Feeds

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

‘Yes Ministering’ a non-minister in Senate Estimates

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.