Dissenting Report—Australian Greens
The Australian Greens do not
believe the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement should proceed and note the
continuing reluctance of the Government to provide any analysis of the social
impacts of free trade agreements.
The Australian Greens are
concerned that bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements are
predominantly being used as tools of diplomacy at the expense of the
consideration of the economic, social and environmental impacts.
Without a proper independent
evaluation process in place it is difficult for the outcomes and impacts of these
agreements to be analysed.
This Committee has consistently
called for further analysis that takes into account both the economic and
social impacts of free trade agreements. The Australian Greens agree with this
approach and call for greater transparency of negotiated outcomes, so the
implications of free trade agreements can be appropriately debated by the
Australian parliament and community.
The Productivity Commission
Research report, Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements, released in December
2010 provides an important contribution to this debate and its recommendations
about independent evaluation and transparency shouldn’t be pushed aside by
Governments when considering trade agreements.
The negotiation of trade
agreements necessarily involve trade-offs that can have far ranging impacts on
individuals who are employed in certain industries and on Australia as a whole.
Enhanced transparency of negotiations and independent analysis would allow
informed debate about whether these trade-offs are in Australia’s interest.
Senator Scott Ludlam