The Democratic Labour Party believes in a fair and equitable trade system that gives the greatest benefit to Australian manufacturers and farmers.
The current system of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that largely replaced the previous tariff system has proved to be not only of no assistance to Australian industry but actually has a negative effect on the Australian economy by giving the greatest advantage to foreign competitors over Australian businesses.
Rather than opening our domestic markets to a Free Trade System, the Democratic Labour Party believes in a Fair Trade System that will assist to create a much more level playing field than the present FTAs .
Under the DLP Fair Trade System, Australia can and should limit imports from countries where:
– The workers are not provided with basic worker’s rights. At present our domestic markets are flooded with goods produced overseas, often by companies whose workers do not enjoy safe working conditions, do not receive an adequate basic wage, meal breaks, sick leave and a myriad of other benefits that Australian industries supply to workers here.
– Manufactured imports do not meet Australian standards. In such cases the exporting country/company will have to guarantee that the goods will not be used or sold in Australia until the ACCC has been supplied with verification that the goods have been brought up to those Standards. If they do not meet with Australian Standards, the imports will be returned or destroyed at the expense of the original exporter.
The DLP advocates selective control over capital inflow by the following measures:
1. All new imports of capital from overseas are to be subject to a usefulness test. Those new industries which contribute important knowledge and capital equipment confer greater advantages and should be encouraged. Some industries, however, may be subject to take-overs that merely involve the replacement of the present owners without any useful economic benefits.
2. Australian industry should be encouraged to make use of the Development Bank (see DLP Development Bank policy) and other sources of capital to increase capital investment from within Australia.
3. Where foreign companies exploit Australian resources to the detriment of the national interest, the Federal Government must have the legal right to intervene to the extent necessary to preserve a benefit to the Australian economy.
4. Greater controls on dumping are required. Companies with foreign connections cannot refuse to, or work to stop, exporting products to overseas markets that may be in competition with their overseas parent company.
5. Trade agreements with foreign countries and companies must contain sufficient legal recourse for the Australian government and Australian companies to control dumping within the Australian Domestic Market.
On foreign ownership and foreign investment:
No foreign government, majority foreign owned entity or individual may own more than 2 hectares of Australian land at any one time.
Where foreign governments, companies, entities or individuals seek to purchase Australian assets other than land, the purchase will be limited to the same degree that any purchase by the Australian government, companies, entities or individuals would be limited to if they were seeking to purchase a similar asset in the country of that foreign government, company, entity or individual.
All take-overs, whether by purchase or lease, of Australian companies, land and resources by overseas interests must, apart from meeting the criteria for purchase, be approved by the Australian Government. The Australian Government must publish a public statement showing sufficient evidence explaining how and why the takeover will be of benefit to, and in the best interest of, Australia.
The investment of foreign capital in Australia must be regulated so that interest and profits accrued by residents in foreign countries are at levels acceptable to the Australian economy and their proportion is in keeping with the proportion of foreign investment made.
Capital inflow from foreign sources should be limited to an amount covering the shortfall between the capital cost of the project and the investment capital that has and can be sourced in Australia.