Malcolm Turnbull has spent this week vigorously talking up the embattled Trans-Pacific Partnership, a highly secretive global trade agreement designed to enrich the wealthy by exploiting the working classes and the poor.
The TPP has faced incredible opposition from workers, unions, lawyers, environmentalists, artists and people from all walks of life worldwide who are concerned about the growing power of big business.
Negotiated entirely in secret, the only people who are aware of what the agreement really contains are the politicians who support it – and the billion-dollar corporations who were brought in to offer their expert feedback. Regular citizens whose lives will be impacted by the deal will never get the chance to read it.
‘Jobs and Growth’
United States President-elect Donald Trump has indicated he will scrap the deal once he takes office, which means it could not go ahead. So why is Turnbull rushing so hard to get this deal signed into law?
The answer is, as always, because Malcolm Turnbull is a friend to big business – and an enemy to working class Australians.
Global inequality is already at a staggering high, with new figures coming out this week showing that a group of eight (yes, eight) billionaires own as much wealth as half of the world combined. If the TPP goes ahead, economists at Tufts University in Massachusetts predict that inequality will actually increase, widening the gap between rich and poor.
In Australia alone, some 40,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the TPP – and that’s a conservative estimate. The TPP removes all requirements for local labour market testing, allowing companies to bring in unlimited numbers of 457 visa workers who they can then exploit and underpay. This will result in massive job losses for local Australians.
Secret deals, secret courts
Still not convinced? The TPP also gives massive corporations the power to sue governments in special ‘corporate courts’. These secret courts, called ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlements’ or ‘ISDS’, are not open to the public. Here, expensive lawyers play judge and jury, forcing governments to fork over millions or billions of dollars to corporations or to overturn laws that the company doesn’t like.
Look no further than Egypt, where French waste management company Veolia is suing the government for the money it lost when Egypt raised the minimum wage. Yes, really – when workers wages went up, the company used the special ISDS powers in a trade agreement to take the Egyptian government to their secret corporate court.
US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly used these same ISDS powers to sue the Canadian government for making medicine more affordable. They demanded $130 million in compensation from Canada, took them to these secret corporate courts – and they won. Canada had to fork over the money, all because a massive corporation didn’t like the idea of more affordable healthcare.
What kind of future do YOU want for Australia?
It’s easy to imagine exactly the same kind of thing happening here in Australia. There’s a good reason workers and unions everywhere are outraged at the TPP, and it’s not just because of the 40,000 job losses it will cause.
This is exactly the kind of nightmare future that the TPP will create, and the Turnbull Liberal Government can’t wait to make it happen. It’s all part of their ongoing attack on the poor and the working classes of Australia – while letting their friends in big business get away with dodging literally billions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
All workers around Australia should be horrified at what the TPP represents. The only way to fight back against this constant attack on our way of life and our future is to work together – to stand in solidarity with workers like you and to speak with one voice.
Tell your friends about the dangers of the TPP and what Turnbull is planning, before it’s too late.