Australia vs Big Tobacco
Oliver MacColl – Avaaz.org
Australia has the strongest anti-smoking laws in the world. They’re so successful that other countries want to do the same. But Big Tobacco isn’t happy about this — and the Australian government is about to agree to a deal that lets them trample all over us whenever they want.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a US-driven trade pact that that could let companies sue us to get rid of whichever of our hard-fought protections they don’t like. The whole deal is being negotiated in secret, and this weekend Trade Minister Robb is set to agree to rules none of us had a say in.
But opposition is building in Australia and other countries. The ALP and The Greens have just joined together to demand transparency. Abbott’s team is on the ropes from the Indonesian spying scandal, let’s use this crucial opportunity to stall the talks and stand up for our health — send a message to Minister Robb now!
Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing the government this year for billions of dollars after Australian anti-smoking rules threatened their bottom line. They did it through a loophole that the TPP would turn into floodgates, giving legal rights to foreign corporations to challenge any Australian law they claim would harm their profits in secret international tribunals closed to the public.
And tobacco could be just the start. Leaked TPP drafts read like a corporate wish-list that bends our rules in favour of companies, where everything from medicine to software could end up more expensive for Australian consumers. It’s SO secretive that only a few people in each treaty country have seen the whole thing — even our lawmakers can’t see the text we’re signing up to, and it’s up to us to stop this secretive treaty before the corporate crackdown.
We’ve known all along that there’s a lot at stake, but have had to rely on leaked snippets like the chapter Wikileaks just published to understand exactly how much. Let’s not stand for this kind of secrecy undermining our democracy — send a message now to shine a light on the secret treaty:
It can be easy to feel small in the face of big forces, and big interests, driving our governments. But people, not money, are the true source of their power. Last year 750,000 people sent a message to TPP negotiators to stop this deal. Now’s the critical moment for us to speak up. Let’s join together, once again, and bring our power to stop this unprecedented threat to our democracies.
Oliver, Jamie, David, Emily, Allison, Nadia, Alex and the entire Avaaz team
Australians may pay the price in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (Sydney Morning Herald)
Secret TPP Negotiations Resume in Salt Lake City (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (Wikileaks)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is the complete opposite of ‘free trade’ (The Guardian)