5 things to know about the ‘zombie TPP’ and how to stop it

Here's what you should know about this dangerous trade deal, including how and why we need to stop it right now.

It may sound like a cool new Netflix thriller – but in reality there’s nothing chill about watching the ‘zombie TPP’ make its way through Parliament. Read on to find out 5 key things you should know about this dangerous trade deal, including how and why we need to stop it right now.


1. It’s back from the dead

Remember the TPP? It was called “the worst trade deal ever” by a Nobel prize-winning economist due to the powers it gave to corporations over people and governments.

Nevertheless, the TPP (aka the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership)’ was signed in 2016 by 12 countries – including Australia, Japan, and the US.

We couldn’t let it go ahead, so in 2016 the ActionAid Australia community joined with an alliance of civil society groups to put pressure on our Senators to block it. Together we successfully stopped it…until now.

Now re-branded as the ‘CPTPP’ (The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership) and missing the United States, the TPP is back from the dead. And for women, the worst aspects of the trade deal remain.

2. The deal is bad news for women’s rights

The zombie TPP is a huge threat to women’s economic justice.

To name just a few examples, in low-income countries the deal will put pressure on sectors that women predominantly work in, like garment manufacturing, pushing wages even lower and undermining women’s rights at work.

If implemented, the CPTPP would also encourage the privatisation of essential services like healthcare and education. Many women and girls will then no longer be able to afford an education or safe access to healthcare, entrenching existing gender inequality.

Abebi in the classroom in Nigeria

Abebi teaches in a primary school in Nigeria with no electricity or water and with no working toilet. Children often miss school due to lack of public transport and a lack of support from the government.

And if the Government wants to take back control of these services, or regulate corporations that harm women’s rights? The zombie TPP will give foreign companies special rights to sue governments. See? Not chill at all.

3. The zombie TPP is a hot topic in Parliament right now

In spite of the women’s rights concerns and other deeply worrying aspects of the deal, on 19 September 2018 the CPTPP passed through the House of Representatives with support from both the LNP and the ALP.

The following day, the Senate Inquiry into the CPTPP also released its final report, which admits that the deal could be a danger to women’s rights and recommends that the gender impacts of the deal be taken into account.

4. The Senate is about to vote on the fate of the zombie TPP

Now that the Senate Inquiry has released its final report, our Senators will be deciding whether or not the zombie TPP will go ahead in Australia before Parliament resumes in October.

So the time to put the pressure on our Senators to say no to this deal and stand up for women’s rights is NOW.  

5. What can you do? Email your Senator!

Now is a critical time to email your Senators and ask them to:

  1. Block the CPTPP implementing legislation in the Senate
  2. Commit to conducting gender impact assessments for all future trade deals prior to signing
  3. Increase the transparency and accountability of all future trade negotiations

We’ve got a handy tool you can use to send a quick message to your Senator! Our team has prepared some sample text, but if you take the time to personalise your message it’s guaranteed to have a bigger impact.

We’ve done it once and we can do it again. Together we must call on our politicians to support the rights of women and their communities over the rights of big corporations.

Email your Senators