Pathetic Labor turns TPP spruiker

By Leith van Onselen

Under fire from the union movement for passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement because of its deleterious impact on Australian workers, Labor’s trade spokesman has turned spruiker, citing dodgy modelling espousing billions in economic benefits. From SBS News:

A massive Pacific trade deal will boost Australia’s national income by $15.6 billion by 2030 and benefit all sectors, says Labor.

Opposition trade spokesman Jason Clare told parliament on Thursday independent economic analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership shows that while it doesn’t benefit all sectors equally, no sectors would be worse off…

“There’s agreement it will provide relatively modest benefits in the short-term, with potential for more significant economic gains in the long-term if more countries in the region sign up,” he said…

[Clare] says independent economic analysis of the trade deal provides Australians with more honesty.

“It doesn’t over-hype the potential benefits or the potential impact of an agreement like this,” he said.

“But it does show a positive impact and that’s important given the scepticism that a lot of people have about deals like this.”

You know what they say about economic modelling: garbage in, garbage out. Nor is this modelling “independent”, since it was commissioned by the following business groups:

  • the Australian Industry Group;
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Export Council of Australia;
  • Minerals Council of Australia (MCA);
  • Financial Services Council;
  • Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association;
  • Business Council of Australia;
  • Winemakers’ Federation of Australia;
  • Freight and Trade Alliance;
  • the Australian Food and Grocery Council; and
  • National Farmers Federation.

The sad reality is that results from modelling tends to reflect the wishes of the parties commissioning it rather than providing a rigorous independent assessment of community-wide impacts.

In any event, separate modelling by Tufts University of the original TPP (including the US) estimated small job losses for Australia of nearly 40,000 people, as well as negligible gains in real GDP:

ScreenHunter_11148 Jan. 21 09.28

So, one can reasonably assume that the impacts of the TPP on both ‘jobs and growth’ are likely to be tiny and equate to little more than a rounding error.

Moreover, we know that the TPP contains nasties including ISDS as well as potential extensions to patent and copyright protections, which are unlikely to be captured in the modelling, not to mention easier access to wage-crushing foreign labour.

At a minimum, Labor should have demanded that the TPP be referred to the Productivity Commission (PC) for its expert assessment of the costs and benefits prior to a parliamentary vote. The PC are a truly independent body with the necessary expertise to assess the TPPt for its overall welfare impacts.

The PC has also been highly sceptical of the TPP, citing particular concerns around intellectual property and ISDS, as well as recommended greater oversight and scrutiny of FTAs before they are signed.

Curiously, Jason Clare acknowledged these issues on Tuesday, promising to implement better processes for future trade deals:

“At the moment trade deals are negotiated in secret with not enough input from Parliament, industry, unions and civil society groups or the community. Labor will change that.”

A Labor government would make labour-market testing compulsory, prevent Australia entering agreements that contain investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and introduce increased transparency and consultation in trade deal negotiations and a tougher national interest test.

Why wait until future trade deals? Why not take action now and block the TPP until the PC has concluded a robust, transparent assessment?

Labor has once again shown that it is a fake ‘workers party’.

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  1. What does this corrupt TPP do to CANZUK? Far better to have an open border with Canada and Britain (which do not have hundreds of millions of people) than to have an open border with extremely low wage 3rd world nations.

  2. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Traitors in the Labor leadership sycophantically ingratiating themselves with the local aristocracy and Global plutocrats for future job opportunities.
    I hate them

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I like you tony double d,….for giving a fk about such things, but I don’t think anything is “Beyond repair” if good people put their minds to it.

    • Sometimes, a new party needs to be created. Sweden Democrats began in 1988 and look at them now!

      Nigel Farage and Imran Khan created brand new political parties because they do not think it is worth becoming a member of an existing party and trying to change it.

      • New party? Rarely works over time, hence Trump having to hijack an established one.
        Our Gareth Morgan (he staked his son to found Trademe) is trying to get The Opportunities Party (TOP) going, and the downfall will be that even with all his wealth, he wants to tax capital instead of labour. 2.5% of the vote at the last election, and likely to be similar next time. Because….too many New Zealanders have their ‘wealth’ tied up in property, and as a capital item, it would be taxed – even if relatively lightly.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        If this “New Party” is not directly controlled by its own Rank and file, whats to stop its “Owners”, leadership and elected Candidates from just running their own show? Working towards the own personal ambitious goals they have for themselves, instead of towards the stated goals and supposed ethos of the party the have fought, scratched and clawed to get to the top of.
        Like the corruption of the Labour leadership,….whats going to stop the Corruption within the leadership of this New Party Jay?
        Either way we go, new parties or old, without greater participation and demands for REAL democratic controll within and of, our leading parties, their leaderships and Elected “Representatives”,…then the way the system works, the way it has been corrupted by money and financial inducements, will not be changed.

      • We have REAL democratic control of our members of parliament already. How’s that working out? Direct Democracy is the only way to overcome pollies acting in their own self interest. As long as positions of power are available people will use them for their own ends, as the people wanting to do this will always win out over people looking to do what’s right for the country. Self interest simply provides much greater motivation than altruism.

      • Exactly bjw. International treaties or involvement in wars should require mandatory referendums.

      • Good point Janet.
        Average Aussies don’t want the tax system they logically need, instead they continue to embrace a tax system that at its core is designed to charge workers so that Capital can be properly protected. Talk about “own goals” how workers ever accepted that is beyond me, but now they to value their own Capital (house) more than the labour of their offspring. A society doesn’t get much more F’ed up than that.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “how workers ever accepted that is beyond me”

        How is it that “Workers” were given a Say on the matter?

    • @EP The first step in problem solving is identifying what the problem is. While I believe that what you suggest is not able to cause the ructions necessary for genuine change.

      The problem is that ALP is not what they purport to be nor do care about working Australians. And the likelihood that this will change is so remote as to be fanciful.

    • The first step in problem solving is identifying what the problem is. While I believe that what you suggest is not able to cause the ructions necessary for genuine change. ++

      The problem is that ALP is not what they purport to be nor do care about working Australians. And the likelihood that this will change is so remote as to be fanciful.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        One could say that the likelyhood of a “New Party” changing the status quo is also “so remote as to be fanciful”.
        Yet here we are discussing the possibilities,…trying to find some Solidarity.

  3. Is anyone surprised?
    Australian Labor are champions of neoliberalism since early 80s – privatizations, deregulation, removal of tariffs, ending subsidies to national industries …
    They made Reagan blush in front of rich elites

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Yep,…Keating’s got a lot to answer for.
      In my teens and early 20s, I never understood why my dad, a life long Labor supporter, hated Keating so much. I do nowdays.
      Sweepers laments and monologues always make me think of my now departed Dad.

      • Keating and Howard played the political “good cop, bad cop” routine to perfection.
        Of course who you thought was the good and the bad depended on your political tendencies.

      • Continuing our earlier conversation….. A new party need only divide the existing voter block / pattern while an ALP reversion means both winning (with a new identity) and uniting all the now disparate elements.

        Divide and conquer.

    • Does anyone actually miss the shoddy cars or the rebadged models for ‘choice’? Nostalgic for Rank Arena tellys maybe?

      • @hareeba – I’m not saying that Hawke and Keating got everything right.

        But when people are pining for the uncompetitive closed Australian economy there is more to it than rose tinted memories of choc wedges being cheap and getting out of a chair not being an effort.

  4. The TPP is
    5000 pages of legalese affecting every aspect of life.
    And written up IN SECRET consultations by committees with representatives of the corporate lobbies.
    The TPP is the ultimate multinational TROJAN HORSE.

    • In Geneva 2 days ago, saw the so called HRC. There are plenty of people out there who consider themselves far more important than you or I and assume that their superior intellects and self interest more than compensates for their lack of representational legitimacy.

    • Exactly, and Bill once again shows he is a corporate guy as well as a union hack. Care for the country and people …now way.

  5. The direction that agreements like TPP are taking Australia is a discussion that needs to be had BUT I suspect the Productivity Commission isn’t the right group to do the analysis.
    So much of what is being passed off as free-trade-agreements is about anything but free trade as such any analysis of the agreements effect on Australia’s Productivity is somewhat mute, some might even go as far as to say it’s completely missing the point of TPP to even assess Productivity as if this agreement were actually about Free Trade.
    Unfortunately my own experience with trying to explain some of the newer aspects of TPP (and similar agreements) to average Aussies had less than spectacular outcomes.
    There’s a definite need for ISDS clauses but what are the rational limits of such clauses.
    There is also definitely a need for state level resolution of Transfer Pricing but again, with what logical limits.
    Unfortunately the few times that I’ve even attempted to engage Average Aussies in such discussions I’m left with the feeling that they’re absolutely financially illiterate and they invariable accuse me of being somebodies lackey, or worse still a con-man….it’s amazing just how often the discussion ended with the great Aussie phrase “Fair Dinkum”, always kinda leaves me wondering just what is the modern definition of this phrase.

    • davidjwalshMEMBER

      yep fisho ……… and add a massive dose of adherence to identity politics to round out the financial illiteracy and you have ……… straya

  6. The other danger they drop us into by their TPP love is tje ISDS, and won or loose for the country, the lawyers always win. What profession are most of the pollies?? That’s part of the answer. I’m assuming ISDS is still part of it?