back to article Australian opposition senators slam TPP treaty process

As US President Barack Obama signs off on his hard-won “fast track” powers that will allow speedier sign-off of trade treaties, an Australian senate committee has dumped a bucket on keeping trade negotiations secret from parliament. Keeping the secret from the rest of us, of course, is just fine, so long as parliamentarians …

  1. LaeMing

    With the exception of some very-current military information, there is NO excuse for any government claiming to be part of a democracy to have any secrets from its people.

    Any government that claims or acts otherwise is guilty of treason against the people it was chosen to represent.

    That is all.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge


    Is going to hurt.

  3. dan1980

    I fully understand the concept of "commercial-in-confidence", but if we investigate what the use of that excuse implies here, it is unacceptable.

    The Government is essentially saying that the commercial interests outweigh the public interests.

    I am reminded of something I read a while back that is very relevant here - from the Australasian Council of Auditors-General in their paper titled: Commercial Confidentiality and the Public Interest.

    This section seems particularly pertinent:

    Commercial Information in Public-Private Sector Arrangements

    This accountability relationship between the individual and the State must perforce affect accountability for commercial dealings between the State and the private sector.

    The private sector must expect that, when it deals with the State, the disclosure requirements cannot merely be those that pertain to commercial transactions between two private sector entities. If the accountability arrangements are the same, insufficient weight will have been given to the need for the State to be accountable to the citizen.

    The full paper is viewable here:

    1. Aoyagi Aichou


      I'd say they claim commercial interests are the public interest, or in the very least in the public interest.

      1. Persona non grata

        Re: re

        I'd go further (with the possible and limited area of Armed Forces procurement where that can be of use to possible future opponents), Government contracts should never be 'Commercial in Confidence'.

        A higher level of scrutiny should just be accepted as a 'cost' of having the privilege of doing business with the State. All experience has shown it's only used to hide corrupt practices and incompetence anyway.

  4. aberglas

    What wouldn't the Liberals sign?

    It is interesting to speculate what things that those wonderful Americans could propose that the Liberals would not sign. We have already signed up to the Mickey Mouse act (70 year copyright) in the last FTA. So let's have a go:

    * Elimination of any government support for local IT industry.

    * Any copyright infringement a criminal offense with automatic deportation on demand.

    * Extension of pharma patent rights. (The libs would like to see the death of the pharmaceutical benefit scheme in any case.)

    * Taking any action that would harm a foreign company.

    * Other ideas people?

    But don't worry, there will be something in it for us. Like maybe a vague commitment possibly consider maybe importing a bit more beef under the same terms as we have now.

    In these FTAs you have hardened lobbyists against bureaucratic public servants, with no public oversight. There is only one way this can go.

  5. Scoular

    Simple logic here.

    If the 'negotiation' has to be done privately then they are up to no good.

    If the expected outcome was in the public interest they would be delighted to tell everybody.

  6. Richard D

    Not sure if this is true ...

    But have a read and make up your own mind

    Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, gives us an example as to how corporations will literally run our country: If a public hospital is built close to a private one owned by a participating corporation, the private hospital can to SUE the COUNTRY for ANTICIPATED losses. The corporation is king and can even make claims based on expected future losses, not actual losses.

  7. Trixr

    And this is the Greens blowing the trumpet. Yet again, Labor really just stands for "Alternate Liberal Party".

    And I'm sorry, it's not "commercial in confidence" unless the govt is signing a *contract* with a specific company, in order for it to provide goods and/or services. And even then, I think that sucks, for public expenditure.

    Finally, despite all the crap, it's not a trade treaty. We already have those, many of them, with our trading partners.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022