Lowlights of the Agreement
Dispute Resolution - ISDS. If you are not up on the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) - Central to the TPP is the concept that Corporations now have the same amount of sovereignty, the same rights as Countries. This means that we as a sovereign nation can not pass legislation that costs a multinational sales or profit. If we do then we have to pay the Multinational a fine covering that loss and a penalty every year it continues. For ever.
Any dispute over something like country-of-origin labelling or banning a cancer-causing weedkiller will be referred to the Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS). This is actually a Court run by the Multinationals. There are no Judges, decisions are made by the Multinational's own staff acting as rotating Judges. Yes you read that correctly - the Multinationals rule on themselves. The ISDS Court is free to impose any fine, require any compliance that it likes.
We can leave the agreement. A last minute inclusion allows us to leave the agreement with 12 months notice. All outstanding ISDS claims however continue and can be enforced, so the damage will be done very early.
The document is a "living agreement". That means as the ISDS Court rules on cases it actually creates a precedent that forms part of the agreement after that. This means even if our negotiators think to write in a clause to protect this or that, in 10 years or 20 years time the world will be a completely different place. New technology, new situations will arise that will immediately fall under the ISDS Court's power. So our protections will degrade over time.
Just as bad, the agreement can be amended by unanimous vote of the parties, with no further reference to Parliament. We cannot change our vote once made. The temptation on our Trade Minister to profit from this in the years ahead is unacceptable.
The other part of "living agreement" is that any Multinational or local company can join the TPP at any time. So over time we come under more and more control from more and more companies. Other Countries are also free to join, and China is a hot tip to do that. Now even if you consider the TPP will give us more jobs in the short term as we get an advantage over other Countries, it will not in the long run. Those Countries will simply sign up and get their jobs back. In the end all we will do is give away fair wages, free education & health care, sovereign borders, planning authority and personal liberty while gaining not one thing in return.
Multinationals will have massive power, higher profits from lower labour, planning and compliance costs and all that profit goes into the pockets of the same people who have been filling their pockets at our expense for 30 years.