Way open for billion-dollar corruption

The free trade deal (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) now being organised between our government and other foreign governments is likely to lead to possibly the greatest corruption seen throughout the world.

In these agreements are clauses known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses that allow multinational corporations to sue governments for billions of dollars if that country’s laws or regulations affect their profits.

The international disputes between corporations and countries will be arbitrated by special international tribunals. The people who sit on these panels are nominated by both parties and the UN panel for disputes.

Alarmingly, the people who sit on these panels and who make the decisions in one case can be the judge and in the next case can be a council representing a multinational corporation. This leads to a huge conflict of interest as a member of the panel, when as a judge in one case gives a decision not in favour of the corporation would likely not get employed again as a council representing corporations again! i.e. they could be out of a big-paying job or career.

As these possible corrupt decisions can, and will be, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, governments will come more under the power of multinationals.

There are no appeal courts to appeal these international decisions, and apparently no international policeman to deal with the immense corruption that will probably come about.

Our politicians and journalists must remove the blinkers from their eyes to stop this international agreement and the giving up of our sovereignty.

Bob Patrech

Wait for TPPA detail

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been a trade agreement that has been largely secretive with the odd leak to the media. I would argue that those leaks, in most cases, have been orchestrated in one way or another to sound out public opinion about certain issues relating to it.

Both The Greens and ACTU have been vocal about the perceived lack of transparency related to (TPPA) negotiations and that is understandable.

While I agree with their vigilance I would just add that nothing is taken as law until it has been ratified by parliament. Negotiations and preliminary agreements are just that so when the Australian government decides to finally release the TPPA in its agreed format to the public that will be the test.

If the government of the day tries to coerce or force parliament to pass the TPPA without adequate consultation so that parliamentarians and stakeholders can’t properly analyse it, I would say, “Be cautious and suspicious”. If, on the other hand, the government allows it to be fully exposed to parliament and the people for adequate scrutiny, giving enough time for it to be properly dissected, then it probably indicates our leaders are prepared to level with the Australian people in good faith. Basically, I would urge all of those concerned about the TPPA to save their energy until an agreement comes through that can be looked at and responded to more effectively.

Robert Wrona

Carbon copy

Patronising largesse

Sydney Morning Herald

If you took Christopher Pyne’s latest thought bubble masquerading as education policy in isolation you might be forgiven for accepting it as a worthwhile initiative.

The concept of providing already privileged private schools with a windfall of $5 million to take on a designated number of Aboriginal boarders seems harmless enough.

Given some thought though, one begins to realise how archaic, patronising and typical this distribution of largesse really is. Then compare it, state by state with the amount of money ripped out of public school funding by Mr Pyne’s government and the rejection of the fairer Gonski scheme, and the whole scenario becomes obscene.

Gus Plater
Life Member