The Greens' call for the Australian Government to make the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) Agreement available to the public has been rejected by Labor and the Coalition.
TPP is an agreement between Australia, the United States, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, aimed at making trade between the various nations easier. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs in a recent Budget Estimates hearing, the TPP agreement is going to be near 1000 pages long when it is completed later in the year, and will include a significant chapter relating to intellectual property rights between the signatory nations. The parties hope to finalise the text sometime later this year. After the treaty is completed, individual countries will have to sign and ratify it.
Recently released leaked drafts from the negotiations have shown that Australia is joining up with the US in taking a hard line on copyright exceptions. Although the government has insisted that Australian law will not need to be changed to accommodate signing TPP, Greens communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam warned that Australia risks signing off any potential reform of copyright that has been recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission, as part of its current review.
A motion in the Senate, put forward by the Greens yesterday, was defeated, with the government and the Coalition voting against it together.
Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said that big corporations had been provided access to the draft texts of the agreement, and the public has the same right to see the documents.
"The negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is being conducted in secret. While draft texts of the agreement were provided to AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, the Motion Picture Association and other industry lobbyists — advocacy organisations and other citizens are denied access," he said.
The motion also sought to change Australia's stance in the leaked drafts, to side with New Zealand on copyright exceptions.
While much of the week in parliament was devoted to the change in laws dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia to allow off-shoring processing, the Greens also attempted to put forward a motion asking the government whether TrapWire surveillance software is used by the Australian Government. This motion was also defeated with Labor and the Coalition voting together.