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Government continues to rush China Free Trade Agreement process

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson reproaches the government for introducing the enabling legislation for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) over a month before the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has provided its report into the agreement.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The government, by introducing the enabling Legislation before Parliament has had the opportunity to scrutinise the ChAFTA agreement, shows its interest lies in the politics of the agreement rather than in securing a good outcome.

“ChAFTA has clearly been rushed through the whole process, with the Prime Minister first announcing an agreement which was in reality an agreement to have an agreement; then the inclusion of an unfinished and open-ended Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter; and then (as revealed by Fairfax yesterday) the government has been vastly overstating the jobs numbers associated with the agreement.

“The Australian treaty-making process is broken and should be reworked as suggested by the Harper Review and the Productivity Commission to vastly improve the level of consultation and independent analysis.

“The government-dominated Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is due to table its recommendations about the Agreement in a month. The government should have waited until this report is tabled before introducing the enabling legislation,” he concluded.

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