La­bor MPs ex­press TPP fears

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten in­sists La­bor MPs who want the party to aban­don sup­port for a mas­sive trade deal are hav­ing a fair dinkum de­bate about tough is­sues — not be­ing dis­united.

Min­utes of last week’s La­bor cau­cus meet­ing leaked to the me­dia re­vealed a dozen or so La­bor MPs spoke against sup­port­ing the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship.

Some said the deal would send vot­ers to One Na­tion in Queens­land and western Syd­ney, while oth­ers ar­gued it would hurt work­ers and was against La­bor pol­icy.

‘‘What we should never do in Aus­tralia is con­fuse de­bate and dis­agree­ment with dis­unity,’’ Mr Shorten said last Wed­nes­day.

‘‘Right through my cau­cus there is con­cern that this agree­ment has plenty of prob­lems with it.’’

But Mr Shorten said he ‘‘re­luc­tantly’’ sup­ported the TPP and in­tended to im­prove it when he gets into gov­ern­ment.

He said the deal ben­e­fited Aus­tralian farm­ers, uni­ver­si­ties, steel and man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries.

La­bor sup­ported the TPP through the lower house but is un­der pres­sure from unions and the Greens to block it in the Se­nate.

A Se­nate in­quiry look­ing at the TPP rec­om­mended the gov­ern­ment re­move in­vestor-state dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­vi­sions from it and all fu­ture trade deals.

La­bor MPs said ISDS laws al­lowed for­eign com­pa­nies to sue the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment. The com­mit­tee also wants labour mar­ket test­ing in­cluded in the deal.

The TPP-11 trade pact in­volves Aus­tralia, Ja­pan, Malaysia, Viet­nam, Sin­ga­pore, Brunei, New Zealand, Canada, Mex­ico, Peru and Chile, with the United States pulling out of the deal when Don­ald Trump be­came pres­i­dent.

Mex­ico, Sin­ga­pore and Ja­pan have rat­i­fied the deal, with New Zealand, Peru and Canada ex­pected to join the list in com­ing months.

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