Jakarta, December 8th The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in Jakarta, Indonesia this week (December 2-10 [i]. If signed, RCEP would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue governments at international tribunals whenever they feel government regulation can limit their profits[ii]. New research reveals that investors have launched 50 lawsuits at secret international arbitration tribunals against governments negotiating the RCEP agreement for a total of at least $31 billion US dollars.
Friends of the Earth is a founding member of the TPP Unions and Community Roundtable. We are committed to preventing the ratification of the TPP, and work with a variety of politicians, unions, community groups and individuals in order to achieve this goal. In order to accurately score politicians on their commitment to disabling the TPP, the following two questions were emailed to all parties and independents currently holding seats in the upper or lower house:
Key Australian environment groups today called on the Federal Environment Minister, Mr Greg Hunt, to reject recommendations of a report of an inquiry into the charitable status of environment groups. The CEOs of WWF, The Australian Conservation Society, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Friends of the Earth and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW issued the following statement on behalf of the Places You Love alliance: The Report of the Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations correctly recognises the enormous contribution environment groups have played in safeguarding Australia’s precious yet fragile environment, protecting icons from the Great Barrier Reef to the Franklin River. However, the report contains a number of deeply flawed and dangerous recommendations, including an arbitrary requirement to spend a quarter of donor funds on ‘environmental remediation’ and a draconian attempt to clamp down on the type of work organisations conduct.
The long awaited final report from the House of Representatives Inquiry into environmental organisations has now been released. Many in the community had anticipated that the report would recommend changes that would severely limit the activities of environmental groups. Sadly, this is the case. For background on this report and the political agenda against the environment movement, please check here. The report acknowledges that environment groups are doing an important and necessary job in protecting our precious environment. However, it contains a number of deeply flawed recommendations, which if implemented would profoundly change the environmental protection movement in Australia.
Anyone who had hoped that the Turnbull government would be significantly different to the Abbott government on environmental issues will be very disappointed by the 2016 budget. “Many people had hoped Prime Minister Turnbull would stare down the far Right elements of his government and deliver a fair and reasonable budget that offered meaningful action on the environment. But spending on the environment is forecast to fall by 17% by 2019-20. “Prime Minister Turnbull has missed the opportunity to deliver a budget worthy of the climate and environmental imperatives of the 21st century” said Cam Walker for Friends of the Earth Australia. “Instead he has opted to prop up greenhouse polluters and continue concessions that subsidise the mining and aviation sectors. This is money that would be better spent on education, health and the environment.”
Friends of the Earth International Press Release Auckland, New Zealand 4th February 2016, Today trade ministers from 12 countries party to the giant 'Trans Pacific Partnership' held a symbolic signing of a trade deal which sets the economic and pro corporate rules for 40 percent of the world economy. Friends of the Earth International warned that the 'Trans Pacific Partnership', or TPP, will threaten people and planet, if ratified. Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Coordinator, said: “The TPP signing ceremony is nothing more than a photo opportunity to try and prop up this deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive deal. Trade ministers know that it will be very difficult to ratify the TPP in national parliaments, particularly in the US where all leading presidential candidates oppose it.”
By Bill Waren, senior trade analyst, Friends of the Earth US Friends of the Earth is disappointed but not surprised with what President Obama had to say in his State of the Union address about the environmentally-destructive Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Nor were we astonished that the reaction of most Members of Congress was unenthusiastic. What is most remarkable is that President Obama devoted less than 30 seconds of his hour long speech to the TPP, his most significant legislative proposal in 2016. Without doubt, he sees the TPP as a legacy defining achievement in the course of his eight years in office. But rather than making a reasoned argument in support of the TPP, he quickly changed the subject.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secret trade agreement that will adversely affect the environment, worker’s rights, cost of medicines, internet freedoms, food safety, intellectual property rights and indigenous rights. Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) has long warned that the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter in the TPP agreement will potentially allow corporations to override our domestic laws and enable foreign corporations to sue our Government if we implement policy and legislation that may impact the ‘future profitability’ of a corporation. FoEA campaigner Cam Walker said "Tobacco giant Phillip Morris has already launched a lawsuit against the Australian government in relation to the introduction of plain-packaging laws. Thankfully this was not successful. However, the TPP could open the door to similar lawsuits under the TPP ISDS clause".
Several UN Sustainable Development Goals are irreconcilable with Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal From September 30 to October 2nd Andrew Robb and Trade Ministers from 11 other countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) met in Atlanta to finalise a gigantic trade deal, which threatens global sustainable development.
Academics from across Australia and New Zealand are descending on Brisbane for the next two days to discuss how to challenge the increasing corporatisation of universities, which is drastically reducing the quality of research and academic life. Challenging the Privatised University is being co-hosted by Friends of the Earth, the Ngara Institute, the NTEU, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the National Alliance for Public Universities and aims to support the revitalisation of the public and intellectual importance of Universities.