Greg Hunt and his friends in Canberra have not only directly attacked environmental protection institutions and the eco-systems they are trying to defend in the past, and now siphoning existing funds out of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (that they previously tried to close down) to pretend they are spending big on the Barrier Reef, but they have been making indirect attacks as well.
It was bad enough when Greg and his friends declared that too much World Heritage Wilderness Area had been ‘locked up’ by the Tasmanian forestry peace deal and tried to rescind some of it on behalf of their corporate forestry mates.
But that is nothing compared with the obscure and secretly negotiated international agreement they have signed up to and want us to rubber stamp; the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Have you never heard of it or only dimly aware of its existence? That’s the idea.
When they do talk about it, they promote this agreement as a free trade bonanza. I suppose it is if you don’t mind exporting particularly the non-tertiary trained jobs that used to employ the not so academic school leavers. But the big problem is that it is mainly a bonanza for the corporate insiders who have largely structured it.
For instance, if farmers are successful at pushing our state government to lock out gas fracking companies wanting to damage their water aquifers to get at the gas, under the terms of the TPP, the gas companies will be able to sue the state government for compensation for loss of profits.
But the real kicker is that the legal dispute will not be in the hands of our national courts, but obscure tribunals created under the corporate auspices that set up the partnership agreement.
These are not multilateral courts that are auspiced under the UN conventions. They are set up to protect not us, but multinational corporations.
And it isn’t just the environment that is affected, but health as well. The cigarette plain packaging legislation would have been taken to one of these tribunals had the TPP agreement been in force at the time.
And make no mistake, the tobacco companies would win, hands down.
They are already using similar Australia-Hong Kong agreement to sue us for millions for degrading the value of their brands. They will win.
Bye bye plain cigarette packaging. Bye bye lock the gate on the gas frackers.
And then there is the brilliant TPP plan to make multinational pharmaceutical companies far more powerful in their negotiations with national health institutions, and give them longer patents on drugs before they can become generic, but that is another story… oh, and increased powers for internet copyright infringement, and even, suing us for raising minimum wages (happening in Egypt as we speak).
Greg is asking for us to vote for him while he and his mates are working as hard as possible for the interests of entities that are not citizens of this country and most of whom pay minimal tax, if any; a state of affairs our Mr Hunt and his friends would have been quite happy to perpetuate until they were recently exposed by the very embarrassing ‘Panama Papers’ leaks and Oxfam research.
Why would anyone vote for Greg and Co?
Christopher Nagle, Grantville.
Environment’s their last priority