SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

4 February 2016

TPP MUST NOT UNDERMINE AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC POLICY

TOPIC: TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

Labor will scrutinise the Trans-Pacific Partnership to ensure it delivers economic benefits without undermining Australian public policies in areas such as affordable medicines, environmental protection and balanced intellectual property laws.

The TPP, which was signed by the Turnbull Government today, is a trade agreement between 12 countries from around the Asia-Pacific which account for around 40 per cent of the global economy.

Labor recognises the potential benefits for Australia from the TPP, including increased market access for our goods and services exports.

The TPP could also be a stepping stone to closer economic engagement across the Asia-Pacific, a goal Labor has pursued from establishing APEC to releasing the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.

The agreement also contains progressive measures such as commitments to tackle environmental challenges like illegal logging, unsustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation and requirements for TPP countries to adopt core labour standards such as workers’ rights to organise and decent minimum wage regulation.

It will also significantly benefit the poorest countries in our region.

Labor does not support the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in the TPP.

We have also insisted that the TPP must not affect the cost or availability of medicines for Australians.

We will now examine the agreement to ensure it lives up to the claims by Malcolm Turnbull and Andrew Robb that there will be no adverse impact on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The signing of the TPP will be followed by the tabling of a National Interest Analysis and an inquiry by Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

The Treaties Committee inquiry will allow members of the public and stakeholders to have their say and will be an important forum for scrutinising the impact of the TPP.