Last week, I sent the following letter to my local MP, Karen McNamara, Federal Member for Dobell
I’m appalled by the Liberal government’s treatment of asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. I’ve detailed my concerns in this article (which has been read by more than 27,000 people in the last month): http://www.glennmurray.com.au/australia-boat-people-illegal-policy.
You’ll note that my article discusses the specific international laws the government is breaching, as well as a number of other areas in which the government is misleading the public.
Can you please read my article and respond to me, explaining how, given all these facts, the Liberal government can justify its actions?
Note that I’m not interested in hearing the standard rhetoric – the party line. I’ve heard that too many times already. What I want is a considered personal response that addresses each of the points in my article. As my elected representative, I believe it is your duty to address my concerns. (And as you’ll see from the comments on the post, these are not just my concerns.)
If you cannot refute at least the majority of my points (with verifiable evidence), then I’ll assume you have no good or acceptable reason to support the Government’s inhumane, unethical and unlawful asylum seeker policies. That being the case, I’ll expect you to offer your personal commitment to taking a stance against them.
Note that I plan to publish a follow-up post, detailing this request and your response.
I’m also very concerned about the ongoing and highly secretive TPP negotiations your government is taking a very active part in.
My understanding is that these negotiations will limit our ability, as a country, to make legal decisions on food labelling, access to medicines, energy, copyright and more.
I’m particularly concerned about the plan to include ISDS clauses in numerous future international trade agreements. I’m concerned that if we sign the TPP, Australia will be vulnerable to being sued by foreign corporates if they feel we are impeding their expected profits. Just as Ecuador was sued for $1.77 billion by a foreign oil company, for cancelling a contract they thought wasn’t in the country’s interests. And just as Canada was sued. Twice. Once for investigating the impact of fracking. The gas company thought they were delaying anticipated profits, so it sued them for $250m.
In fact, my understanding is that Australia is ALREADY being sued under just such an ISDS clause. Tobacco giant, Philip Morris, is currently suing Australia because it enforced plain cigarette packaging. It tried a High Court case first, and that failed, so now it’s pursuing the matter via a bilateral trade agreement signed between Australia and Hong Kong in the early 1990s. If Philip Morris wins, who picks up the bill? We do. The people who actually pay tax!
I’m not only concerned that these ‘cases’ will subvert our High Court, but that they’ll be heard in secret offshore business ‘courts’, presided by business-people, not judges. And obviously these people will tend to find in favour of the corporations. (Currently 70% of these sorts of cases are decided in favour of the corporations.)
Just as importantly, I’m horrified that our government believes it’s acceptable to negotiate and sign such agreements when we, the general public, are not allowed to see the full text of the agreements in question.
Please respond to me, detailing:
- Why you think it’s acceptable for your government to participate in these highly secretive negotiations.
- How you feel the 2010 inquiry by the Productivity Commission (which found few benefits and “considerable policy and financial risks arising from ISDS provisions”) was wrong and should be ignored, out of hand.
- An assurance by the government that the full text of all TPP chapters being negotiated will be made available to the public before any agreements are signed.
If you cannot satisfy my three requests above, I’ll assume you do not have any good or acceptable reason to support the TPP negotiations. In this case, I’ll accept, instead, your personal commitment to taking a stance against the negotiations.
I’m currently writing an article on this issue, which I expect to receive similar traffic to my refugee article. I’ll detail your response there.
I look forward to your prompt response.
Yours sincerely Glenn Murray
Today, I received an email reply from her
Dear Mr Murray Thank you for your correspondence regarding Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) and the future of Australia in a global economy.
OSB is a military led, maritime security operation implemented by the Abbott Government to address Labor’s failure to manage our borders. The cost of the former Labor Government’s failures on our borders over the last five years has been substantial in humanitarian and financial terms.
Since the commencement of Operation Sovereign Borders on September 18, following the swearing in of the new government, there has been an 86 per cent reduction in illegal arrivals by boat to Australia.
This stands in stark contrast to the record of the former Labor Government. Labor’s failed border protection policies resulted in an environment where more than 50,000 people arrived illegally by boat and more than 1,000 people have perished at sea. More than 14,800 people who have been waiting offshore in desperate circumstances have also been denied Australia’s protection via humanitarian visas.
Labor’s border protection budget blew out by more than $3 billion per year and to more than $11 billion in total.
In relation to the publication of OSB Information, the Government believes that an awareness of on-water procedures undermines the Government’s capacity to conduct our operations, gives advantage to people smugglers, potentially puts our people’s lives in danger and may, in certain circumstances, undermine bilateral relationships. For those reasons, the Joint Agency Task Force, which controls OSB, believes that there is a sound basis for not discussing events that occur on water and to provide a brief of information for release on a weekly basis.
With regard to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, I have attached a copy of an opinion piece by the Trade & Investment Minister, The Hon Andrew Robb AO, MP from Monday 10th February 2014 in the Australian.
I hope this information is of benefit to you. Yours sincerely Karen McNamara MP
Rubbish reply. So I replied with this
Obviously Karen has failed to address any of my concerns. So I replied with this:
Thanks for your reply, Karen. Unfortunately, however, you clearly didn’t read my request or my post. You’ve answered none of my questions and refuted none of my points. I’ll spell those concerns (and my specific questions) out for you, this time…
I’m not interested in Labor’s mess. If something Labor did is your only reason for maintaining a draconian policy, then you really need to have a long hard look at your policy making process.
What’s more reverting to costs as your justification is ludicrous, as you could reduce costs massively by allowing refugees to be integrated into society after a 1 month processing period. By allowing them to work and be productive members of society. So let’s not diminish this conversation with meaningless rhetoric.
Again, here’s what I asked:
“Note that I’m not interested in hearing the standard rhetoric – the party line. I’ve heard that too many times already. What I want is a considered personal response that addresses each of the points in my article. As my elected representative, I believe it is your duty to address my concerns.”
Here are my concerns and questions:
- Asylum seekers are NOT illegal. They’ve broken no laws at all. Under Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a14), everyone has the right to seek asylum. The terms, ‘illegal immigrants’, ‘illegals’, etc., are completely incorrect. Please explain how you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to accuse desperate people, who’ve broken no laws, of being illegal.
- Australia is breaching the Refugee Convention (http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html). The Convention requires that contracting states do not “… impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence” and that they do not “… apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary.” But by locking up asylum seekers in detention centres and refusing to process their asylum claims (no boat people asylum claims have been processed since August 2013), we’re restricting their movements unnecessarily and penalizing them. And by pushing/towing asylum seeker boats back to Indonesian waters from Australian waters, we’re doing the same. And by changing workplace safety laws to exempt Navy sailors from their obligation to take ‘reasonable care’ to ensure the safety of asylum-seekers, we’re penalising asylum seekers. Plus, the convention also prohibits contracting states from returning asylum seekers “… to the frontiers of territories where his [or her] life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” But by forcing asylum seekers back to Indonesia, we’re returning them to a place where the lives and freedom of many would, in fact, be threatened. Many asylum seekers are Shia Muslims who are fleeing persecution by Sunni Muslims in their home country. Indonesia is 88.2% Muslim, and the majority of those Muslims are Sunni. So Shia Muslims face persecution in Indonesia just as they faced at home. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- Australia is breaching the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS – http://www.imo.org/ourwork/facilitation/documents/solas%20v%20on%20safety%20of%20navigation.pdf). The convention requires contracting states to: “…ensure that necessary arrangements are made for distress communication and co-ordination…” The 2012 Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, interprets this to mean “Where assistance has been provided to persons in distress in a state’s SRR, that state has primary responsibility to ensure that coordination and cooperation occurs between governments, so that survivors are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety. “ But Australian defence personnel are not helping asylum seekers disembark or otherwise reach safety. Instead, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- Australia is breaching the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS – http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm). The convention requires contracting states to: “… promote the establishment, operation and maintenance of an adequate and effective search and rescue service regarding safety on and over the sea and, where circumstances so require, by way of mutual regional arrangements co-operate with neighbouring States for this purpose.” But Australian defence personnel are not co-operating with Indonesia to ensure the safety of asylum seekers. Instead, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- Australia is breaching the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR – http://www.imo.org/blast/blastDataHelper.asp?data_id=15436&filename=70(69).pdf). The convention requires contracting states to: “… ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea … regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found” and to “… provide for their initial medical or other needs, and deliver them to a place of safety.” But Australian defence personnel are not delivering asylum seekers to a place of safety, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- Australia is breaching amendments to the SOLAS and SAR Conventions, which require contracting states to: “… arrange disembarkation as soon as reasonably practicable” (http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Facilitation/IllegalMigrants/Documents/Leaflet%20Rescue%20at%20sea.pdf) and Guidelines on the Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea (http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Facilitation/IllegalMigrants/Documents/Leaflet%20Rescue%20at%20sea.pdf), which state: “The government responsible for the SAR region in which survivors were recovered is responsible for providing a place of safety or ensuring that such a place of safety is provided,” where a ‘place of safety’ is defined as “… a location where rescue operations are considered to terminate, and where: the survivors’ safety or life is no longer threatened; basic human needs (such as food, shelter and medical needs) can be met; and transportation arrangements can be made for the survivors’ next or final destination.” But Australian defence personnel are not arranging disembarkation of asylum seekers, nor providing or ensuring a place of safety, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- According to Julian Burnside QC (CCd here) – https://www.facebook.com/events/183807971827352/, by “using arbitrary detention for asylum seekers, and subjecting people (including children) to conditions which put their physical and mental health at risk in order to persuade them to return to their homelands, and deter further people from seeking asylum in Australia”, we’re breaching the following international conventions: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (and the UN agrees – they reported the breach in 2013, and at the date of writing, the Australian government still hasn’t responded nor rectified the breach – p.293); The Convention on the Rights of the Child; and The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- We may also be committing a crime against humanity contrary to section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth). https://www.facebook.com/events/183807971827352/. Please explain how you believe we are not in breach.
- Only about half of unlawful entries into Australia are by boat. Please explain how, given this statistic at the fact that boat people are not illegal, you feel boat people deserve our special attention. (According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, in 2012-13, 25,091 asylum seekers arrived by boat, more than 8,308 arrived by plane, 2,813 visa overstayers were detected, 2,328 immigration clearances were refused at air and seaports, and 15,077 other ‘unlawful non-citizens were discovered in the community.)
- Only about 42% of asylum seekers since 2003 have arrived by boat (http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/immigration-update/asylum-trends-aus-2012-13.pdf). Please explain how, given this statistic at the fact that boat people are not illegal, you feel boat people deserve our special attention.
- Asylum seekers who arrive by plane aren’t detained, despite the fact that the only difference is that they have a visa. Please explain why the mere absence of a visa justifies detention. Please bear in mind that not all refugees are able to get a visa to fly to Australia. The application process and requirements for an Australian visa are quite rigorous and time-consuming. They require interaction with government departments (which is a risk if you’re being persecuted by that government, and persecuting governments tend not to let persecuted people leave). What’s more, it takes time, and refugees often don’t have much time. They’re fleeing, not going on a holiday.
- Since 2008, 92% of all ‘boat people’ have been found to be genuine refugees (http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/immigration-update/asylum-trends-aus-2012-13.pdf). Please explain how you think it’s right to deny protection to people who are nearly all genuine refugees.
- There’s no evidence to suggest our harsh policies on ‘border protection’ reduce the number of boat people trying to get to Australia (http://www.glennmurray.com.au/australia-boat-people-illegal-policy/). There’s only correlation. There are many variables at play, and correlation doesn’t prove anything. Please explain how you justify persisting with harsh policies without proof that they act as a deterrent.
- For the 2012-13 period, Australia makes available 190,000 places for immigrants. During the same period, 4,949 ‘boat people’ were granted refugees status in Australia. http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/02key.htm#e. So refugees who arrive by boat make up just 2.5% of all immigration. Clearly there is no threat to our borders. So why is Liberal spouting rhetoric about protecting our borders? And why has it changed the name of the department to include Border Protection?
- Please explain how you think it’s in Australia’s (and your electorate’s) best interests to ignore repeated warnings by the UN (http://www.smh.com.au/world/united-nations-warns-australia-about-asylum-seeker-boat-pushbacks-20140111-hv83u.html), Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/34001/) and Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/wr2014_web_0.pdf).
If you want to enforce a course of action that commits thousands of genuine refugees to indefinite imprisonment in unsafe condition, then I believe you must first be able to refute the above facts.
When answering the above questions, please bear in mind that I’m well aware that the ‘queue jumping’ claim is rhetoric. There’s no such thing as a queue. Anyone who wants to claim asylum must leave their home country first. So all asylum seekers flee to other countries. Some overland, some by plane, some by boat. Some come to Australia, some go to other countries. This is the standard way to seek asylum. Our ‘offshore’ application process is something Australia voluntarily does to supplement the standard ‘onshore’ process, in order to share the refugee load with other countries. Accepting asylum seekers who come directly to Australia is our legal obligation. Unfortunately, Australia’s policy is that when we accept an onshore refugee, a place is deducted from the offshore program. No other country in the world does this. In other words, it’s policy that takes places from camp refugees, not ‘boat people’.
I’m also well aware that you don’t have to be poor to be a refugee. Take the jews in WWII, for instance. To be considered a refugee, you must simply have a well-founded fear of persecution at home. And although the poor are often the victims of persecution, middle-class and wealthy people are persecuted too. In fact, because these people tend to be well educated, they are often persecuted for speaking out against oppressive government regimes.
Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations
Re the TPP, again you have not addressed my concerns at all. The ‘opinion piece’ you cited is, indeed, mere opinion. Andrew Robb’s opinion is:
“Anti -traders also like to fan conspiracy theories about how the TPP will open the floodgates for big foreign multinationals to sue member governments for introducing laws and regulations that they simply don’t like despite any demonstrable public good. This is nonsense.”
I’m sure you’ll agree, the mere assertion that these concerns are “nonsense” does not make them so, nor is it a rebuttal of all (or any) of my points. Nor do appreciate the accusation that I’m a conspiracy theorist. Is that what informed, concerned voters are called these days?
So, let me reiterate my concerns, in the hope that you’ll address them this time. I’ve tried to explain them a little more clearly this time:
- The Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade website (https://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/tpp/) says, “Australia’s decision to participate in the TPP in 2008 followed an extensive public consultation process.” Can you please provide a list of the parties that have been consulted throughout this process, and their feedback?
- In 2008, the then Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, said (http://trademinister.gov.au/speeches/2008/tpp_priorities.html): “Overall, there is widespread interest in and support for Australia’s participation in the TPP. Most participants in the consultation process believe there to be strategic benefits and potential for longer term commercial gains.” Can you please provide verifiable evidence which backs this claim?
- Based on the public submissions received and published by the Government (https://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/tpp/), it is definitely not accurate to suggest that there is widespread interest in and support for Australia’s participation in the TPP. Having examined each of the submissions, I found that only 35% of them were explicitly in favour of Australia’s involvement in the TPP. The rest were either explicitly opposed or expressed significant concerns with the content of the negotiations and/or the manner in which they are being conducted. Furthermore, all but one of the in-favour submissions were from commercial interests, or bodies that represent commercial interests. Please explain how these submissions can be interpreted as support for the TPP or our involvement in it.
- This Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: State of Play document (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/18/response/348/attach/html/5/img%20415171934.pdf.html) states that “Once the text is agreed between parties, it will be made public and subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny through a review by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.” Will the government be willing and able to change the texts, after signing, based on feedback from the public and bodies which represent the public?
- The State of Play document also says that the public consultation process will last “twenty joint sitting days”. This is definitely not long enough for the public to become aware of, read, understand, reflect on, and provide official feedback on the full texts of the TPP. I request that you extend this period to a full six (6) months.
- Please provide details of how the Government will seek public feedback on the released texts.
- Please explain why journalists and the Pirate Party have been excluded from the so-called ‘public consultation’.
- Please explain why CHOICE and other public interest groups are not permitted to review drafts of the agreement, but industry lobbyists are.
- The 2010 inquiry by the Productivity Commission (http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/104203/trade-agreements-report.pdf) found few benefits and “considerable policy and financial risks arising from ISDS provisions”. Please explain why the Australian Government feels it is appropriate to ignore this finding and to persist with negotiations that include ISDS provisions.
- In 2011, the Australian government declared it would not agree to ISDS provisions under any circumstances. The wording of a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was unequivocal. It said, in part: “… the Government does not support provisions that would confer greater legal rights on foreign businesses than those available to domestic businesses. Nor will the Government support provisions that would constrain the ability of Australian governments to make laws on social, environmental and economic matters in circumstances where those laws do not discriminate between domestic and foreign businesses… The Government has not and will not accept provisions that limit its capacity to put health warnings or plain packaging requirements on tobacco products or its ability to continue the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme …” Please explain why you believe this position to be inaccurate, making sure to address each point in detail.
- In 2013, former Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, said of the above position that, “No one in the business community thought that [it was] an odious position”. Can you please explain why your Government believes it should pursue ISDS clauses, regardless?
- The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has raised many serious concerns about ISDS provisions (http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaepcb2013d4_en.pdf). “In many cases foreign investors have used ISDS claims to challenge measures adopted by States in the public interest (for example, policies to promote social equity, foster environmental protection or protect public health). Questions have been raised whether three individuals, appointed on an ad hoc basis, can be seen by the public at large as having sufficient legitimacy to assess the validity of States’ acts, particularly if the dispute involves sensitive public policy issues. Host countries have faced ISDS claims of up to $114 billion and awards of up to $1.77 billion. Although in most cases the amounts claimed and awarded are lower than that, they can still exert significant pressures on public finances and create potential disincentives for public-interest regulation, posing obstacles to countries’ sustainable economic development.” By way of example, Ecuador was required to pay $1.77 billion to a foreign oil company that sued it for terminating a contract the government thought wasn’t in the country’s interests. Similarly, Canada was sued. Twice. Once for investigating the impact of fracking (the gas company thought they were delaying anticipated profits, so it sued them for $250m) and once for a Canadian-court-ordered invalidation of the patents of two drugs, Strattera and Zyprexa (the drug company sued for $500m). Please explain why you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to be exposed to these problems.
- Australia is already being sued under just such an ISDS clause. Tobacco giant, Philip Morris, is currently suing Australia because it enforced plain cigarette packaging. It tried a High Court case first, and that failed, so now it’s pursuing the matter via a bilateral trade agreement signed between Australia and Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Please explain how you believe this is in Australia’s best interests.
- Please explain why you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to agree to these lawsuits being heard in opaque international forums with arbitrators who judge cases in a business framework, not with regard to the public good.
- Please explain why you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to allow foreign corporations to side-step our High Court.
- Please explain why you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to commit us to a system in which lawsuits are brought but in some cases, the applicable arbitration rules/venues are unknown, and some are so confidential that often even the existence of a claim is kept secret from the people of the country being sued.
- Currently 70% of these sorts of cases are decided in favour of the suing corporation (http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaepcb2013d3_en.pdf). Please explain why you think it’s in Australia’s best interests to commit us to a system that so clearly favours foreign corporations over the state.
I’m sure you can understand my desire that you address my concerns individually, as I’ve taken great care to present them individually, with supporting evidence.
Kind regards, Glenn Murray
Still no reply, 10 days later…
So I sent her this friendly reminder:
I note it’s been 10 days since I emailed you requesting answers to some very important questions. Your auto-reply said, “If your email requires a further response, we hope to provide you one within 4 working days.”
I understand you’re busy, but so am I. In fact, as this isn’t my job (I’m a small business owner), I’ve LOST money by taking the time to express my concerns and request answers. I’m losing money right now, by following up. You, on the other hand, are PAID to represent me, and to respond to my concerns.
So here’s the situation, as it appears to me. I’m doing my civic duty, despite it costing me a lot of money. And you’re not doing your job, despite the fact that you’re being paid to do it. Is this how you want voters to perceive you?
Please reply to my email, as I’m rapidly becoming very disillusioned with your representation.
Kind regards. Glenn Murray
She finally replied again, but just to tell me we have different opinions!
Here’s her latest fob-off…
Dear Glenn Thank you for your latest email. I appreciate local residents taking the time to share their concerns with me, so that I am able to properly consider all opinions of the people of Dobell.
It does appear in this case that we have very different opinions on these specific matters. Beside the previous information provided in my email of Tuesday 25th February 2014, for further information on the Government’s border security please follow this publicly accessible link http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/border-security/about/.
More information on the Trans Pacific Partnership can be found at https://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/tpp/ I appreciate your specific & individual comments.
The most appropriate source of detailed information for you will be the above reference links.
MP Federal Member for Dobell
So I replied with this…
Thanks for your reply. Sadly, however, once again, you have completely and utterly ignored my request. I didn’t ask for a summation of our opinion differences. I asked very specific question. As my member of parliament, I believe it’s your duty to answer my questions.
I understand that my last email was very long. I included a lot of information in there so you could consider the facts before answering. However, this time, I’ll make it easier for you, and simply ask the questions. Please don’t fob me off for a third time. It reflects very poorly on your commitment to your constituency and to the democratic process, in general.
Here are my questions:
- Why does the Australian government calls boat people ‘illegal’ when they’ve broken no laws?
- Do you agree that we are detaining asylum seekers longer than is necessary to process their claims?
- Do you agree that detention restricts their movements?
- If so, how does this not breach the Refugee Convention?
- Do you believe that, if we force asylum seekers from Australian waters back to Indonesian waters, and leave them stranded hours offshore, Australia is helping asylum seekers disembark or reach safety, or that we’re cooperating with Indonesia to ensure their safety?
- If not, how do these actions not breach the SOLAS, UNCLOS and SAR conventions?
- How was the UN was wrong in its 2013 assessment of our detention centres, which asserted that we are breaching the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?
- How are we not committing a crime against humanity contrary to section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth) by detaining asylum seekers as we do?
- Since 92% of boat people are genuine refugees, do you think it’s fair to them that we deny them protection?
- Can you please provide a list of the parties that have been consulted throughout the TPP public consultation process?
- Where their feedback is not confidential, can you please also provide their feedback?
- Can you provide verifiable evidence which shows the majority of Australians are in favour of the TPP?
- If not, why is the government persisting with the TPP negotiations?
- Will the government be willing and able to change the TPP texts, after signing, based on public feedback?
- Do you think that 20 joint sitting days is sufficient time for the public to become aware of, read, understand, reflect on, and provide official feedback on the full texts of the TPP?
- Will the government commit to extending the post-signing public consultation period on the TPP to a full 6 months?
- After signing the TPP, how will the Government seek public feedback on the released texts?
- Why have journalists and the Pirate Party been excluded from public consultation on the TPP?
- Why are CHOICE and other public interest groups not permitted to review drafts of the TPP agreement, but industry lobbyists are?
- How was the 2010 inquiry by the Productivity Commission wrong when it found few benefits and “considerable policy and financial risks arising from ISDS provisions”?
- How was UNCTAD wrong when it concluded that ISDS provisions “exert significant pressures on public finances and create potential disincentives for public-interest regulation, posing obstacles to countries’ sustainable economic development”?
- Do you think it’s good for Australia to be sued by foreign corporations for conducting safety research and environmental impact studies?
- Do you think it’s good for Australia to be sued by foreign corporations for labelling food with actual ingredients?
- Do you think it’s good for Australia to be sued by foreign corporations for denying patents that would drive up the prices of life-saving medicines?
- Do you think it’s good that Australia is currently being be sued through an ISDS provision by Philip Morris over plain cigarette packaging?
- Do you think foreign corporations should be allowed to side-step our High Court?
- When a country is being sued by a foreign corporation, do you think its people should be allowed to know why?
I look forward to your answers to these 27 straightforward questions.
Kind regards, Glenn Murray
Surprise, surprise, she still didn’t answer my questions
Karen’s next reply completely ignored everything I wrote and said just this:
As referenced in my previous email the best sources of information for you are these websites http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/border-security/about https://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/tpp
MP Federal Member for Dobell
I asked why she’s refusing to answer
Why are you not answering my questions?
I’ll keep you posted…
Given Karen’s initial reply, I’m not holding out much hope she’ll come back with anything useful. But I’ll keep you posted, in any event.