Australia should not sign trade treaties which give away our sovereign rights

[Contributed article]

A timely warning has been issued against certain clauses in the current crop of international trade treaties being negotiated.

It has been quite rightly pointed out that the “investor-state dispute settlement” clauses in such treaties are able to be used by foreign companies to force their will upon Australia by dragging the government into an international court.

Any government which signs one of these treaties is, in effect, signing away part of our sovereign rights as a nation. Already too much of that has gone on with the various United Nations agreements which Australian governments have signed.

Judgments handed down by international tribunals can affect the laws and operations of Australian governments.

Professor Thomas Faunce, from the Australian National University, has said of such clauses, that “You have these foreign stakeholders influencing — quite openly — the policy of our society. It is a complete re-organisation of sovereignty in our country.”

Such clauses may have started off as clauses to enable investor rights in earlier days, but they are now used by large corporations as heavy sticks with which they can beat governments into submission, in order to get their own way, in order to make more profit, no matter the cost (financial or otherwise) to the victim nation or its people. Particularly worrying is the fact that corporations not directly involved in these disputes have been known to involve themselves by bankrolling legal actions as a way of enabling their own particular commercial agendas.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership currently under negotiation includes a number of investor-state dispute settlement clauses.

Any corporations wishing to do business in Australia should abide by our laws. We have no need to put ourselves at the mercy of international tribunals.

References:
Trade treaties expose Australia to costly litigation, experts warn”, 30 August 2014, The Sydney Morning Herald (Georgia Wilkins)
Frequently Asked Questions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)”, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Investor-state dispute settlement”, Wikipedia

Comments

  1. Margaret Armbrust says:

    Worst fact of all if you are a victim of crime you are not entitled to a lawyer in NSW, this is against Geneva Convention rights but it has already been done, as I am VOC please visit VOC organisation as I should have page up and running tomorrow thanks. HELP Victims of Crime as the government has already taken away our rights??????

  2. $3 billion Chinese investment fund for Australian farms combined with those cretins in Canberra spells the end of the road for Australia as we know it. Incredible how we can just hand over the running of this country to such sheer stupidity and incompetence.

  3. I would have thought that a country as smart as Australia would have an efficient system to scan trade agreements. Obviously this is not the case. It begs the question “Why are our tax dollars being paid to bureaucrats and politicians if they can’t serve the public interest?”.

  4. the ringer from the west says:

    The level playing field not for Australia. Remove all tariffs on imported goods the high dollar and mad unions.

  5. I am sick of everything and feel like packing up and leaving. Why should we even honour any of these commitments,
    tell them to go and jump. Australia seems to have every resource known to mankind except brains. Nationalism 0% greed 100%.
    Eddy.

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