The Greens has called on the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to halt negotiations of the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA).
The TPP is a proposed agreement between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam which aims to open up trade between member countries.
Japan joined the negotiating table for the agreement in April this year.
The Greens said it will move for a joint standing treaties committee to review the TPPA when parliament resumes.
“Most Australians would be horrified if they knew what Tony Abbott might be about to sign away: Australia’s health, environmental and consumer protection laws are on the chopping block,” Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said in a statement.
“The transnational tobacco, pharmaceutical and media corporations want to grant themselves the power to sue governments for passing laws they don’t like. Draft copies of the secret trade agreement have been provided to corporate lobbyists but not ordinary citizens.”
Ludlam has been a strong opponent of the secrecy of the TPP, previously stating Australian copyright laws and civil liberty are at risk.
Previous attempts by the Greens to force the federal government to provide transparency around the TPPA have not been successful, with the Senate previously quashing the motion to reveal the text after the Labor and Liberal parties voted against it.
“We understand there are still significant areas of disagreement between governments on the TPP, but that it could be signed as early as the first week of December,” Ludlam said.
“Making a statement setting out the costs and benefits of such a dangerous treaty instrument is the very least the government should do. In the meantime the Greens will work to force disclosure of what this secretive government is actually up to.”
Matthew Rimmer, associate professor at the Australian National University College of Law, said Australia should not rush into an international agreement at “any cost” and has called for the text of the agreement to be revealed.
“The trade negotiations should be transparent. Australian citizens should have the right to know the contents of a trade agreement that will affect their lives in a myriad of ways,” he said.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate Trojan Horse ... The Trans Pacific Partnership would undermine human rights and Internet freedoms and disrupt the digital economy.”