PUSH FOR DARWIN PORT TO BE NATIONALISED: TO END CHINESE OWNERSHIP OF STRATEGIC NORTHERN ASSET

GOOD … someone in Canberra has the gumption to speak his mind!

IF the Darwin Port is not nationalised and returned to

its rightful Owners …

because Australia is such a competitive and free enterprise nation …

we should set up a competitor Port just around the corner and capture the jobs that are going to Landbridge …

FANCY selling out this Port for $5M a year!

For those fearful of a War … currently the Trojan Horse is well underway …

Push for Darwin Port to be nationalised to end Chinese ownership of strategic northern asset

Exclusive by defence correspondent Andrew Greene

5 AUGUST 2019

A sign at Darwin's East Arm Wharf shows that it is part of Chinese company Landbridge Group

PHOTO: Nick Champion says there was “not enough consideration of the national interest” in privatising Darwin Port. (ABC News: Xavier La Canna)

RELATED STORY: ‘A seriously dumb idea’: Why did the NT lease Darwin’s port to China?

RELATED STORY: Can the Darwin Port’s 99-year lease to China be reversed?

A Labor MP has become the first federal politician to call for the controversial Chinese lease on Darwin Port to be scrapped, so it can be placed back into Australian control.

Key points:

  • Labor’s Nick Champion leading charge to ‘nationalise’ Darwin Port in a view shared across the political divide
  • Push comes amid concerns over Beijing’s steady military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region
  • Mr Champion rejects suggestions move to nationalise the port would unnecessarily anger China

South Australian backbencher Nick Champion is leading the charge to “nationalise” the strategic northern access point, but the ABC has spoken to others across the political divide who share his concerns.

“I think there was not enough consideration of the national interest in that particular privatisation of this port,” Mr Champion told the ABC.

In 2015, the Northern Territory Government announced Chinese company Landbridge had been awarded a 99-year lease of Darwin port in a $500 million deal.

Concerns over Beijing’s steady military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region have since prompted renewed concerns about the foreign ownership of Australia’s northern-most port.

At top-level talks in Sydney over the weekend, the Australian Government again joined the United States in expressing alarm over reports China is moving to establish a new military base in a Cambodian port.

Mr Champion, who is the deputy chair of Federal Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, believes the Commonwealth should now consider buying Darwin Port back.

“It’s a very important port because we have significant defence facilities in the Northern Territory and that’s the part of the world I guess we have to pay a great deal of attention to,” he said.

“We should look pretty clearly at making sure that that port is in government hands, and it’s for those reasons I think it should be nationalised.”

Darwin port

PHOTO: Several MPs on both sides of the political divide have told the ABC they share concerns over the port’s foreign ownership. (Carl Curtain)

The ABC has spoken to several MPs on both sides of politics who privately share concerns about Darwin Port’s foreign ownership, but unlike Mr Champion, they are not yet prepared to go public.

“His concerns are spot on, but right now Beijing holds some pretty powerful economic levers against Australia, so any move that could annoy the Chinese Government is pretty dangerous,” one Coalition MP told the ABC.

Mr Champion has, however, rejected suggestions that moving to nationalise Darwin Port would unnecessarily anger Australia’s largest trading partner.

“This should be an assertion of our national sovereignty, of our national interest and I think if it’s put in those terms, then companies, and others, can make their own understandings about why we’ve done it,” he said.

“Given that we’re entering into really the most uncertain strategic environment since the 1930s that we should be prudent, that we should be rational and the best way to be prudent and rational is to bring it into government hands“.

.VIDEO: China attempts global dominance with One Belt One Road project (ABC News)

Neil James from the Australia Defence Association has welcomed the renewed focus on the foreign ownership of Darwin Port.

“It just goes to show how sensible people grasp the sovereignty and security implications,” he said.

“The idea of nationalising it is a good one — but it may be better to spend the money on purpose-designed facilities elsewhere.”

The ABC revealed in June that secret talks had begun on a new port facility just outside Darwin, which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacificbut the Defence Department has consistently denied involvement in any such proposal.

Then US President Barack Obama address US and Australian troops at RAAF Base Darwin in November 17, 2011.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama declared the US “always will be a Pacific power”. (White House: Pete Souza)

A sign on the fence of the cruise ship terminal.

PHOTO: Darwin Port’s cruise ship terminal, which now falls under Landbridge’s purview. (ABC News)

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-05/push-to-nationalise-darwin-port/11382422

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