The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade returns to secrecy over the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.
By Carol-Ann Edwards
Contributing writer for Real News Australia.
Four days ago DFAT announced a public information session much to the amazement of those who are closely following the TPP. However, as of Wednesday October 30, DFAT has quietly withdrawn its announcement for a TPP public information session. The session will go ahead but without the public, including journalists and lawyers seeking information on our behalf.
“Pirate Party Australia has received confirmation that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has rescinded confirmations of attendance for journalists to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement briefing to be held in Sydney at 4pm on 30 October, stating that the meeting is “off-the-record”, and that journalists are not welcome.”
The Secrecy Continues
For more than 6 years the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have been held in secret. Only 600 corporate lobbyists and a few bureaucrats from 12 countries are allowed to know the details – even members of the Australian Parliament and American Congress are excluded. Only through a few leaked chapters has the public has learnt about the TPP.
Lawyers and advocacy groups, after reviewing the leaked chapters, call the TPP “a corporate coup d’etat.” It will put mega-corporations above national laws and national interests in almost every aspect of our lives including: internet, food standards, health and pharmaceuticals, natural resources, energy, land use, patent and copy right, financial regulations and government procurement.
The secrecy is necessary to block public debate until the deal is signed and locked in. Unfortunately Tony Abbott wants the TPP to go ahead and is no rush to allow open and informed debate in Australia.