How the Senate helped derail the TPP talks

2 Aug 2015

Negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement have run aground on Washington’s attempt to restrict rather than free up medicines

Winston Churchill’s famous description of Russia as a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” could equally well be applied to the Australian Senate. It’s unlikely that one in a hundred Australian voters could explain how the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, represented (quite ably, so far) by Ricky Muir, came to hold a seat in our upper house, or describe the arcane rules associated with a double dissolution. The one thing anyone with any interest in politics knows is that the Senate, because of its power to block legislation, has been the bane of prime ministers of both political parties for generations.

Most people outside Australia are, of course, unaware of the very existence of this mysterious body. Last week, however, the Australian Senate appeared on the world stage, extending its blocking power to frustrate the initiatives of the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama…

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