From 'How To Kill A Country: Australia's Devastating Trade Deal With The United States' by Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews:
(Bear in mind this book was published in 2004.)
What can be done?
Can we do anything about this deal or must it play out before our eyes like some Greek tragedy (in the manner that Canada has been witnessing since its bilateral deal)? What options are available to a people abandoned by their government? What recourse does one have when our elected representatives start representing the interests of other countries? Do we, in the words of the Australian business leader [Oliver Yates] cited above, ‘need laws to prevent a government making agreements it knows are economically disadvantageous to Australians’?
The answer is yes. Of course we do. In fact, such a law already exists. The Crimes Act of 1941 explicitly outlaws treachery – the knowing betrayal of the interests of one’s country.
But there is a much simpler and less controversial weapon for dispensing with those who would trade our future so cheaply – the ballot box. The risk here, however, is that supporters of the government and the deal have a degree of breathing space before the impacts of the changes work their way through the system. By the time drug prices start going up, for example, the 2004 election will be long gone – and with it the possibility that the deal’s current supporters will see the light and make
their protest heard.
Australians must therefore stay alert for the signs, and raise the alarm when they emerge, whether it is the rising tide of disease-prone produce from the United States (apples, pears, chicken, pork even Californian table grapes and cherries, fumigated with heavy doses of the toxic methyl bromide to reduce risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country); or an incremental increase in prescription costs, or a spike in US mergers and acquisitions of Australian resources, farms, fisheries, finance houses and manufacturing firms, or the disappearance of high-tech Australian companies, the loss of jobs in ICT, or a post-FTA drop in Australian productivity, or any other of the many warning signs discussed in this book. When these things start to happen, do not let the government forget the reason why. Take the advice of one of the government officials we had the chance to speak with who was working on the deal. While he, like a number of his well-intentioned colleagues, felt too intimidated to speak out directly against the deal in a public forum, his advice to those gathered was clear and compelling: Get out on the street. Bombard your federal MPs with letters. Call your elected representatives to account. And, we would add: draw their attention to Article 23.4 of Chapter 23 (Final Provisions). Under this provision, either Party may terminate the Agreement by giving the other Party six months’ notice in writing.