In a decisive victory for democracy and civil liberties, the Committee on International Trade has recommended that the European Parliament reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Pirate Party Australia welcomes this victory against opaque, anachronistic and exclusionary policy.
Although Australia has already signed the agreement, the text is currently under consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. The Pirate Party has said on many occasions that the agreement must be rejected, and that Australia still has the opportunity to withdraw from the agreement. Australia’s withdrawal would pave the way for industry-specific approaches and reforms, rather than the blanket ‘solution’ provided by ACTA.
“The rejection of ACTA by four consecutive committees — including the Committee on International Trade — is damning of the text, process and intent of this agreement. It raises larger questions about the process of treaty making in Australia. It is imperative that we move toward greater transparency in such processes. Texts, drafts and negotiations must be made public. Civil society must be included from the very beginning of any initiative,” said Brendan Molloy, Party Secretary.
“Similar issues plague the current Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. We continue to see limited justification, economic or otherwise, for the inclusion of intellectual property provisions within the agreement. Secrecy shrouds the agreement and moves by DFAT to include civil society in the negotiation process have been hollow,” he continued.
Opposition to ACTA was reinvigorated as mass demonstrations were held in Poland against the undemocratic and poorly drafted agreement. The momentum and opposition to such agreements provides hope for a positive culture and innovation reform agenda rising from the ashes of ACTA.
“It is only fitting that July 4, ‘Independence Day’ is slated for the final vote on ACTA in the European Parliament. Perhaps finally we will see a shift to a deeper and more considered public discourse on culture and innovation,” concluded Mr. Molloy.
Pirate Party Australia implores the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) to recommend that the Australian government reject ACTA in the strongest possible terms.