Feeds

TPPA so deep a secret not even the minister knows what’s in it

‘Yes Ministering’ a non-minister in Senate Estimates

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Australia’s bureaucrats appear to have learned the lesson from ACTA’s slow-motion train wreck in Europe, and aren’t letting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) anywhere near something as unpredictable as a parliament.

Under questioning by The Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee was told that neither foreign minister Bob Carr nor trade minister Craig Emerson have seen the negotiation text of the TPPA.

Here’s where the exchange, between Ludlam and Hamish McCormick (deputy CEO of the Australian Trade Commission) starts to sound like an episode of Yes, Minister. From the transcript posted by Ludlam (the official Hansard version doesn’t seem to be available yet):

Ludlam: “Are you aware of whether or not the foreign minister has seen the current negotiating texts for the agreement?”

McCormick : “I do not believe he has.”

Ludlam: “Is that because he is relatively new to the job? Should he have? Will he?”

McCormick: “No. The agreement is the responsibility of the minister for trade.”

And then:

Ludlam: “Has the trade minister seen it?”

McCormick: “An FTA agreement, when completed, will be approximately 1,000 pages long. As I said, it is not an agreement that is on the table for anybody to have a look at.”

As far as El Reg can tell, the Department is telling Senator Ludlam that the foreign minister hasn’t seen the text of the agreement because that’s the job of the trade minister, who hasn’t seen the negotiating text because … well, just because.

The department also told Ludlam – as we already knew and as is increasingly irritating to those citizens that care about such things – that the text of the agreement remains “confidential between the parties”, and “Nothing has a status until it has been agreed at the end of the negotiations, so anything that people talk about is purely speculation.”

So there you go: there’s no need for public debate on TPPA because there’s no agreement, and when there’s an agreement, we’ll all get to have a look at it, except by that time the negotiations will have ended. ®

Bootnote: My thanks to the reader who located the full Hansard transcript, here. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.