Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement is Bad for Us
of Communication, Language and Cultural Studies, Victoria University,
St Albans Campus, Melbourne, Australia
At the end of 2002 the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade called for submissions on the proposed Australia–United
States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). The call was put out on 11 December
2002 with a deadline of 15 January 2003. Since this is the period when
most working people take annual summer holidays, the timing suggests
that the government negotiators were not really interested in receiving
I have watched with growing concern the apathy and disinterest of the
media in the upcoming bilateral agreement. I began writing about it
in late 2002, and the following article is made up of two shorter articles
which were published in Arena. The first appeared in Arena Magazine,
No. 63. Feb-March: 29-32. The second article which focuses on the likely
impact on women appeared in Arena Magazine, No. 68. Dec-Jan:10-11.
The second was in fact a much-edited version of two papers I gave in
the middle of the year. The first was at the International Association
for Feminist Economics Conference in Barbados, and the second was at
the Australian Women’s Studies Association Conference in Brisbane.
These papers were in part the result of my attendance at yet another
conference on Women and GATS which was held in Köln, Germany in
May. The conference in Köln reinforced the view I’d had for
some time that the WTO multilateral agreements are very bad for women,
and they are also bad for Indigenous people, anyone who is poor or displaced
or marginalised by health, education or location factors or for any
of the other numerous reasons this occurs.
At the beginning
of 2003 I expressed the view that Howard’s reason for backing
Bush in the war against Iraq had a lot to do with the AUSFTA. As the
year has gone on, this view has not only been reinforced by events,
but even acknowledged by Howard. The other sectors who are said to benefit
from the agreement are farmers, but farmers are disputing this, and
as I point out in Part 1, there are many reasons why this so-called
promise will not bear fruit, for farmers or for consumers.
At one stage
in the year I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with an American
representative – a woman who knows Bob Zoellick, the US Trade
Representative in charge of the negotiations – at a gathering
in Melbourne. I felt like an imposter, but I was interested to hear
the arguments from the other side. I was convinced, indeed they did
not seem like very good arguments – most of them had to do with
making things better for consumers. It’s a bit like hearing Arnold
Schwartznegger say he won’t put up taxes because that hurts the
poor, so instead the poor now have to pay bigger fees for education,
health and access to National Parks. As there’s no sliding scale
the poor in fact are hurt most, but it looks like choice and so is more
is due to present a report (how public it will be remains to be seen)
at the end of January 2004, I therefore urge you to read the following
articles and begin to protest against agreements that sell all Australians
short, especially women.
Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement: Free Trade or Free Access
for US Companies?
the Howard government, seems intent on lying down for the US government.
Not only is Howard heeling Bush in the likely war on Iraq, this government
is also keen to open up the Australian economy to the point where Australian
sovereignty is under threat.
Freedom is a much-misused
word, no more so than its use in global economic talk with the language
of “free trade” and “free choice”. Such usage
misrepresents the idea of “freedom” as one that is closely
intertwined with responsibility. Within the realm of neo-classical economics,
globalisation and the free trade mantras of transnational companies
freedom has no association with responsibility at all.
Women found out
about the double bind of freedom in the 1960s when “free love”
was bandied about, but the only ones benefiting from this freedom were
men who now had easy access to women’s bodies under the guise
of fulfilling a new social trend. Women, by contrast, became pregnant,
putting a fast end to a free and easy lifestyle; or suffered guilt at
their jealousy of men’s multiple partnerships; or got free sexually
transmitted diseases; or they got out, moved on, called themselves feminists
and began to critique this masculine rip off for what it was.
In the world of
international trade, transnational companies, the US government and
institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are like the
“free love” gurus of the 1960s. As the more powerful player
they get to make the rules, tip the playing field so that it is not
level and score the game as well.
keen on Free Trade?
Not surprisingly, those who are in favour of free trade
are overwhelmingly from the transnational sector. Its primary feature
is its wealth; it is also a highly mobile group: whether they be companies
who move the factories from on shore to offshore or whether they are
highly mobile individuals with significant cash surplus or whether they
are well-paid employees of governments, transnational companies, the
UN or institutions such as the WTO.
at the composition of institutions it is instructive to see precisely
who makes up these organisations. Take the Intellectual Property Committee
which was co-founded by IBM and Pfizer. These are major players in the
global economy and two of the largest economic entities in the world.
Their colleagues in the IPC are likewise major corporations and include
DuPont, General Electric and Monsanto – major players in chemical,
military and biological arenas. What is relevant about this is that
these companies are self-appointed arbiters of the many intellectual
property rules that are then developed within the World Trade Organisation
based on recommendations and lobbying by the transnational sector. The
WTO’s brief, so far as intellectual property rights are concerned
is to create a system of harmonised laws based on western law and intended
to satisfy the needs of western industrialised countries.
is keen on a Free Trade Agreement providing that “everything is
on the table” (Berkelmans et al. 2001: 1). In other words, he
is keen providing that the USA can gain maximum benefit from the deal.
This is therefore not a Fair Trade Agreement since the USA is by far
the dominant trader of the two which can be readily seen from the comparative
importance of trade between the USA and Australia (see Chart 2 Berkelmans
et al. 2001: x). While exports from Australia to the USA represent 11%
of total exports from Australia, when those exports arrive in the US
market they represent a mere 0.7% of total imports within the US market.
That is a factor of more than 15 fold. Because Australia is a relatively
small trading partner for the USA, the impact on the US economy is very
small, but conversely the overall impact on the Australian economy is
very significant and could have profound and longlasting effects. Australia’s
economy is comparable in size to some state economies in the USA –
Pennsylvania and Illinois are mentioned in the literature.
the impact on the US economy is so small, what could be the reasons
behind the USA’s enthusiasm for an AUSFTA? A quick look at the
membership of the American-Australian Free Trade Agreement Coalition
(AAFTAC), a US-based organisation which is dedicated to promoting the
FTA may offer some clues. Four “recent new members” listed
are DuPont, Merck, Nufarm Americas and Pfizer. Further down the complete
list we find companies such as Custom Biologicals, Inc, General Electric,
Halliburton, IBM (www.aaftac.org). Given that Australia is one of the
countries considered to be extremely biologically diverse, I find it
disturbing that an AUSFTA would make access to biologically significant
plants which have not yet been patented or commercially developed even
easier. Such as prospect threatens the intellectual property of Australia’s
Indigenous peoples and moves both the knowledge and the species out
of the public domain into the private hands of US-based transnational
companies. These impacts are not given any consideration in the Centre
for International Economics (CIE) document.
out that the United States would “overwhelmingly dominate AUSFTA”
(Berkelmans 2001:3) if it were fully implemented today.
States has expressed concern that Australia keeps out chicken, pork,
corn and Californian grapes unnecessarily” (Berkelmans et al.
2001: 7). But we have just seen how when US corn is imported, as it
has been in the second week of January 2003 that when the shipment arrives
the general Australian public finds out that it contains genetically
modified corn. Pressure is being put on Australia to revoke our very
weak labelling laws which at present are the only source of information
for the general consumer (GeneEthics Network: 10 Jan 2003). It appears
that the USA is either unwilling or unable to control what kind of grain
leaves its shores. Or, it is intentionally ensuring that grain leaving
US shores always includes genetically modified produce. This was the
case when grain was sent to Zambia in 2002 to offset civilian food shortages;
and again in Australia corn sent as feed grain for drought relief also
contains genetically modified seed.(1)
As the Australian
APEC Study Centre point out “In globalised production systems,
it is an increasingly viable option for producers to relocate to sites
where better-priced supplies are available” (Australian APEC Study
Centre 2001: 39). The implication of this is a wholesale takeover of
Australian agriculture by US-based agribusiness companies whose agricultural
systems are not context sensitive, indeed their intention is to homogenise
everything in sight. Changes to Australia’s quarantine system
and to intellectual property status are both potential losses. My presumption
is that the Howard government is trying to push through the AUSFTA ahead
of the conclusion to FTAA negotiations in 2005 because major agricultural
competitors – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile – in
sugar, dairy, wine and beef are located in South America (Australian
APEC Study Centre 2001: 53-4).
The Australian sugar and dairy industries will increase
significantly in scale with CIE estimating that “exports of sugar
to the United States could rise by 2550 per cent” (2001: p. viii).
As they point out this is off a very low base. My question here is what
effect would an increasingly large sugar industry have on Australia,
not economically, but ecologically. Already huge areas of rainforest
in northern Queensland have been flattened to create arable land for
the sugar industry. The sugar monoculture is not something that as a
nation we should be increasing. Instead we should be thinking of ways
that we can reduce the acreage of land under sugar cultivation. But
when the economics card is played, ecological considerations are thrown
out. The effect on the price of sugar in Australia if the FTA were implemented
in full would be an increase of 13% (IE 2001: 96). This outcome is very
similar to the impact of dairy regulation in Australia in 2001 (Dunlop
2001) which has led to many small dairy farmers going out of business.
The contest is between two competing systems. Those in the transnational
sector are for deregulation and intensification of farming methods alongside
a standardised product and export orientation. The AUSFTA is just one
more part of this systemic process as it will increase the export market
for Australian dairy produce, intensify and standardise its products
for American market needs, and result in further dislocation of small
Do we really want
to become an agribusiness colony for the USA? Just at a time when farmers
and legislators are becoming more and more aware of the impact of irrigation
on salination, of the need to understand how to work in concert with
local ecological conditions, how to farm in ways that take account of
drought cycles the country is potentially going to open it doors to
increased agricultural investment (Berkelmans et al. 2001: 24). And
what kind of investment can we expect? It would encompass biotechnologies
of all kinds, an increase in the acreage of genetically modified crops
such as corn, and cotton, and an increasing emphasis on monocultural
cropping which is highly destructive in an environment such as Australia
where large parts of the country used for agriculture are already considered
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs)
Intellectual property has become the mantra of the “new
economy”. This term is frequently used in the APEC report as one
the major reasons for pursuing the AUSFTA. The new economy is the knowledge
economy and intellectual property is a central part of its profitability.
Intellectual property includes not only copyrights and other intellectual
content, but also patents. One of the core reasons why intellectual
property is considered so profitable is because its initial value is
so low that it is in effect “free”. Capitalism thrives on
turning free resources into value-added resources which then create
massive profits, Michael Dove in a very fine study of tropical forests
and development (1993) makes two important points. He argues that whatever
of value is found or developed by indigenous forest peoples –
particular tree species, mineral deposits, butterflies, medicines –
will never earn for the forest people what it would earn in the open
market. And further that the value of these things changes over time
as they are progressively redefined by elites who “do not just
control valuable forest resources, they also control the discourse regarding
these resources” (1993: 22). In a way, this is what is occurring
under the proposal for an AUSFTA. New value is being redefined; new
markets are being touted; and new management systems will be put in
place to ensure that that the knowledge economy grows in just the way
it should to the benefit of the USA.
In order for that
new economy to continue to grow, a constant stream of new resources
is required. Australia, as one of the world’s hot spots of biodiversity
is in a good position to supply such a constant stream of new free resources.
With no barriers in place for large US-based companies to explore the
rainforests, the deserts and the reefs a massive hunt will begin for
biological products which can cure cancer, AIDS(2)
, schizophrenia, menopause, obesity and a host of other profitable ailments.
is dependent on wild stock and on biodiversity for its continued growth.
If biodiversity is not nurtured in situ, the resources for biotechnology
will cease to exist. Biodiversity cannot be replicated in laboratories:
it requires living ecosystems. Countries which are biodiversity hot
spots such as Australia, Mexico and Brazil (just to name three) are
therefore useful biological laboratories for US-based companies and
all three are part of the three free trade areas of which the USA is
actually or potentially a part (AUSFTA, NAFTA and FTAA).
Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
Although GATS is
part of the WTO, the AUSFTA will bring forward US access to trade in
services in Australia. When complete liberalisation occurs as it would
under AUSFTA, there would be free trade in services without any restrictions.
This favours the richer country and corporations specialising in service
provision. Free trade in services makes it difficult to create locally
oriented and responsive services, whether through community action,
local government or private business initiatives. The services under
threat through GATS and through the AUSFTA which will enable US corporations
free access to the Australian market include banking, transport, telecommunications,
prisons, health, education and utilities such as water. Let me look
at the last three listed: health, education and water. All are lucrative
and growing markets.
In the area of
health care, community health centres could be taken over by large US-based
health maintenance organisations without any recourse from the local
community. A US-based multinational HMO could sue a local council if
it believed it had been “discriminated” against. Given that
the companies running such HMOs have significantly more resources than
most local councils, simply threatening such an action could bring councils
to their knees. If the council decided to fight the intrusion, it could
be bankrupted. The AUSFTA also has implications for the pharmaceutical
benefits scheme, which, because it keeps pharmaceutical costs artificially
low, it is argued that it restricts investment. We should therefore
expect a big shake up of the PBS scheme if the AUSFTA goes ahead. The
impact of this, and the threat to community-based health centres, both
affect the poorest people in the community and it will have a particularly
strong impact on women as carers, mothers and as the ones most likely
to be responsible for paying for pharmaceutical drugs.
In a growing knowledge
economy, the importance of education cannot be understated. With the
Australian education system moving to a model more like the USA, it
is likely that changes to the system could be reasonably easily implemented.
But what does this mean for Australian education? Will HECS disappear?
I feel somewhat hesitant to ask this question as if HECS were a good
thing. As I am part of the generation who had genuine free access to
tertiary education, I do not wish to defend HECS. However, like Medicare,
it is considerably better than anything in place in the USA. As with
health, there is a good chance that prestigious and well-funded US universities
will want a bite of the Australian education pie. Will that mean that
the inward-looking US system of education will be transported to Australia
which has a tradition of outward looking? Will US content be even more
pervasive than it is now, not just through the media but also through
the education system? Further, since the government would have to give
equal access to funding of foreign private universities, it would reduce
the amount of funding available for the public system (AFTINET 2002).
of water and other utility services is also of extreme concern. Global
water servicing companies are waiting for GATS to be implemented and
an AUSFTA would give US-based companies a head start on entering this
extremely lucrative market. Given that the Howard government’s
position on GATS is to allow water services to be included, they will
also be a part of an AUSFTA. Public ownership of water is essential.
It is something we all depend on and should be subject to strict controls
and not allowed to be owned by private companies who will put profit
ahead of safety and access.
prisons and correctional services – including detention centres
– are already being run by prison service companies. Stuart Rintoul
in a recent article in The Australian writes about one such company
run by George Wackenhut who has been accused of transporting “raw
materials for chemical weapons to Iraq” (2002: 6). Such shady
dealings, plus the fact that detention centres have become such a travesty
of justice in Australia is yet another reason to question the social
value of an AUSFTA.
The AAFTAC website states:
is apparent that with the legal, regulatory, and ideological similarities
between the United States and Australia, and with the background of
our military and security relationship and the ANZUS treaty, Australia
is an ideal trading partner” (www.aaftac.org).
This is likely
to be one of the major background issues for the US government. The
Howard and Bush governments claim they have common security interests,
but Australia is the fall-guy in this relationship providing important
intelligence through bases at Pine Gap and Cockburn Sound. The USA needs
Australia’s location at the base of a potentially volatile part
of the world. This is a sharp shift in policy between Australia and
the USA which has maintained separation between trade and security since
World War II. Howard’s lapdog support of Bush’s war aims
in Iraq may well assist in getting the AUSFTA through. But will the
outcome really be of benefit to the social and political make-up of
The impact of an AUSFTA on the Australian public is not
as the background papers would suggest. Here are some of the impacts
and implications which I have discussed in this article:
• Australian sugar prices would rise by 13%.
• An increase in unsustainable farming through increased acreage
of monocultures such as sugar.
• Small dairy farmers would have even less chance of being able
to compete in an industry open to US-based agribusiness. Feedlots and
intensified factory farming would decrease the quality of milk available
to the consumer.
• Genetically modified crops would have an increased likelihood
of being grown widely in Australia, again undermining the quality of
food available to the consumer.
• Indigenous ownership of knowledge of biological resources will
be threatened even more than it is now. Open access to US-based companies
will create profits for transnationals and dispossess Indigenous peoples.
• Australian intellectual property – artistic and biological
– will be increasingly owned by US companies and institutions.
• Access to health services for everyone, whatever their ability
to pay, will be undermined and the cost of pharmaceuticals will rise.
• Access to an Australian-run primarily public education system
will be undermined as fewer resources will be available for the public
system as privately-owned, US-based educational institutions make claims
for equal funding from the federal government.
• Water and other utility services will be increasingly privatised
and public ownership and access threatened. The result is profit at
the expense of access and safety.
• Detention centres will become an even more lucrative market
for US-based correctional services companies.
• Australia’s military security will be increasingly in
the hands of the USA, finalising the complete colonisation of Australia,
its resources and people, by the USA.
Is this the future
we want for Australia?
Trading on the Usual Illusions: Women will bear the brunt of the Australia-US
Free Trade Agreement
The skewing of
public debate about the Australia United States Free Trade Agreement
(AUSFTA) is no doubt motivated, in part, by the fact that it is unlikely
to bring prosperity to Australia. The AUSFTA threatens to open Australia’s
market to US companies ahead of other country markets and in ways that
expose Australia to a complete overhaul of public and private services
to fit the US model. Such an overhaul will be detrimental across a plethora
of sectors, but it is in the services sector where its effects will
trade agreements are concluded, their impact on women is significant,
as it is on those living in poverty, on refugees, on the elderly, chronically
ill and disabled and on Indigenous peoples, the marginalised and the
dispossessed. As all these other groups also include women — women
make up most of those living poverty, most refugees are women and children
and it is women who are the main carers for the elderly and disabled
— the impact will be amplified.
AUSTFA needs to
be understood in the context of the General Agreement in Trade in Services
(GATS). GATS is a very broad-ranging agreement regulating the trade
in services. It is expected to be implemented on 1 January 2005, ten
years after the establishment of the World Trade Organisation. This
is by no means its final format as GATS includes a clause on continuous
negotiations, meaning that it is likely that the shape of GATS will
change over time and result in an increasingly liberalised world economy.
It will also change
because of the incredibly broad range of activities that come under
the category of 'services'. The World Trade Organisation has identified
eleven broad sectors of services under GATS, including activities as
diverse as accounting, veterinary, postal and courier services, construction
and related engineering services, retail, wholesale and franchising,
education, tourism, health, environmental industries, transport and
‘Other’ — a category that includes energy related
A great deal of
detail is left out of this list. The International Chamber of Commerce,
for example, has noted that manufacturing industries are infused with
services from beginning to end; research and development, inventory
management and control, transport, marketing, advertising, insurance
and ‘backroom’ functions such as accounting and legal services.
In fact, every sector mentioned involves a complex interweaving of services
that makes just about everything else redundant. Service industries
are now the largest employment and it is a sector that is growing annually.
In addition to
the above sectors under GATS, the proposed AUSFTA also includes significant
changes to agricultural policy and marketing as well as threats to intellectual
property, in particular to Indigenous knowledge systems. The overall
impact of the AUSFTA will therefore be even more far-reaching than the
GATS. The AUSFTA is due to be finalised in December 2003, rather than
the later date for GATS of 2005, thus allowing early US access to Australian
for free trade in services will have a disproportionately negative effect
on women. It’s old news that women’s lives have generally
different patterns from men. Unlike the 17-year-old male entry student
who completes a degree and moves on to work or straight on to higher
study (no matter how much an individual male life varies from this pattern),
women tend to study, work, play, take time off for travel or children
in a variety of ways which are not suited to the straight-jacketing
style the Howard-Costello Government would like us all to fit into.
example the situation of Gerry Corbett, a 35-year-old single mother
who recently featured in an article in the Sunday Age. Her life pattern
exemplifies the patchwork of study, work and life that many women encounter.
For Gerry Corbett, paying up-front means giving up other things —
‘the idea of buying a house, a second child’. Her pattern
of study is to build on the skills she already has, to broaden her knowledge
base, to incorporate study into the pattern of her life. These are precisely
the patterns of flexibility that make women well suited to the global
economy, and yet this government, so keen on globalisation, can’t
even see the contradictions.
are many women in greater financial hardship than this example. Women
who are trying to raise several children on their own; women who care
for their parents or siblings or partners; women trying to upgrade their
qualifications so that they can earn more than 70 per cent of the male
average wage; women returning to study later in life working to enable
them to live while they study. These are the ones who will feel the
impact of the AUSFTA which opens the doors to well-resourced US universities
selling their wares to the highest bidder.
be argued that because women are now entering institutions of higher
education in greater numbers than men, the system is in the process
of tipping the playing field again to benefit men. This is not unlike
the ‘adjustments’ that were made to the early IQ tests when
women scored 15 per cent higher than men. And so it was adjusted, and
men began to do just as well or better!
health services, as social services are opened to competition, and the
giant US HMO’s enter the Australian market, women will again bear
the brunt of free trade. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, a system
which ‘ties the price of … [all pharmaceutical drugs] to
the lowest priced medicine in the same therapeutic chemical group regardless
of patent status of the medicines’ is regarded as a trade barrier,
although it is very successful in creating wide access to pharmaceutical
drugs by Australians. With the acceptance of PBS into the AUSFTA negotiations,
according to the Australia Institute Discussion Paper Trading in Our
Health System?, prescription prices for non-concession card holders
could rise from $23.10 on average to a whopping $64. There is no benefit
to the general Australian population of such a rise. Indeed, like other
aspects of the AUSFTA, the only beneficiary will be the US-based pharmaceutical
the ones who predominantly look after sick people; they are the ones
who still raise children, stay home with them when they are sick and
buy their medicines. Because women live longer than men, they are also
among the majority of the elderly who depend heavily on prescription
drugs. Research suggests that the chronically ill and the elderly account
for more than 80 per cent of pharmaceutical purchases in Australia.
Further, as a proportion of income, the poorest 20 per cent of Australians
spend seven times as much on medicines and other health products as
the richest 20 per cent.
over-represented in both of these categories as well as being the group
most likely to be responsible for the care of the chronically ill and
elderly. The shift from a universal health care system to a two-tiered
system is a shift which is occurring to ease the way for the FTA between
Australia and the USA. It will also make it easier for GATS to be implemented.
Major policy changes put forward by the Howard Government are setting
Australia up for further trade liberalisation, not because it is good
for Australians but because the government likes the sound of its own
will not bring benefits to the Australian community, but rather a transfer
of profit to US-based pharmaceutical companies. These companies argue
that consumers should ‘take greater financial responsibility for
their health’, but what they really mean is that consumers should
contribute to paying for the excessive marketing costs outlaid by pharmaceutical
companies. Under current Australian legislation Direct to Consumer Advertising
(DTC) is not permitted since it would undermine the decision-making
processes that are a part of the PBS, that is proven efficacy of the
drug and the need for the drug both of which are weighed against other
available therapies. Just as Nike spends more on marketing than on production
of its shoes, pharmaceutical companies in the US spend twice as much
on marketing as they do on research and development, so to argue that
R&D costs should be contributed to by consumers is ludicrous.
is not a small and insignificant agreement. It will affect the lives
of all Australians in manifold ways. Whether it affects access to community-run
health services or reasonably priced public education, rural people
or the literary culture of the inner urban world, the knowledge base
and culture of Indigenous peoples or access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits
Scheme, each aspect of the AUSFTA will profoundly affect the way we
live. Because women are often structurally disadvantaged within these
different areas, it is women who will bear the greatest weight of free
In Part 1 I cite from:
American-Australian Free Trade Agreement Coalition (AAFTAC)
website. 2003. www.aaftac.org
Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET). 2002. Information bulletin on
GATS. Sydney: AFTINET.
Study Centre, Monash University.2001. An Australia-USA Free Trade
Agreement: Issues and Implications. A Report for the Department
of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs
Lee Davis, Warwick McKibbin and Andrew Stoekel. 2001. Economic Impacts
of an Australia–United States Free Trade Area. A Report prepared
for The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Canberra: Centre for
Dove, Michael R.
(1993). “A Revisionist View of Tropical Deforestation and Development.”
Environmental Conservation 20 (1): 17-24.
Dunlop, Ian. (2001).
“Milk Deregulation is Good for You: Pull the Udder One.”
Margo Kingston's Webdiary. 30 March. 2001. www.smh.com.au/news/webdiary/0104/05/A33180-2001Mar30.html
2002. Detention company’s murky origins. The Weekend Australian.
28-29 December: 6.
Watch – Nigeria digest, Vol 1 #265. 31 Dec 2002.
2 I cite from:
Lokuge, K. and Richard Denniss (2003). Trading in
our Health System? The Impact of The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement
on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Australia Institute Discussion
Paper No 55, May.
2003. All pay, no play – and a degree of hardship. Sunday Age.
(2001). Trading Health Care Away? GATS, Public Services and Privatisation.
London: The Corner House, Briefing 23.
(2003). GATS, Privatisation and Health. Paper presented at Service Without
Borders? Plenary at Privatisation, GATS and the Consequences for Women
Conference, Köln, 9-11 May.
(1)The African Biodiversity Network
has made a statement condemning the irresponsible donation of GM crops
to nations such as Zambia and Malawi effectively presenting them with
the option of being “forced to choose between starvation and GM
food aid when there are plentiful supplies of non-GM food” (Women’s
Rights Watch – Nigeria digest Vol 1 #265, 30 Dec 2002).
(2)The US National
Cancer Institute, the WA state government and the Australian Medical
and Research Development Corporation (AMRAD) have been involved in commercialising
the Western Australia smokebush. Among the companies with whom they
have entered into exploratory contracts with is Merck Sharp and Dohme.
As pointed out earlier Merck is a “recent new member” of
Dr Susan Hawthorne, Research Associate in the Department
of Communication, Language and Cultural Studies at Victoria University,
St Albans Campus, Melbourne.
Susan Hawthorne completed
her doctorate in Political Science at the University of Melbourne in
2002. She is the author of Wild Politics:
Feminism, Globalisation and Bio/diversity (2002) and co-editor with
Bronwyn Winter of September 11, 2001: Feminist Perspectives
(2002) and with Renate Klein of CyberFeminism: Connectivity, Critique
and Creativity (1999).