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Public meeting strongly denounces Trans Pacific Partnership

Alice M.

The exposure of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a tool of US government and its biggest multinational corporations and banks to increase the exploitation of people and plunder of the environment outrages people around the world.

The TPP exposes not only the sham of capitalist democracy, but the naked dictatorship of US imperialism over the national sovereignty of countries in enforcing its economic domination.

A public forum held on 21 April in the Lower Melbourne Town Hall, and attended by over 180 people, called on Australia’s politicians not to ratify and implement the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact being driven by US imperialism.

Broad opposition and concern
The public forum was endorsed by 24 unions and community organisations, including the Victorian Trades Hall Council, ETU, ASU, MEEA, MUA, CFMEU, CWU, Public Transport Unions, Environment Victoria, Citizens for Liveable Melbourne, Spirit of Eureka, Friends of the Earth, Unitarian Church, Migrante Australia, and many others.

The meeting was called by the TPP Unions and Community Roundtable Coalition (Vic), an alliance of unions and community organisations formed in early 2015 to oppose the outrageous sell-out of people and the environment to multinational corporations.   

The meeting was chaired by retiring Victorian Federal Labor politician Kelvin Thomson who has been a strong and outspoken critic of the TPP and free trade agreements.

Professor Jane Kelsey from New Zealand, an academic and TPP activist, spoke passionately and described the formation and growth of the very successful and broad people’s movement “It’s Our Future”, in her country.

Dr. Deborah Gleeson from the Public Health Association of Australia spoke of the impact the TPP will have on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and people’s access to affordable medicines and public health.

Samantha Castro from Friends of the Earth spoke on the devastation to the environment that the TPP will allow. 

Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU spoke of new attacks on people’s livelihoods under the TPP. 

Shirley Winton from Spirit of Eureka and member of the TPP Unions and Community Roundtable Coalition read out several messages of solidarity.

After questions, the meeting unanimously carried a resolution moved by TPP Unions and Community Roundtable member, and Spirit of Eureka Chairperson, Kevin Bracken. 

This Public Forum of unions and community organisations, held on 21 April 2016, in the Lower Melbourne Town Hall, calls on all Parliamentary Parties and Independents in Australia to act in the best interest of people and the environment and decline ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will not improve the lives of ordinary people, but instead will undermine the livelihood of working people, local industries, the environment, and our democratic rights and sovereignty to decide what kind of country we want to live and work in. 

The TPP will undermine workers’ rights and working conditions, exploit and trample the environment even more, increase the cost of medicines and public health, remove protection of local jobs and industries, abolish domestic policies that preference employment of local workers and source local materials on government projects and public services, trample on Indigenous rights, undermine public education, and exploit even more overseas workers in Australia.

The public release of the full TPP Agreement in February 2016 confirms some of our worst fears of the harmful impact of the TPP on people, the environment and our national sovereignty.   

The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the Trans Pacific Partnership will override domestic public interest laws and policies where bigger profits can be made by the multinationals.  The Investor State Dispute Chapter provisions empower multinational corporations and foreign investors to sue federal, state and local governments for damages resulting from domestic legislation which they claim could harm increasing the profit-making from their investments.

We need trade policies that engage unions and community organisations to improve the lives of all working people, uphold human rights, workers’ rights and protect the environment through the inclusion of climate change provisions, and that ensure the protection of our national sovereignty.

We insist all members of the Australian Parliament: Refuse to Ratify the TPP and any trade agreements with ISDS provisions; Don’t Sell Out the People and the Environment for Corporate Profits.

This Public Forum resolves to continue building a broad based public campaign of unions and communities to urge the Australian parliament not to implement enabling legislation required to ratify the corporations-driven Trans Pacific Partnership.

Economic imperialism
The TPP has nothing to do with trade but everything to do with attacking hard-won living standards, working conditions, social services, affordable medicines, public health and education and protection of the environment. It will sweep away hard-won democratic rights; trample on the sovereignty and independence of countries.

It makes a mockery of Australian sovereignty, as the parliament can only rubber-stamp the deal, and even then the locally made laws to implement the deal have to be approved by US imperialism via the US Congress!

The TPP and other big free trade agreements (eg TISA, TTIP), also drawn up by the US and waiting to be rolled out, will remove the few remaining barriers to maximising profits by multinational corporations and foreign banks.

In the face of growing economic competition from China, US imperialist free trade agreements are also a mechanism to lock countries, with their resources, markets and wealth, into the US economic hegemony.

The TPP and all current free trade agreements pushed by the US and multinational corporations and banks are desperate measures to save US imperialism from economic and political crisis.   

Imperialism is in the final stages of decaying capitalism that has reached its use-by-date.

An independent and socialist Australia, where the reins of the country will be held firmly by workers and working people, is the only alternative to the rotting, barbaric system of capitalism, and will guarantee national sovereignty and protect the well-being of people and environment.

 

Public meeting strongly denounces Trans Pacific Partnership
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