TPP: Incompatible with Democracy

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The Pirate Party welcomes the long-anticipated release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement ('TPP'), available from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website1. However, the Pirate Party remains firmly opposed to the agreement itself and calls on the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to recommend it not be ratified.

"After years of secret negotiations the text has been revealed, and it should be deeply concerning to all Australians," said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. "Most concerning of all are the investor-state dispute settlement ('ISDS') provisions which create a two-tiered legal system in which foreign-owned businesses gain special rights to sue the Australian government if policies or regulations hurt their interests. These cases are run through international tribunals which have none of the accountabilities and appeal mechanisms which operate in domestic courts." 2

ISDS provisions have been extended into new areas in the TPP, with clauses now allowing governments to be sued for merely introducing fair use and public interest provisions into copyright laws. The TPP also locks in ridiculous copyright lengths, removes data soveriegnty, imposes mandatory anti-piracy penalties and, alarmingly, obliges authorities to seize and destroy items used by people who tinker with legally purchased hardware.3 This will effectively gag whistleblowing on a range of technological isues and prevent users from checking that their hardware or software is secure and functions as advertised. The TPP is worse than the leaks suggested - a catastrophe for privacy, security, and basic property rights.

"The TPP also interacts in a worrying way with Australia's new mandatory data retention regime. The TPP creates new criminal penalties for copyright infringement, potentially allowing copyright holders to demand access to this data.3 New provisions which potentially bar the government from mandating storage of personal data in Australia will also create risks given the scale of private data now being collected."

The Pirate Party Australia calls on members of parliament to acknowlege that intellectual property is protectionism, with no place in any genuine free trade agreement The advancement of intellectual property and corporate interests in this deal has come at the expense of digital rights, the rule of law, and the public interest. The TPP is not a subject of bipartisan agreement and Pirate Party Australia calls on members of the JSCOT to reject its proposals.

"The Agreement actively locks in an abusive intellectual property regime, blocking important economic and social reforms. The ISDS tribunals are also completely incompatible with a healthy democracy. It is in Australia's interest to reject the agreement and should it be ratified, all elected Pirate Party representatives will push for Australia's withdrawal in any way they can," Mr Frew concluded.


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