Parliamentary Report Into Indonesian Trade Relationship

Labor welcomes the release of yesterday’s parliamentary report into Australia’s trade relationship with Indonesia.

The report by the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth recommends that the trade agreement currently being negotiated between Australia and Indonesia:

  • should not waive labour market testing
  • is accompanied by independent analysis
  • should not include Investor State Dispute Solution provisions.

This was supported by both Liberal and Labor MPs.

This is the third time Liberal MPs have called on the Government to conduct independent analysis of trade agreements.

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry into the Trans Pacific Partnership recommended that:

“… the Australian Government consider implementing a process through which independent modelling and analysis of a proposed trade agreement is undertaken by the Productivity Commission, or equivalent organisation ….”

JSCoT Report on the Trans Pacific Partnership – November 2016 

Independent analysis of trade agreements was also recommended by the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee’s inquiry into the Trans Pacific Partnership. 

Malcolm Turnbull and his Ministers are not listening to their own MPs.

Under questioning in Parliament last week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop refused to rule out waiving labour market testing in future trade agreements.

This is despite the Prime Minister saying that the Government’s changes to the temporary work visa scheme would:

“… require in almost all cases, the majority of cases, mandatory labour market testing.”

Press Conference, 18 April 2017

Under questioning in Parliament Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also refused to commit to conducting economic modelling on all future trade agreements.

This is despite Assistant Trade Minister Keith Pitt previously committing the Government to conducting economic modelling for every trade agreement it negotiates:

JOURNALIST: It’s ok to say you’re not sure or you don’t know. Does the process include modelling or not?

PITT: The process always includes modelling on our behalf as to what is in our best interests for this country.

Sky News, 25 May 2017

The inquiry on the trade relationship between Australia and Indonesia by the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth was referred to the Committee by the Government. It should implement its recommendations.