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No legislation before WTO procurement negotiations finished

No legislation before WTO procurement negotiations finished, says fair trade group

“The Australian Fair Trade network of community groups condemns the attempt by the Coalition government to rush through implementing legislation for the WTO Government Procurement Agreement before the negotiations are even finished. This is like signing a blank cheque before the parliament knows the outcome of the negotiations and makes a mockery of the parliamentary process. The Parliament has never before passed implementing legislation for an unseen agreement,” AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Dr Ranald said the report of the government-dominated committee reviewing the Government Procurement Judicial Review legislation has recommended that the legislation go ahead, while Labor members called for delay until the outcome of negotiations are known, and the Greens made a dissenting report recommending against the legislation.

She said the report also contradicts the recommendations made by both government and opposition members in the report of the Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement, entitled Buying into our future, which has reviewed Commonwealth procurement guidelines and also recommended that any legislation should await the outcome of the WTO negotiations.

“The Join Select Committee responded to robust community debate about government procurement and said that governments should use procurement rules to support small and medium firms providing local jobs and industry development, as is done by our major trading partners including the US, Japan and Korea.

We call on Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and independents to support democratic parliamentary process and oppose this legislation in the Senate,” said Dr Ranald


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