What you don’t know will hurt you
8:48 PM (12 hours ago)
We’re running out of time.
Right now government officials from around the world are meeting in Hawai’i, in what could be the last round of negotiations of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
The leaked sections we’ve seen already have millions of citizens around the world worried, and the vast majority of it is still secret; not just to the public, but even to our own Parliamentarians. How’s this for starters: if Australia signs up for the TPP, it will give foreign corporations the power to sue the Australian Government for decisions they claim might impact their future investments in Australia.
We’ve already seen the dangerous implications of these powers play out right here in Australia. Similar provisions in an Australian-Hong Kong treaty are being used by US global cigarette and tobacco company, Phillip Morris, to sue the Australian Government over the introduction of plain-packaging laws. Imagine this sort of multinational interference scaled up involving 12 countries, instead of one?
Forces all around the world are banding together to stop this deal from going ahead. Watch the video that explains why this deal will be bad for all Australians, then sign the petition to sound the alarm:
If foreign corporations are given the power to sue national governments when changes to domestic laws affect their profit margins, it will inevitably restrict our government’s ability to make laws to protect our environment and our health. What’s worse, these lawsuits would be played out in secret international courts, which only corporations have access to, with no rights of appeal.
It’s hard to believe this could happen in Australia, but there are already cases around the world of companies using what’s known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions to sue governments:
- A foreign-owned energy company filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Canadian government, when Quebec placed a ban on dangerous fracking processes in a local river.
- In El Salvador, a Canadian company is suing the government for $315 million in “loss of future profits” because local citizens won a hard-fought campaign against a gold mine that threatened to contaminate their water supplies.
- An international utilities company sued the Argentinian Government, for imposing a freeze on water and energy bills during the global financial crisis.
- And in Canada, US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is suing the government for $500 million in compensation, because the courts revoked two of the company’s patents citing lack of evidence around the drugs’ supposed benefits.
Do we want to live in a country where foreign-owned companies have the right to sue our government for introducing laws to protect our farms, land, water or even our health?
Worryingly, Trade Minister Andrew Robb has indicated that a deal is close and he’s eager to sign Australia up, which is why we need to act quickly. As a testament to just how urgent our voices are needed and how hard the government has tried to keep this deal hush hush, here in Australia, a poll last year found that only one in ten voters had even heard about the TPP.1
If this deal goes ahead, all of us stand to lose – so it’s time we spoke up. We need as many Australians as possible to hear about the dangers of the TPP.
Can you watch and share the video, which explains why this deal will be so dangerous? Click here: http://www.getup.org.au/tpp-hawaii
The deal is still being negotiated, but right now negotiators are meetings in Hawai’i in what could be the last of these meetings – so we need to act fast. The fight to stop the TPP is a huge, coordinated, international resistance and the more people who join the fight, the better our chances will be.
Can you help sound the alarm, before it’s too late?
Erin, Kelsey, Alycia, Leah, Sally and the GetUp team
PS. An opportunity to directly target the negotiators during what could potentially be the last time they all meet has come up. A small team of creatives worked overnight to create an ad to run in Hawai’i’s largest newspaper, just in time for this gathering. Already, more than 1400 GetUp members have chipped in to raise the funds to run this ad. We’re exactly halfway to our target, and need to raise $21,000 before the paper’s deadline tomorrow. Click here to see the ad, and help get us over the line: http://www.getup.org.au/tpp-hawaii
~ References ~
 Trans-Pacific Partnership is a big deal, but hardly anyone knows, SMH, 17 February 2014_