NO DEAL: Centre Alliance to reject TPP-11 enabling legislation

10 September 2018

"While Centre Alliance supports open and fair trade, the party will not be supporting TPP-11 enabling legislation," said Trade spokesperson Senator Rex Patrick. "The deal that has been negotiated by the Government is, on balance, bad for Australia."

Recently released modelling commissioned by Australian industry heavyweights shows that the deal would result in, at best, a 0.5% increase to GDP by 2030. This figure must be tempered by the fact that the Productivity Commission has found that predictions for growth and jobs from Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have rarely been delivered because the economic models employed exaggerate the benefits, ignores many of the costs and assume away unemployment effects.

The modelling shows Australia's grain exports would not change at all under the deal and all other agriculture could decline.

It also shows that durable manufacturing, a key sector of interest to Centre Alliance, would actually shrink under TPP-11.

"The questionable gains discussed in the modelling report in no way balance the negative aspects of the abolition of labour market testing for temporary workers and the inclusion of ISDS provisions that are an affront to our sovereignty," said Rex.

Noting the position of other crossbenchers and The Greens, Centre Alliance's decision means that the only way this flawed trade deal can enter into force is if Labor supports the Government.

"The Senate needs to draw a line in the sand. Over and over again it has expressed its concerns about these deals increasing the number of vulnerable migrant workers and allowing corporations to challenge Australia's rights to control its own public policy," said Rex.

Labor has stated in its additional comments to the Joint Standing Committee On Treaties TPP-11 report that it "will not waive labour market testing as part of any free trade agreement" and "will not agree to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in new trade agreements."

"Centre Alliance is presenting Labor with an opportunity to give effect to their own position," said Rex. "Labor should join us in sending a very strong signal that we do not enter into trade deals unless there is clear benefit, strong labour market testing and all ISDS provisions have been removed"

"We're not trying to kill the deal in its entirety, we're just trying to cut the cancer out of it."

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