PRESS RELEASE Bangkok, Manila, New Delhi, Melbourne July 20, 2018. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in Bangkok, Thailand this week. The mega regional trade deal involving sixteen nations from Asia-Pacific will impact the lives of over three billion people, yet a new study reveals how the deal fails international standards of transparency and public engagement. Experts measured the RCEP negotiations against criteria for Transparency and Public Participation in policy making. The outcome was a resounding FAIL. The report finds the RCEP negotiations to be: Non-transparent: negligible public availability of official information on the state of negations, a failure to release draft texts and adequate details of key government positions. Lacking in independent social, economic and environmental impact assessments, making it it particularly difficult for journalists to accurately report on the trade deal. Plagued by numerous examples of vested interests influencing the process, such as corporations holding privileged semi official role in negotiations Deprived of Asian parliaments and elected officials representation and input. They are frequently shut out, have no meaningful role in negotiations and often cannot access the text Devoid of public participation, which amounted to, at best, token or ad hoc stakeholder engagements.
The Australian government is seeking to introduce new espionage and foreign interference laws that threaten our democracy.
Friends of the Earth are a community-driven organisation that has played a constructive role protecting the natural environment and supporting social justice in Australia for over forty years.
By Cam Walker In the various histories that have been written about the Australian environment movement, most have identified the 'professionalisation' phase that happened in the 1980s as a defining feature in the movement's development.
National environment group Friends of the Earth says the Federal Coalition's 2018 budget failure on climate change comes as "no surprise" and underscores the need for greater leadership from states and territories.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a dispute resolution method included in hundreds of trade and investment agreements designed to give exclusive legal protection to foreign companies investing abroad, giving them the right to sue host governments in a private tribunal over any perceived breach of the rules around the treatment of investors. This secret corporate court system is system is a threat to Australia's democracy and environment and we believe it should be banned.
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) Committee which has been running the Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 has released its report late this afternoon. The Committee has released a Majority Report (written by government and ALP members) and a Minority Report (dissenting report) from the Australian Greens. “This is a significant step back by the government members of this Committee from the extreme measures proposed in the original Bill” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “The original Bill was clearly ideological over-reach, and the Committee members had the common sense to recognise this”.