled. The exported goods can thus enjoy the benefits of preferential tariffs applied to the manufactured or semimanufactured goods of the ‘developing’ by the ‘developed’ countries. The foreign capital investor benefits three ways: from the cheap and plentiful labour supply that is available; from tax exemption in the country where he establishes his enterprise; and from further tax privileges in the country to which the finished goods are exported. He can almost certainly count on the host country restraining any form of industrial or political activity on the part of his work force, and he will have little or no labour legislation to bother about. His advantages greatly outweigh those accruing to the host country as a whole (as distinct from the ruling comprador elite): advanced industrialization, technical experience for the work force, and expanded exports, the latter being largely notional since profits accrue almost entirely to the foreign investor. However, there is a further general consideration that is almost certainly operative and that is the defence one: the desire on the part of the ruling cliques in the countries concerned to involve as much foreign capital as possible in order to secure the commitment of the capitalist powers to the defence of a satisfactory and profitable status quo.

      The first of such zones was set up at Kaohsiung in Taiwan (December 1966) followed rapidly by others in Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Indonesia and Korea, while Thailand and Vietnam (the Cam Ranh Bay area) are likely to follow suit. The Keidanren Liaison Committee for Cooperation with Vietnam interim report of April 1970 was particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of such a zone in the Cam Ranh Bay area, reckoning it to be ‘ the best site for a free port in South-East Asia, considering various conditions favourable to it, such as port, electric power and labour supply source centring on workers at the local military base’.1

      A characteristic free zone scheme is the one in Korea at Masan, sixty kilometres west of Pusan, a site of 430 acres which is planned to accommodate 100 enterprises whose total export value should be $ioomill., and to specialize in precision instruments, optical instruments and electronic products.2 Of the sixteen applicants so far approved or outstanding for setting up at Masan, fourteen are Japanese. A second such zone in South Korea is being mooted. Its location would be on the west coast of the country, at the point closest to China’s Shanghai-Nanking commercial and industrial area – with the idea of it serving as a ‘logistics base’ for U.S. and other manufacturers with an eye on the future China market possibilities.3
      These zones, modern treaty ports, are likely to proliferate in the future, and increasing…investment in manufacturing industry throughout the area is an important element in this trend.”

      Of course since this embryonic form, China, freed of the remnants of Maoism, came on board and the rest is history.

      Since Australia began the de-regulation of trade in 1973 the balance of payments has been in chronic deficit, Australia spends more on foreign goods and services than it sells to foreigners. The reason is due to the fact that the terms of trade for the things we sell (minerals, agricultural commodities, etc.)is unfavourable compared with the things we buy (cars, i-phones, civil airliners, etc.)

      To balance the deficit Australia either has to get new investment from foreigners, borrow money from them or sell them national assets. The current balance of payments deficit is around $50 billion a year. This destroys economic sovereignty. One solution is to re-impose controls on imports, re-regulate the currency and apply industrial policy to recover some of the manufacturing that Australia has lost to cheap labour countries.

      AFL CIO, ACTU union bosses – suddenly discovered Globalisation, having supported all aspects of it (except token opposition of some aspects) for decades.

      The “Left” did the same from early on, criticising any fight by workers to retain of tariffs as – the hated – “Nationalism”.

      The – current – concept of “TPP” is an extension of the Pacific Rim Strategy – and is likely a pilot for a fully global scheme (possibly harder to implement on the European end).

      Workers Speak Out About the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) (English

      • Phill October 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

        Insightful post Dusty, that AFL suffers from MPD, that being IMO. Does your head in trying to work their “Third Position” ? policy agenda. As for the other E.U Socialists Aus U lot, I am still waiting for their OECD Green Jobs to materialise. No accountability for policy failure in Australia as far as I can see as the US FTA and that probably goes for most signed have been a sick joke. The TPP has serfs collar written all over it.

  6. Michael October 18, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Hi everyone, I love this post. I attended the swinburne meeting in melbourne that is mentioned above and I am in the early stages of organising a public forum about the issue. If my memory serves me right I remember hearing that quite a few judges and lawyers and professionals in the medical industry were warning the government against the ISDS. Does anyone know of any articles or who they were so that I may approach them regarding the forum.

    Thanks for your help everyone

    Regards,

    Michael

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