Senate rejects call for public scrutiny of TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership remains secret after a motion was rejected in the Senate today

A Greens’ bid to make the federal government reveal the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP/TPPA) has been quashed today in the Senate.

The TPP is an agreement between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam which aims to open up trade between member countries. The secrecy of TPP negotiations, which could have significant effects on copyright law and how signatory countries deal with piracy, has been widely criticised.

FAQ: What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement?

Greens Senators today put a motion calling on the government to make the negotiations publicly available and to reject any trade agreement which put civil liberties and the welfare of Australians at risk.

However, the motion was defeated by the Labor and Liberal party which voted against it.

"The negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is being conducted in secret. While draft texts of the agreement were provided to AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, the Motion Picture Association and other industry lobbyists, advocacy organisations and other citizens are denied access," said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens trade spokesperson.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has been a strong opponent of the secrecy of the TPP, previously stating Australian copyright laws and civil liberty are at risk. "Grave concerns have been raised about the TPPA regarding its potential impact on access to medicines, local content rules of media, high-tech innovation and limitations placed on governments to make policies and regulations on health, safety and economic stability," Ludlam said today.

"It has been suggested the Australian Government intends to oppose a clause protecting domestic intellectual property laws."

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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