Pirate Party Australia is disappointed that Canada and Mexico will formally join negotiations for the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) this week.
The Pirate Party has been very critical of the Agreement, particularly as there has been minimal engagement with the public – both in Australia and in the other negotiating nations – and only two draft chapters have been leaked.
“From these leaks, it is evident that at least some TPP negotiators are pushing for provisions that go beyond the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that was rejected by the European Union earlier this year, and which is yet to be ratified in Australia,” said David W. Campbell, President of Pirate Party Australia. “While the Pirate Party movement internationally has been one of the key opponents to ACTA due to its overreaching copyright and patent enforcement provisions, what is worrying about the TPP is that it is being conducted in near absolute secrecy making it difficult for concerned groups to offer criticism. When drafting international agreements, the citizens of those nations involved have a right to consultation, which must include access to draft texts.”
“We are disappointed that Canada and Mexico will enter the negotiations for an agreement that was kept secret from even the US Congress, and which has attracted enormous criticism from various international academics and activist groups.”
The Pirate Party maintains that agreements prepared in secret contradict the very essence of democracy by restricting access to closed groups of negotiators. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, if ratified, will become law in participating nations. As with the recent Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), the final text of this Agreement will probably not be made available until after it is signed by Australia.
“Every Australian must ask why they are not being consulted. What is so special about this agreement that it must be negotiated so secretively?” questioned Mr. Campbell. “It is unacceptable that we are not permitted to make comment on the actual text of international agreements until after they are finalised. Vague answers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are simply not good enough. Agreements which will affect the lives of Australians and have the potential to impact local businesses need to be negotiated with maximum engagement of Australia citizens.”
Pirate Party Australia attended TPP consultations in Sydney and Canberra, and presented to stakeholders in Melbourne. The California Pirate Party presented a speech with assistance from Pirate Party Australia in San Diego, and representatives of both the Australian and New Zealand Pirate Parties plan to attend the upcoming negotiating round in Auckland.