Friday, November 15, 2002

I Seem to Have Missed Something Here

Friday, 15 November 2002

The agreement between the US and Australian governments to get together in about 3 months time to start negotiating a Free Trade agreement over the next two years hasn't exactly been big news in the Ozblogosphere. Apart from Tim Dunlop no-one seems to have commented much on the issue at all. I'm not exactly in a hurry either, given the long time frames involved. While the possum features in several US regional cuisines, by the time I get to write a post hailing our new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as a breakthrough for our fledgeling possum processing industry it will be probably be too late. Two years is a long time to try to sustain a running joke.

Shadow Prime Minister Simon Crean's comments about the coming negotiations on AM the other day caught me entirely flat-footed. Mr Crean remarked:

Well, they have taken a lot of time and we've seen no details so I will be interested in today's announcement as to just what the detail is.

What I've consistently said in relation to this is that any agreement has to be comprehensive, it has to include agriculture for example, and we will be wanting to see out of today's announcement whether it is comprehensive, whether it does include agriculture.

Obviously I've missed another major event in the world of politics yet again. I had no idea that the National Farmers Federation had registered as a trade union and affiliated with the ALP. Still, I suppose that might explain the ugly demarcation dispute they had with the Maritime Union of Australia a few years ago. It's the only explanation that I can find for this insistence that the FTA has to cover agriculture - as usual the ALP is looking after its trade union backers. Of course where this leaves the National Party is anybody's guess, although blind-sided and without a constituency would probably be close to the mark.

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