Recently many countries around the world and their governing officials have been making noise around the TPP, and in Australia Anti-Pokies Senator Nick Xenophon is no different. The bother centres on the influence of popular poker machines manufacturers and their presence in the country’s pokies and gaming halls. Senator Xenophon worries that the structure of the TPP treaty will give too much power and influence to the poker machine manufacturers, stalling legislators like him when they try and to write laws involving gambling in Australia. This is not the first time that people have brought up potential problems with the international trade agreement, but this time gambling takes centre stage.
When asked for particulars Senator Nick Xenophon stated that “It has been put to me that, if a government introduced poker machine legislation to protect consumers, an overseas poker machine manufacturer could end up suing that government for doing what was clearly in the public interest,”. This sentiment is bolstered by the inclusions of certain provisions of the treaty that give companies the power to sue local and national governments at will if they should raise laws that hurt their profitability. This would essentially mean that the laws of a country would be overwritten by the will of a corporate entity, at least monetarily.
In his own words, Xenophon said: “The risk I have identified in the statement is, I believe, well founded, given my understanding of the TPP and the initial analyses of the text”. This could mean loads of losses for the country or for local pokies and casinos, as foreign companies could move in at will and use the power of the lawsuit to prosecute their agenda. However, some supporters of the TPP assert that for a foreign company to successfully sue the government they have to have close ties with the community and the resident government has to change the laws severely. Still, many worry about how this law will change gaming in Australia.