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Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:52:43 +1000
Subject: Oz Peak Union Council and the MAI
Message-ID: <9802271718.aa20381@nteu.nteu.org.au>
Sender: owner-mai-not-mail@flora.org

Oz Peak Union Council and the MAI

By Ted Murphy,
National Tertiary Education Union
27 February 1998

Dear mai-nots,

The executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the peak national union council in this country, met on 25-26 February to consider, among other matters, the MAI. The ACTU Exec. carried a resolution which:

  • Describes the MAI as a treaty which would severely limit the capacity of Australian governments to regulate foreign investment in the public interest.
  • Supports international regulation of investment issues but rejects the basis of the MAI because it regulates governments,not TNCs,in a period when capital has too much freedom to move and too great an ability to avoid social responsibilities
  • Notes TUAC's efforts to secure binding labour standards clauses and calls upon the Australian Government to reverse its opposition to this proposal
  • Calls upon the Australian Government to initiate public consultation on the MAI and to publicly address the issue of how the MAI would affect Australia's capacity to
    • control foreign ownership of real estate
    • require foreign investors to meet export and research and development targets, and include Oz citizens on Boards of Directors
    • restrict foreign ownership of media and privatised assets
      preserve local TV content
    • regulate the entry of overseas workers
    • assist industry development
    • subsidise public educational, cultural and social service bodies
    • without incurring the reciprocal obligations to private providers
  • Proclaims the above to be of serious concern to the ACTU becuase of the loss of sovereignty to overseas investors
  • States that any treaty should protect from legal action inernational public interest campaigns,e.g. anti-apartheid, environmental campaigns; must not override the capacity to promote local industry and jobs; and must take into account the need to promote core labour standards, social justice, and environmental protection.

In addition to carrying the resolution, the ACTU decided to convene a meeting of union and community groups to consider a campaign over the MAI.


Ted Murphy
National Tertiary Education Union

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