FROM THE COMMENTS …
‘ … Look at the facts.
We have had Chinese billionaires slapping wads of cash about both sides of politics. We have had Australia lay doggo on Hong Kong. We have had Australia do nothing about Chinese security types turning up at our universities to tone down any Uiyghur or Hong Kong related protest. We have Australian universities plugging into Chinese security apparatus with design work.
We have how many people pinged for illegally buying Australian real estate? Or laundering corruption proceeds?
Australia with its current posture is a liability to the concept of ‘Western democracy’ – and both sides of politics are central to that. And China is the major geopolitical beneficiary of that policymaking squeamishness.’
28 October 2019
Photo: When three high-tech Chinese warships sailed into Sydney Harbour on what appeared to be an unannounced visit, suspicions were raised
ALP and LNP have “understanding” to protect CCP influence
October 28, 2019 | 10 comments
Via the Daily Mail:
The Labor Party has been reluctant to seek answers on why the Chinese frigates sailed into Sydney Harbour.
The Opposition’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong, who hails from Labor’s left faction, didn’t pursue the issue in Senate Budget estimates committees last week.
The Labor Opposition failed to ask even one question about this on either Wednesday or Thursday, as it grilled senior executive public servants from the Defence and Foreign Affairs departments.
The Senate committee instead spent its time questioning Defence officials about building cladding and ship building in Adelaide.
Daily Mail Australia understands Senator Wong wanted other issues raised instead of this surprise visit of Chinese frigates.
While China’s human rights abuses, Hong Kong pro-democracy protests and the disputed South China Sea were discussed, the issue of the Chinese warships wasn’t asked about once.
Instead, Senator Wong spent half an hour on Thursday pursuing Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her department secretary Frances Adamson about the 2016 US presidential election.
Even though only senators could ask questions on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, Senator Wong’s spokesman referred Daily Mail Australia to Labor’s defence spokesman Richard Marles, who sits in the House of Representatives.
A spokeswoman for Mr Marles, Labor’s deputy leader, said Opposition senators were unable to ask every question they wanted to, adding there could be another opportunity by the end of the year as Defence officials were grilled again.
The Labor Opposition failed to ask one question about the Chinese naval visit (Sydney’s Garden Island pictured) on either Wednesday or Thursday, as it grilled executive public servants from the defence and foreign affairs departments
‘Pending the committee’s approval, Labor would welcome the opportunity of a spill over day for Defence estimates,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Any opportunity for a spill over day would be used by Labor to raise questions on the issues which are keenly in the public’s interest.
‘Labor will use estimates to hold the government to account.’
Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells in June slammed her own side of politics for allowing the Chinese warships visit in June.
‘Scott Morrison’s cabinet of groupthinkers and those responsible for the decision have sought refuge in appeasement,’ she wrote in a column for The Australian.
‘They were totally outmanoeuvred by Beijing.’
*New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian knew nothing of the visit, but a troupe of flag-waving Chinese citizens (pictured) were on hand to greet the ships as they docked at Garden Island*
Despite raising those concerns, Senator Fierravanti-Wells also failed to raise that issue on Wednesday or Thursday, even though she is a member of this parliamentary committee charged with probing Defence and Foreign Affairs officials.
Daily Mail Australia contacted her for a response.
Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University’s Canberra campus, said there was ‘no doubt’ backbench MPs and senators from both sides of politics were pressured into refraining from asking questions about China’s defence interests.
‘What is illustrates is the Morrison Government have become ultra-sensitive about doing anything that Beijing might take offence to,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Professor Hamilton, the author of Silent Invasion: China’s Influence In Australia, said the government ‘seems to have clamped down on those backbenchers who wanted to express their concern about continuing Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia and in the Pacific’.
Instead, Labor’s foreign affairs frontbencher Penny Wong (pictured) spent half an hour on Thursday pursuing Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her department secretary Frances Adamson about the 2016 US presidential election
Professor Hamilton said there appeared to be an arrangement between the major parties to tone down any criticism of China, adding there were MPs tainted by Chinese donations.
‘Both sides of politics are politically compromised by their dealings with wealthy donors and having people in the party who are agents of influence,’ he said.
‘Generally, there’s a kind of truce between the two major parties that “we won’t attack you if don’t attack us” and we’ve seen that over and over again.
‘An understanding: I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy.’
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank said China gained a lot more from the surprise visit to Sydney than Australia did.
Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells in June slammed her own side of politics for allowing the Chinese visit on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. This week, she failed to raise this matter with Defence chiefs in Senate estimates.
‘One of the most common arguments in favour of military-to-military relations between the Australian Defence Force and the People’s Liberation Army is that such exchanges are supposed to improve the ADF’s understanding of the PLA and vice versa,’ researcher Charlie Lyons Jones told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I think it’s worth asking what the ADF got out of the visit because that, to me, seems unclear.’
ASPI’s director of defence, strategy and national security Michael Shoebridge said Australia needed to fear President Xi and be wary of defence arrangements with China.
‘The Australian public is well ahead of both sides of politics in understanding that it is not in Australia’s interest to increase the military capability or influence of the PLA either through research in our universities or through our direct defence relationship,’ he said.
He added that China’s authoritarian regime was ‘using its political, strategic, technological and economic power in the world in ways that are against Australia’s national interests, both in our region and inside Australia domestically’.
I sincerely wish that this was just conspiracy theory.