The Chinese embassy has raised its “great concern” with the Australian government that hundreds of Chinese PhD students hoping to start their studies here have endured long visa delays.
“The reasons for the delays have not been clearly explained,” an embassy spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age via email. “We have raised this issue with relevant Australian agencies. We will continue to do that and hope it could be properly addressed.”
Australian experts have warned about the risk of Chinese researchers’ work here being applied in ways that are contrary to Australia’s interests when the researchers return home to China, and the United States is increasingly competing with China in the academic sphere.
Against that backdrop a group of about 230 Chinese students, who have connected on social media platforms, said they had been waiting months — and in some cases more than a year — longer than normal for a visa.
*Most of them are studying in the science, technology, engineering, maths and medical fields, with many supported by scholarships.
The delays have prevented them taking up jobs, separated couples and cost some students their scholarships, the students said. Using publicly available visa processing data, the students said Chinese postgraduate students were less likely to get their visas than applicants from other countries.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs disputed those claims. “The [students’] analysis … uses incorrect methodologies to draw conclusions from Home Affairs data,” the spokeswoman said.
Chinese international students are subject to the same requirements as other students, the spokeswoman said, and applicants are overwhelmingly likely to get their visa. Processing times for Chinese students, which includes undergraduates, are no longer on average than those for other students.
How long students wait depends on a “complexity of assessments in relation to health, character and national security requirements,” the spokeswoman said.
Chi Ming, whose long-term girlfriend’s visa has been delayed since August, forcing her to reapply for a scholarship, said his partner’s life was in limbo while she waited to hear whether she could come to Australia.
“During this waiting period, since you have no idea when the result will be released, you cannot be involved in a long term job,” said Chi Ming, who declined to give his real name due to concerns his girlfriend’s application might suffer.
Some of the students said they were afraid they were caught in the middle of a geopolitical conflict.
A geologist who has been waiting for more than a year for his visa said he was afraid an element of his work involving natural uranium reactions in stone had been misinterpreted as having nuclear applications.
But, the geologist said, “it’s just to count how many fission tracks are in the stone to tell you how old is the stone”.
*John Fitzgerald,a China expert at Swinburne University, said Australia was right to carefully scrutinise the research students it allows into the country because the Chinese government selects students to go overseas through its scholarship programs whose research interests align with its priorities.
“It’s not just about defence at all, it’s also about geo-strategic competition on innovation,” Professor Fitzgerald said.
Jia Xu, another student who spoke under a pseudonym and is hoping to study at Monash University, said he appreciated Australia could reject his application for its own reasons. But he is angry the government has provided so little information on the progress of his application, beyond a status in an online account.
“Even though they have the right to reject me, they just let me wait and didn’t tell me any reasons,” Mr Xu said.
Having grown up in the spotlight, with his father Michael also a member of parliament, Mr Hodgman has a unique insight into the toll that politics can take on family.
His resignation speech made clear that toll was on his mind.
“It’s undeniable that it’s had an impact on my family,” he said.
He made mention that his 17 and a half years in Parliament encompassed his and wife Nicky’s “children’s whole lives”.
“It does have an impact on my family, and I cannot deny that I’m conscious of that — what they read in the paper and what they see on the news can affect them,” he said.
Surprise all in the timing
But even before Tuesday’s hastily announced press conference, there was plenty of speculation that Mr Hodgman would not stay on for his Government’s full second term — not due to end until 2022.Rhiana Whitson✔@rhianawhitson
He went as far as to stress to the media and everyone listening at home that he “honestly didn’t finally arrive at [the decision to resign] until the last day or so”.
“I’ve always said I’d give this job 100 per cent every single day I do it, and I believed that I would continue to do so in this role, but I’ve taken time to reflect with my family over the Christmas period,” he said.
“It’s unlikely and indeed would not be the case that I would contest the next election, so this gives new leadership an opportunity at this point in time.”
Leaving Tasmania ‘in a better place than when we started’
Mr Hodgman said it was unclear what his next move would be once he was replaced by the Liberal partyroom — expected to occur next week — and officially resigns.
The Chinese government’s use of the social credit system, repression of Uighur muslims and crackdown on Hong Kong protesters presents an “existential threat” to the world, the US-based Human Rights Watch organisation has warned, as it heaps pressure on the United Nations to publicly condemn Beijing.
In a 652 page global report heavily focussed on the Chinese government, the advocacy group said, if not challenged, Beijing’s actions “portend a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors” and “an international human rights system so weakened that it no longer serves as a check on government repression”.
The Chinese mission to the UN interrupted the press conference in New York on Wednesday morning to condemn the findings. “The report is full of prejudices and fabrications and ignores the factual information provided by my government,” spokesman Ji Shing told the media briefing.
Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth had originally planned to present the report in Hong Kong but was barred from entering by authorities on Sunday. In a tense exchange, Mr Roth was told by Mr Ji, the report “made it clear” why he was denied entry.Advertisement
“We have been making every effort to advance human rights,” said Mr Ji. “[China’s] human rights story has been one of the most successful, including lifting up to 750 million people out of poverty. Any report that fails to mention this fails to be balanced and neutral.”
The report noted an estimated one million Muslims are being indefinitely held in “political education” camps in the northwestern Xinjiang region where they are forced to disavow their identity and swear loyalty to the Communist Party. In Hong Kong authorities have arrested nearly 7000 people and denied at least 17 applications for pro-democracy protests since June.
“This is the most severe repression that we have seen in decades in China, going back to the cultural revolution,” Mr Roth said in New York.ReplayMuteCurrent Time 1:42/Duration 1:42Loaded: 100.00% Fullscreen
China’s ambassador has delivered a veiled threat to Australia to keep quiet about human rights abuses or risk losing billions in Chinese investment.Python Bowl 2020 kicks off
Human Rights Watch director denied entry to Hong Kong
Human Rights Watch director denied entry to Hong Kong
China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye strongly rejected allegations in December about the treatment of Uighurs, maintaining the reports of mass detention in Xinjiang were “utterly fake news” and that the camps were used for vocational education training and to reduce the threat of terrorism. He urged Australia and other western powers to stop meddling in China’s internal affairs and to have a better “understanding of China’s achievements so far”.
The Human Rights Watch report said the “social credit system” which the Chinese government has instituted in some areas to reward good conduct and punish bad behaviour such as jaywalking and failure to pay court fees, had now become an “off the shelf” product available to other countries – opening the door to a proliferation of surveillance states.
Mr Roth said global leaders “should stop pretending that quiet diplomacy suffices” and strongly criticised UN secretary general António Guterres for a lack of public advocacy on human rights issues.
“Unless we want to return to an era where people are pawns to be discarded according to the whims of their overlords the Chinese government’s attacks on human rights must be resisted,” he said.
“If you make some private representation in the back room of a foreign ministry it doesn’t change anything.”
Mr Roth also urged US President Donald Trump to maintain human rights pressure on China’s President Xi Jinping as the two countries move closer to signing a trade deal after a dispute that has roiled markets for more than two years.
The first phase of the deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday, US time.
AUSTRALIA now confronted with allegations of ‘politically motivated’ VISA delays … but not only does Visa Manipulationthreaten our National Security with foreign students somehow infringing intellectual property, and transferring sensitive technology to Chinese Government authorities …
BUT Visa Manipulation has had many negative ramifications for Our Society … with such cunning the CCP has silently taken ownership of much of Australia’s sovereignty … it is now building its City, Chatswood with the Hong Kong Consortium MTR Sydney Metro privatising what were publicly owned heavy rail lines … advancing across Sydney north, south and west …
The Department of Home Affairs has been accused of delaying the visa applications of Chinese PhD candidates, with prospective students telling state media they were victims of “politically motivated setbacks”.
The students say cool relations between Beijing and Canberra may be to blame
Home Affairs says its assessment requirements are “not specific to Chinese nationals”
Concern is growing over how research collaboration with China may be used
A group of 135 Chinese PhD students and 30 other visiting students sent an email to the state-owned Global Times tabloid newspaper, saying they had all experienced lengthy delays on their Australian student visa applications.
*Asked whether national security concerns were driving the alleged visa slow-down, Home Affairs told the ABC processing times were driven by a range of factors, including “assessments in relation to health, character and national security requirements”.
“These requirements are not new and they are not specific to Chinese nationals,” Home Affairs said in a statement.
*It said the student visa grant rate for visa applicants for Chinese postgraduate students was 98.9 per cent, which was slightly higher than the overall grant rate of 98.6 per cent.
The University of Melbourne told the ABC it was supporting prospective PhD students “from various countries” experiencing slower-than-expected processing times.
In a statement, it said there were in many cases “considerable delays” in getting their visas approved.
“[The University of Melbourne] is communicating with the Government about this matter to help them to understand the problems caused for the students and for the University by these delays,” it said.
“*At a broad level, there is increasing anxiety about Chinese party state influence and interference in Australia, this has extended into research collaboration, and recently into individuals that are conducting research,” Mr Ni said.
*”Certainly the cases are quite disturbing that came to light over the last decade about researchers that are conducting espionage or somehow infringing intellectual property.“
“Based on research we conducted a few years ago, most Chinese students don’t read English language news, but browsing WeChat is a must-do activity every day,” said Jiang Ying, a senior media lecturer at the University of Adelaide.
While these accounts usually post stories about popular restaurants, discounts, and other lifestyle topics, Dr Jiang said the revenue model meant sensationalism, nationalism, and fake news were also frequently served up.
“The main purpose of these accounts is to generate revenue since the number of views defines their advertising income,” she said.
“Therefore, eye-catching titles, sensational journalism, exaggerated facts, rumours are seen on these accounts.”
Beat-ups from Australian WeChat accounts have covered everything from “secret” nuclear pollution to the return of the White Australia Policy — so what are these accounts, and why are they popular?
‘Breaking! ISIS officially announced their Australia attack!’
One of the most successful WeChat news accounts in Australia is Australian Red Scarf, named after the red scarves worn by Chinese primary school students who join the Young Pioneers, a kid version of Communist Party membership.
Co-founded in April 2016 by former international student Nathan Wu, the account is run by 15 staff members serving around 200,000 subscribers.
Mr Wu told the ABC he did not think his small business produced news, but instead acted more as a distribution platform, sourcing and translating stories from the Australian media.
Nathan Wu said the article was “a big mistake”, and the editor responsible for the piece was subsequently fired.
Other Australia-based accounts have also had their content pulled by WeChat’s moderator. One of the most notable examples was from an account named Australian Mirror, which in March sensationally claimed Starbucks coffee caused cancer.
Xinhua news agency said the Australian Mirror account was “spreading rumours under the banner of overseas media”, and that the article had “caused some public panic”.
Another account, simply named “Australia” and billing itself as “Australia’s authoritative public platform”, just last week announced that the “White Australia Policy was back!” in the headline of an article about changes to the citizenship application process.
WeChat last month pulled an article from the same account after it claimed “cancer can be completely cured from now on” following a fake discovery by Australian scientists.
‘It’s like fusing Gawker, People’s Daily, and Breitbart’
The article featured a map of China often used in state media that includes Taiwan and the contested South China Sea as part of China — and under the map, the question “Australia, can you stop now?” was repeated three times.
*Last week it published an article critical of the Australian National University’s decision to no longer allow international students to intern with politicians, tying it to Australia’s “groundless fear” of Chinese influence.
Australian Red Scarf also criticised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s comments late last year against Chinese interference in Australian politics.
“Some of these accounts, like [Australian] Red Scarf for example, bring together the worst of both worlds — the dogmatism of Chinese state media and the sensationalism of non-traditional media,” said Kevin Carrico, a lecturer in Chinese studies at Macquarie University.
“It’s like fusing the Global Times and Gawker, People’s Daily, and Breitbart.”
Mr Wu said his publication made these sorts of comments “to attract the young audience”.
“We are a private business. Our income source is mainly advertisement … We have no connection with Beijing,” he said.
He said international students were interested in Australian politics, especially policy changes affecting education and immigration.
Chinese audiences ignored by Australian media
Zhengyi Tian, a 25-year-old Chinese-Australian student at the University of Melbourne and one of WeChat’s three million Australian users, told the ABC he was a reader of stories on the platform every day.
“You can get a general understanding of some news stories, but the quality and objectivity of the news coverage is not good enough,” he said, adding that he sometimes cross-checked what he read with more reputable sources.
“There should be a media watch to monitor these types of [WeChat] accounts and share some of the unfounded misinformation they are spreading,” he said.
The Australian Press Council said in a statement it had for some time been concerned about the impact of technological and other changes faced by the media industry in Australia on journalism, and continues to carefully monitor these changes.
Pundits predicting the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party have been proven wrong decade after decade.
IN response to this report CAAN will focus on where it appears China, the CCP, poses a threat to Australian society is whether the CCP can continue to provide economic benefits for the Chinese … with its growth having slowed in China, and having the fastest ageing society in the World …
IS this why Xi Jinping has been encouraging the migration of his people and investment across the World especially in the United States, Canada, Africa, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere? Whereby they now continue to grow their families across the Globe …
WITH 1.4 Billion Chinese … despite having an ageing population … such a huge number impacts the World with the rapid consumption of resources, pollution and their contribution to climate change through increased Co2 emissions, a consequence of urbanisation (high thermal mass from high density living in high-rise built of concrete, bricks, steel and glass)
OTHER societies … as a consequence of the Silent Invasion of China (through immigration and foreign investment) have cut their birth rate unable to attain a home or obtain secure work in their own country … such is the negative impact of China’s high growth, the competition from their ‘hot money‘ and sadly Government policies in Australia, for example, that are favourable to Chinese investment and immigration to the detriment of Australians! …
China’s Communist Party is at a fatal age for one-party regimes. How much longer can it survive?
But one-party governments have rarely survived longer than 70 years: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ruled for 74 years before the bloc collapsed in 1991, and Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party retained power for 71 years until its defeat in the 2000 elections.
Analysts say while there’s no time limit on authoritarian governments, the CCP’s one-party rule may not be sustainable in the long run despite its past resilience and distinctiveness from other regimes.
But to look at when and how China could eventually undergo political reform, it’s important to first understand how the CCP has kept its grip on power for so long.
Rory Truex, assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, told the ABC the CCP was unique in terms of how it has mitigated the two major threats to authoritarian regimes — coups and revolutions.
To prevent the former, Mr Truex said the party had a system to ensure the transfer of power from one leader to the next happened “relatively peacefully”.
Meanwhile, the regime has safeguarded itself from a revolution by “governing reasonably well to keep the population happy, so they have no desire to revolt”, and through controlling information and repression, Mr Truex said.
*Michael Albertus, co-author of Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy, said the CCP staked its legitimacy on national development and had delivered on that promise in an incredible manner, lifting half a billion people out of poverty in recent decades.
At the same time Beijing has used its power to censor and eliminate what it sees as threats to its legitimacy.
Mr Truex noted the Communist Party was arguably “the most sophisticated regime” in terms of repression and controlling and distorting information with the use of the internet, technology, censorship and propaganda.
“The takeaway is that this is a smart authoritarian regime, and they’ve figured out the threat to their power and managed to mitigate those threats,” Mr Truex said.
“But there is some evidence that some of this might be changing under Xi Jinping, and some of the things that actually made the Communist Party strong might be eroding under his rule.”
The contrast between China today and the Soviet Union before its collapse couldn’t be more stark.
By the time Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, the economy was already in decline, and his aim was to revive it with two major reforms: perestroika and glasnost (economic reform and political opening).
Sarah Percy, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Queensland, wrote recently that the economic reforms invited public criticism — but “the problem with allowing some criticism is that it becomes impossible to control”.
“Once people were allowed to speak out in some areas, they inevitably began to do so in others, challenging the state’s control over political issues as well as economic ones,” she wrote.
Glasnost opened up a Pandora’s box of free speech, with decreased media censorship allowing criticism of government officials.
Maria Repnikova, a political scientist at Georgia State University, told the ABC the collapse of the Soviet Union turned it into an “anti-model” for the Chinese regime.
“[It’s] something that the party-state in part blames on Gorbachev’s shock therapy reform that yielded a dramatic and uncontrollable political opening,” she told the ABC.
“That’s something that the [People’s Republic of China] wants to avoid at all costs through a combination of responsiveness and pervasive control.”
Ms Repnikova, author of the book Media Politics in China, says Beijing has been obsessed with grasping and guiding public opinion, managing crises with large-scale exposés in both traditional and social media.
How is the CCP different from other one-party regimes?
Experts also attribute the longevity of the CCP’s rule to its ability to learn and adapt.
Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, noted the party was flexible in that it wasn’t “too strung up on ideology”.
While North Korea’s one-party rule is also quite distinctive, with the Kim family dynasty functioning almost like a monarchy, its notoriously closed-off political system has severely limited any opportunities for economic growth.
“I’ve always thought that North Korea today resembles in some sense China under Mao,” Mr Truex said.
“You might call it totalitarian, where the party itself has complete control over peoples’ lives and [is] in complete control over the flow of information.”
Graeme Smith from the Australian National University said the CCP realised very early on — even before it came to power in 1949 — that having regular purges to purify the Party’s ranks was not going to work as a long-term strategy.
He said in Cambodia, purges contributed to the toppling of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
While the CCP had also purged a large number of party members in the past, it later turned its sights on a party rectification strategy.
“If you’re found to be ideologically suspect or have engaged in activities the party doesn’t approve of, then efforts will be made to [make] you right,” Dr Smith explained.
“[It’s] the idea that all cadres are basically good and they could be reformed by thought work.”
But Dr Smith added that Mr Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign on so-called “tigers and flies” — a slang phrase referring to high-ranking officials and local civil servants — had made him many enemies since he became President.
He said this would include some powerful people who may in the future come after him.
Mr Diamond from Stanford University told the ABC that while there was no “iron law” dictating that one-party regimes must collapse after 70 or 80 years, he also didn’t believe Communist one-party rule was sustainable in the long run.
“On the other hand, Communist Party rulers are keenly looking forward to the Chinese Communist Party becoming the most powerful political force in the world in 2049, when the regime would turn 100, and I don’t think that will happen,” he said.
“While the political effects of modernisation have been slowed and delayed by multiple factors, including the regime’s intense management of information and Orwellian levels of repression and surveillance, the regime faces the same long-run contradiction that other autocracies have.”
Mr Diamond says people’s values change when they have more income and a higher level of education, and eventually “they want more autonomy, more dignity, more freedom and more control over their own lives”.
“A lot of people are leaving, or have left, because they can’t get this freedom and autonomy in China — certainly not now under the tightening grip of Communist Party control,” he said.
“It’s true that some people are returning for the Thousand Talents Program or related opportunities … it’s also true that there has been a recent surge in nationalism among the young.
“Still, if I were the CCP, I would be concerned about the [longer-running] trends, and the basic contradictions in the system.“
FROM: ABC Report MERITON Sydney Olympic Park 2018: Chinese text.
07 FEBRUARY 2016 MERITON launches its Chinese Website to promote its residential apartment developments, townhouses and hotels to its Market … in the year of the Clever Monkey …
MAY 2016: Property developer Harry Triguboff tops the 2016BRWRich 200 list for the first time, as a surging real estate market changes the face of wealth in Australia.
Mr Triguboff, owner and head of Meriton Group, number one on the BRWRich List with $10.62 billion wealth. May 26, 2016
CAN we thank Harry for more Chinese coming into Australia every day?
100% of Meriton apartments sold to Chinese Communist Party members … the CCP!
Of course, they love it here … and until now they were able to breathe fresh air … Sydney and Melbourne are more like home … Beijing, Shanghai … Hotan … with bush fire smoke shroud …
Meriton apartments with views of motorways … and surrounds of high-rise precincts … they love it here … they love it ALMOST as much as We Australians love it here!
We Australians welcome them to come and visit … spend their ‘hot money’ in tours, sites, theatres, restaurants,our Department Stores, and then fly away … back home!
2019 … we are still in the Year of the Pig!
This is a Year of Earth Pig, starting from Feb. 5, 2019 (Chinese NewYear) and lasting to Jan. 24, 2020.
MAY 2019: Property developer, Harry Triguboff … despite Meriton”s 100% China Market … slipped down a spot to be named Australia’s third richest person in 2019. HT increased his wealth by $770M in the past year … that’s the $$ not in a haven … a net worth of $13.54B in the AFR Rich List May 31, 2019
WHY not copy and paste this and share with your email contacts! More people need to know how Our Town has been taken over! … Many wonder but don’t know how! *
‘DESTINATION’ … after flying in to buy … awake in tranquility at Meriton serviced apartments down the road …
‘Destination,’ the apartment precinct for sale on Talavera Road formerly Macquarie Park Business and IT Park … devil’s transformation and expansion of the Chinese CP city of Chatswoo in Macquarie Park … overlooking the M2 Motorway … view through the grey smog the highrise commercial towers cluttering Sydney …
“Destination’ on a massive site largely occupying the block on Talavera Road … grey smog sky … looks like that in China … and around Macquarie Park the new residents wear masks!
Tree Protection Zone … with high-rise Precincts like that of Meriton … this is what happens to Australia’s gum trees … gone! 2019 … except at Harry’s Vaucluse Harbourside Huxter mansion … with its magnificent bushland grounds …
MERITON LAUNCHES CHINESE WEBSITE
Already offering the services of bi-lingual agents across its business, Meriton has now launched its new Chinese website www.meriton.com.au/cn
Photo: The Australian; April 2019 Triguboff makes Meriton’s First Move into the Melbourne Market
Covering all the information already available on the English Meriton website, the Chinese version will make navigating the search for property much easier.
According to Meriton boss, Harry Triguboff, building the Chinese website was very important to streamline the process when searching for, and purchasing, property.
“You don’t want to battle with language barriers when you are looking to buy property,” Meriton managing director, Harry Triguboff said.
“There are more Chinese coming into the country every day and they are looking for somewhere to buy either to live or as an investment.
“The familiarity of their own language while viewing property should make their task easier,” he said.
Chinese Australians are considered one of the largest groups of overseas Chinese people and the largest community in Oceania.
“The Chinese love it here,” Mr Triguboff said.
“They love the space, the larger size of our apartments, the expansive views of our magnificent harbour, the height of our apartments and most of all they can breathe fresh air.
“Many who come to visit, end up coming back to stay.
“In what is widely referred to as the Asian Century, we must embrace this community and encourage others who wish to immigrate,” he said.
In 2018 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first officially recorded Chinese migrant, Mak Sai Ying.
Many others followed during the great Gold Rush of the early 1850s looking to make their home and fortune.
Through their hard physical work and the determination to make a good life and provide a good education for their children, Chinese Australians have excelled academically. This is the year of the monkey which symbolises cleverness.2016
This country has felt deep appreciation for the genius of surgeons such as heart surgeon the late Victor Chang and neurologist, Charlie Teo who have saved, and through their research, continue to save countless lives.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Chinese a very safe and happy Lunar New Year.
Members of an events committee at a Sydney council sought the opinion of the Chinese consulate on receiving sponsorship from an Australian-owned media company over fears it may be deemed “anti-China”.
The Georges River Council Major Events Advisory Committee (MEAC) committee members raised concerns that news outlet Vision China Times supported Falun Gong – a movement labelled a “heretical cult” by the Chinese Communist Party – a day before the sponsorship deal was hastily scrapped.
“I am aware that member(s) of MEAC directly contacted the Office of the Chinese Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China … to ascertain it views on the sponsorship,” then-acting general manager David Tuxford, who was at the meeting, said in a file note of the January 16, 2018 meeting.
In that file note, among a bundle of documents discovered under freedom of information laws, Mr Tuxford said a Chinese consulate representative contacted the council a day after the meeting, expressing concerns about Vision China Times sponsoring the council’s Lunar New Year event due to the organisation being “politically anti-China”.
He said that “as acting GM, due to the concerns raised and decisions made by MEAC, as well as the correspondence received from the Consulate General” he supported a decision to cancel the sponsorship deal.
Councillor Vince Badalati, who chaired the MEAC meeting, told the Herald the committee decided to “sound out” the views of the consulate, as it had been a long-time supporter of the Lunar New Year event, but denied having heard what the consul-general’s position was until later that year.
“We were aware of the angst between the chinese consulate and the Falun Dafa [aka Falun Gong],” Cr Badalati said.
Critics of the paper, including those opposed to its occasionally critical reporting of the Chinese Communist Party, have long spread rumours that it is linked to the Falun Gong, although this has never been substantiated and is vehemently denied by the Vision China Times.
A motion will be moved at the next council meeting to immediately disband the MEAC following revelations aired in a joint investigation by the Herald and ABC’s Four Corners that the Chinese Government bullied the council to black ban sponsorships by the newspaper.
The council officially told Vision China Times its sponsorship was cancelled as the council wanted to focus on its existing media partners for the upcoming event.
Cr Badalati confirmed to the Herald he had been in a November 8 meeting with council executive Fiona Campbell in which he described Vision China Times’ sponsorship as a “problem” and raised concerns that the Consul-General would not attend the 2019 Lunar New Year event. It is not suggesting that Badalati, or any other individual councillor, made the decision to terminate the sponsorship alone.
“You’ve got to understand the event’s been going since 2002 or 2003 and the consulate had been supportive of it from day one,” Cr Badalati said.
In a November 12 email Georges River general manager Gail Connolly emailed Cr Badalati in response to his “recent enquiries regarding the Vision China Times and Falun Dafa association”, stating the MEAC cancelled the sponsorship “as the Chinese Consul-General claimed the media group was ‘politically anti-China.”
But at a November 26 council meeting Cr Badalati said claims of foreign pressure were “based on no facts at all”.
He later told the Herald he meant that he had never personally been pressured by the Chinese consulate.
“I have never been contacted by them,” he said.
General manager Gail Connolly said at the November 26 meeting that information detailing the consul-general’s position on the sponsorship deal was relayed to the MEAC members after the January meeting, to which Cr Badalati stood up and replied “that is not true.”
In a statement issued earlier this month, the council said the MEAC acted outside its authority in cancelling the Vision China Times sponsorship.
The Chinese government has since rejected claims it interferes in Australia’s domestic politics and accused Australian media outlets of “colluding with a heretical cult Falun Gong”.
It comes after the Herald reported Crs Badalati and Con Hindi were referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption over a 2016 Chinese trip they took with a developer, whose projects they helped push through without declaring any conflict of interest.
The Herald is not suggesting the circumstances are linked to the more recent scandal involving the council.
2017: Australia’s second richest man was almost stopped from fleeing from China to Australia in 1948 by a government decision that split his family forever …
AT CAAN we found there were still a few gaps to be filled. It is a bit of a read but well worth taking the time …
Within the article he is described as his father’s son … and this is borne out in his immense ability to accumulate wealth … his business acumen … and drawing on the childhood he spent in China to later become the means by which he became as Managing Director of MERITON,Australia’s biggestresidential propertydeveloper … was it Harry Triguboff through the Developer Lobby, the Urban Taskforce that convinced the government to increase the sell-off of ‘new homes’ from 50% to 100% overseas? And thus pioneered selling apartments to the Chinese through the FIRB Ruling.
By which means aspiring Australian First Home Buyers have been locked out by the huge competition of Chinese buyers laundering ‘black money’ in our domestic housing …
As for the money, do you believe for one minute, that the Triguboffs arrived with only some?
It seems at best disingenuous, or the very least a misinterpretation of what a lot of money was in 1948!
Ask yourself, who paid what to:
-escape China -who paid the fares -who paid the school fees/uni fees/ living expenses
It takes more than working hard to do what he did.
Some understanding of his attitude to authority is gained in the article, but why should he be treated any different to others? That’s the real question … what has happened so that he has won more than anyone else?
Is there a cloud out there, a veil that will only be lifted when he finally goes to the other place?
*Perhaps then the truth will emerge about the past, and hopefully due process available to communities across Sydney and elsewhere will have a chance to be heard, respected and achieve outcomes that are more about amenity than profit …
HARRY TRIGUBOFF’S DARK SECRET – THE 19 YEAR STRUGGLE THAT SPLIT HIS FAMILY
Harry Triguboff, meeting the AFR Magazine at his home in Sydney’s Vaucluse, breaks his silence about the one battle he couldn’t win: “I didn’t cry at the time; I cried all those years later.”
Geoff Winestock AFR Woodcut
by Geoff Winestock
Dec 8, 2017
Harry Triguboff is the hard man of Australian property. He is known for his sharp temper and his public battles with everyone from Reserve Bank governors and prime ministers to state politicians, planning bureaucrats and anyone else who gets in the way of his huge apartment construction machine, Meriton.
But there was one moment when the hardened Triguboff gave a small glimpse into the turmoil that he buries deep inside. It was 1994 when Triguboff was aged 61, his wealth and fame as “High Rise Harry” well established.
In front of 800 pupils at Sydney’s Moriah College, he took the podium at the first school assembly in the Moshe Triguboff Auditorium, newly built with his money. A small article published in Australian Jewish News captured the scene.
“Standing in Moriah College’s new modern auditorium bearing the name of his father, benefactor Harry Triguboff was almost lost for words,” the article began. “Choking with emotion, he paused several times, saying it was hard for him to speak at all.” The article did not pry into the cause of Triguboff’s tears, and he has never felt the need to publicly explain what happened. Until now.
Here, told for the first time, is the story ofthe Kafkaesque nightmare inflicted on Harry Triguboff and his family. Having fled China after World War II, Harry and his brother, Joseph, spent two decades pleading for visas so their parents could live with them in Sydney. But their pleas were rejected. Their mother, Frida, died in 1966 followed by their father, Moshe, less than a year later. He had no relatives in Israel and was alone when he died.
The reason they were refused visas remains hidden, but it almost certainly concerns allegations of wartime collaboration by Harry’s father with the Japanese.
Indeed, if the Immigration Department had its way, Harry Triguboff would never have become an Australian, let alone one of its richest men. They tried to stop him, when he was 14 years old, from fleeing here from China in 1948 and considered deporting him and his brother after the pair slipped past border authorities.
In a Sydney restaurant in 2017, Triguboff is seated at a discreet table in his business attire of jacket and tie drinking a scotch. The conversation turns to the time of his father’s death and that moment 27 years later at Moriah College. “I didn’t cry at the time. I cried all those years later, that’s when I cried,” he says. “Interesting how the mind works.”
Not one to seek sympathy
Harry Triguboff is not the type who ordinarily seeks public sympathy. Having started his business at the age of 30 in 1963 with a block of eight units in Sydney’s inner south, he has built more than 75,000 apartments, along with a fortune estimated at $11.4 billion. He is Australia’s second-richest person. He almost went broke in the 1970s, and vowed never again to be so reliant on banks.
*He pioneered selling apartments to the Chinese – a business strategy that would prove to be a stroke of genius. He has fought and won against bureaucrats and planning ministers, waged court battles against rabbis for control of Sydney’s Yeshiva Centre and beaten off bowel cancer. The architectural quality of his buildings has been attacked, most famously by Paul Keating, and his tactics as Australia’s largest landlord have landed him in court. Yet even at the age of 84, he is still in complete charge of Meriton, his work ethic driven by a relentless desire to win in the game of business.
But the story of his family also points to a desire to stay a step ahead of the arbitrary hand of fate, and never knuckle under to petty bureaucrats and politicians.
Former NSW premier Nick Greiner has known Harry Triguboff since the 1970s, when he worked for his father’s company which built roofs for Meriton apartments. Greiner says he only ever knew vague details about Triguboff’s time in China and nothing about his father’s problems. “Having heard the story I think it explains a lot,” he says. “Someone with that background would have a healthy disrespect for authority and government.” *
Until now, Triguboff has even shielded his own children from the truth. “It makes me feel sad to read what you found,” says Harry’s older daughter, Orna Triguboff. “It was certainly an injustice that I never got to know my grandparents. The few times I have seen Dad tear up were all to do with him remembering his parents not being allowed to be with us in Australia. They would have died in the Chinese civil war had it not been for the state of Israel being created and I think that is a big reason Dad is a supporter of Israel,” she says. *
“For someone who has been so very successful in his life, accomplishing what so many have not been able to do, he was not able to arrange his parents to live with us. It’s very sad. Dad is fiercely passionate about all the family staying in Sydney, always saying it’s the best place on earth. Maybe part of that passion is knowing the pain of separation when family members live far apart.”
*The story arcs across the horrors of Japan’s invasion of China, the Communist takeover, the creation of the state of Israel, the contradictions and prejudice of Australian immigration policy over two decades and an English-Canadian-Jewish adventurer who has inspired three Hollywood movies.
*It is detailed in a 300-page dossier from the Department of Immigration, held in the National Archives. Having already known the story’s bare bones, I unearthed the dossier in 2011 and sent it to Triguboff in an attempt to get him to talk. He invited me to lunch and shared a few reminiscences but declined to participate in an article.
Six years later, I tried again and the two of us met for lunch at his favourite Italian restaurant. Suspecting he would once again brush me off, I began my pitch. He quickly interrupted, and said in his abrupt and direct manner of talking:
“Turn on the tape recorder.” The 84-year-old drank two neat scotches while we talked. We spoke mostly in English, but sometimes we talked in Russian, which is a family language for both of us.
Growing up in Tianjin
Triguboff says the treatment of his father was “100 per cent an injustice”. James Brickwood
Harry Oskar Triguboff was born in China in 1933 and spent his childhood in Tianjin, a port near Beijing that China had ceded to the European imperialist powers in the 19th century. His father had fled the anti-Semitism of Tsarist Russia and moved to China in 1916. In Tianjin the Triguboff family lived on the shabbier fringe of the British and American concessions. Moshe had a store that traded woollen cloth, silk, leather, anything to turn a buck. Harry remembers his father had trouble paying the rent and he slept with his older brother Joseph and his Russian nanny in the same room.
The Chinese outside the concessions were in a different world altogether. Harry remembers seeing Chinese day labourers lugging sacks of grain up gangplanks on to barges. And then he watched as even poorer Chinese sneaked up behind them, cut holes in the sacks, and collected the grain as it seeped out to try to feed themselves.
When Japan invaded China in 1937, the British and American traders were mostly left alone in the confines of their concessions. But after their attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 and the invasion of British Malaya, the Japanese placed the British and Americans into internment camps.
Russians like the Triguboffs, however, were largely left alone. The Soviet Union shared a border with Manchuria, which had been seized by Japan, and the Japanese were careful not to provoke Moscow.
*With the British and the Americans out of the picture, the Triguboffs and other Russians seized the opportunity to take over trade in and out of China. Moshe established four more stores and put much of his wealth into building. Harry was taken to watch construction of some of the 20 apartment properties his father acquired around Tianjin.
*The Triguboffs bought a bigger house with separate rooms for the children and a car, which Harry says could drive only at walking pace because the Chinese still ambled down the narrow streets.
As a child, Harry only glimpsed the war occasionally. When taking the train back from the sea resort at Beidaihe, where his family spent the summer to escape dust storms, Harry noticed that instead of tourists the carriages were filled with coffins carrying the bodies of Japanese soldiers for burial back on the islands of Japan. He saw many, many coffins.
After Japan surrendered in 1945, the Guomindang Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek took back control. This was good for business, too. Moshe started exporting leather and pig bristles used to make brushes to the US department store Macy’s.
But in early 1946 the Triguboffs’ wartime idyll suddenly became a massive liability. The returning Guomindang were suspicious of Moshe’s wealth. The District Court of Tianjin and the British-run Customs Bureau seized all of the Triguboff shops and warehouses. Then six months later, in September 1946, the High Court of the province of Hebei arrested Moshe Triguboff and charged him with treason for collaborating with the Japanese.
Some of the Triguboff family files contained in a 300-page dossier from the Department of Immigration, held in the National Archives and recently released.
Harry, then 13, remembers the daily visits to take food to the fairly comfortable jail where his father was imprisoned. The charges against his father, he says now, were simply an attempt by the corrupt Guomindang government to extort cash. But his father refused to pay up because he was innocent. “I remember it like now,” he says. “I said, ‘Father don’t be stupid. They want money from you, what do you care …The more innocent you are the madder they get.'”
Dealing with the Japanese
He can remember one piece of business his father did with the Japanese that made him a small fortune in late 1941. When Britain declared war on Japan, the Japanese seized textiles owned by British merchants that were in bonded warehouses. The Japanese military needed a distributor to sell the textiles throughout northern China. Harry went with his father to the Jewish community hall near their home to try to raise the money for a down payment to the Japanese.
The incident demonstrates how closely Harry followed the business affairs of his father, even at this young age. It also shows how his father was keen to take calculated risks.
Harry was only vaguely aware of the actual charges against his father until he was shown a translation of Chinese court documents in the 300-page dossier. They show Moshe was alleged to have sold leather goods cheaply to the Japanese Army as well as selling scrap metal to the Japanese government.
Moshe was convicted on first instance and then appealed. The case was transferred to the High Court in Nanjing, then the capital of the Guomindang government.
*In October 1947, Triguboff was acquitted after the court found that the leather and scrap metal had been confiscated by force. The Japanese had made a nominal payment for the leather, but paid nothing for the scrap. It was not collaboration, the judges held. All charges were dismissed and Moshe Triguboff was released. The family started making plans to leave China.
But it left a stain, one that would later be exploited, Harry believes, by an English-Canadian adventurer of Jewish origin, known by the nickname Morris “Two Gun” Cohen. The consequences would torment the Triguboff family for the next two decades.
A Jewish gun slinger
Morris “Two Gun” Cohen was one of the more bizarre characters in the drama that consumed China in the middle of last century. His life has inspired three Hollywood movies, including one in 1936 called The General Died at Dawn, in which Cohen was turned into an Irishman and played by Gary Cooper.
More of the secret Triguboff family files including, left, one of many attempts of the boys trying, in 1952, to bring their parents to Australia. The visas were cancelled at the last minute.
As the name suggests, Two Gun Cohen was both Jewish and a gun slinger. After a life of petty crime in England then Canada, a 1997 biography says Two Gun headed to Guangdong in the 1920s, where he became the trusted bodyguard of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Guomindang Nationalist Party. After Sun Yat-sen died, Two Gun continued to use his connections to run guns to various warlords and conduct business, often with Jewish merchants in the treaty ports of China.
When Moshe Triguboff was arrested, associates in Shanghai recommended he seek Two Gun’s assistance. Harry remembers Two Gun coming to live with his family in their Tianjin home while his father was in jail. A thank-you letter from Harry’s brother, uncovered by Two Gun’s biographer, suggests Two Gun helped Moshe by convincing the authorities to transfer his case from Tianjin to Nanjing where it could get a fairer hearing.
But Two Gun fell out with the Triguboffs over money. The family could not pay the sizeable reward that he believed he’d been promised upon Moshe’s release.
By late 1947, the Communists were at the gates of Tianjin and Moshe found it it was impossible to sell his properties. His problems would become a childhood lesson for the young Harry in timing the real estate market. “He tried to sell what he could,” Harry says. “The reason he lost the big chunk [of his fortune] was because they made him problems straight after the war. He tried to get it out of China. Every door was all locked for several years when he was in prison. It killed him. He missed the boat.”
Harry says Two Gun was paid “something” but he was bitter. Eventually, Harry and his family would come to believe that Two Gun took vengeance by denouncing his father to diplomats based in China. These “vindictive allegations”, Harry and Joseph believed, were passed along to Australia and were the reason why his parents could not obtain visas to move to Sydney.
The truth is still hidden inside the National Archives. About 15 pages of the 300-page Triguboff file, in which Australian officials detail allegations against the family, have been redacted.
When asked to reconsider and open up the whole file, David Bell, the acting assistant director of the National Archives, refused on grounds that disclosing the material could threaten Australia’s access to intelligence from other countries and its release could cause distress to members of the family.
The first part of that explanation – that disclosure might threaten intelligence from other countries – supports Harry’s belief that Two Gun, who worked for British and Canadian intelligence during the war, was the source. The second part of the explanation is probably true.
*One letter that survived redaction is from Alexander (Alick) Downer, immigration minister in the early 1960s and father of the prominent Howard-era cabinet minister. In jarringly unofficial language, Downer wrote that the reports indicated Moshe Triguboff was an “unsavoury character”. It is the one line in the 300-page dossier that even today visibly distresses Harry because he finds it so unfair.
Harry and Joseph in Sydney.
Refused by Canada and the US
*The Triguboffs were refused visas for Canada and the United States, which had strict quotas on Jewish immigrants. But they had obtained landing permits for Australia back in 1946 when the country had an open-door policy to Jewish refugees.
*By early 1948, however, Australian policy had changed and a family of rich Jews carrying Soviet passports and facing allegations of collaborating with the Japanese were not the migrants Australia was looking for.
In postwar Australia, Jews were tarred with a mix of old-fashioned anti-Semitism and suspicion they were either communists or Zionists attacking British forces in Palestine. Things came to a crisis in January 1947 when an old ferry called the Hwa Lien docked in Sydney carrying 300 stateless Jews from Shanghai.
Sydney’s The Sun newspaper claimed that criminal syndicates run by communists had backed the Jewish immigrants and hinted that Jewish refugees had collaborated with the Japanese. The Sun editorialised: “The danger of infiltration by professional trouble makers, whether Jewish terrorists or Communist agents, will arouse the natural suspicion of all who wish to see Australia kept Australian.”
Arthur Calwell, Australia’s immigration minister following World War II, was a champion of mass migration (although famously within the confines of the White Australia Policy) and had initially been sympathetic to the plight of Jewish refugees. He let the Hwa Lien unload its passengers. But in the heated aftermath he quietly imposed a secret quota on the number of Jews who would be given entry on any future migrant ships.
This was the political background when, a year later in March 1948, the Australian consul in Shanghai, O.W.C. Fuhrman, sent an urgent cable in code back to Canberra: Harry and Joseph Triguboff had left Tianjin three weeks earlier, were on their way to Australia and must not be allowed to land. (Their parents had sent the boys to Sydney while they finalised their affairs, and planned to follow.)
*Fuhrman said he had learnt that Moses Triguboff was worth $US3-4 million and had transferred much of it to the United States. He was deeply concerned about the Triguboffs’ alleged ill-gotten riches and in the next few months got Australian officials to check how much money they had transferred to Australia. It was only 8000 Australian pounds.
Hostility to Jews
For the Australian Jewish community, Fuhrman would became a notorious character due to his hostility to Jews from China. He wrote a report around this time warning that the Jews of Shanghai, where the Japanese had set up a ghetto, were an “enigma” who were involved in prostitution and drug running. If Two Gun levelled accusations against Triguboff to Fuhrman, he would have got a very good hearing.
His urgent cable, in Harry’s mind, is evidence that Two Gun was the cause of his family’s problems. Who else would have taken the trouble, he asks, to warn the Australian consulate in Shanghai that a 14-year-old and a 23-year-old had just left Tianjin bound for Australia. “Who else would be interested?” asks Harry. In any case, the secretary of the Immigration Department in Canberra, Tasman Heyes, personally took charge of the matter. He dispatched a flurry of classified telegrams to Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane and Hong Kong to keep an eye out for the young men.
One-time bodyguard of Dr Sun Yat-Sen, Morris “Two Gun” Cohen.
“Please advise urgently whether they have landed your port. If not please advise all airlines that they should not be accepted as passengers and that if they come to Australia they may be restricted from landing,” the telegram said. But the wheels of bureaucracy moved too slowly. A few days later, word came back that Harry and his brother had already landed in Darwin and then been waved through customs in Sydney.
The presence of the two youths raised a problem familiar in today’s Australia of what to do with unauthorised arrivals. Heyes floated and rejected the idea of deporting them as impractical. He devised another idea: split up the family to convince the two brothers to leave.
“As the Chinese Authorities do not permit Europeans to return to China, it is most unlikely that it would be possible for us to enforce the departure of the two sons (Joseph and Oskar) Triguboff but if their parents are prevented from coming here they may eventually leave the Commonwealth,” Heyes wrote in July 1948.
Harry starts year 10
All of this was unknown at the time to Harry, who started year 10 at Scots College in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Joseph enrolled in the law faculty at the University of Sydney. Harry remembers feeling proud that when he arrived at Scots College the teachers put him up half a year because he was quick at maths.
Back in China, the situation for Moshe and Frida was growing ever more urgent. They had moved to Shanghai as the Communists got closer to Tianjin. From Shanghai they cabled Joseph to send some final documents that Australian consular officials in Shanghai demanded. On August 10, 1948, Joe walked into the office of the Department of Immigration in York Street, Sydney. It would be his first step into the bureaucratic labyrinth where his family was stuck for the next two decades.
*The immigration official told Joseph his parents could not come to Australia, but would not say why.
“Mr J. Triguboff was insistent that I should give him the reasons for the refusal of permission of his parents to enter Australia,” the official wrote in a one-page memo. “I did not acquaint him with the reasons for the withdrawal of authority for the admission of his parents.”
The Triguboffs were growing desperate. Moses had taken a Soviet passport, the only document he was entitled to as a Russian national, but he risked being repatriated to Stalin’s Soviet Union. The Chinese Communist victory was only months away.
Harry with his parents in Israel in the 1950s. (Photo)
Lobbying the minister
In late 1948 the Triguboffs tried to pull all the strings they could.
With support from a prominent member of the Jewish community, Joseph secured a meeting with Calwell in October and handed him a long memo which appended an English translation of the judgment of the Nanjing Court to prove that his father had been cleared of collaboration.
“The family is now broken up which may mean the separation of the two sons from their parents for life as the former cannot return to China. This would be a particularly tragic blow for the younger son, (Harry) Oscar, who is aged only 14 and is missing his parents greatly,” he wrote.
In December, Joseph wrote again: “As you are aware the position in China is steadily becoming more desperate day by day and this separation may result in my younger brother (who is just 15 years of age) and myself never seeing our parents again as the previous decision reached well-nigh condemns my parents to death. Please for the good of humanity be good enough to grant my parents the entry visa saving the whole family.”
Harry went to school and concentrated on his studies but he felt the uncertainty. “We were scared of [our parents] getting stuck there.”
Then in early 1949 the post office called to tell him there was a telegram waiting for him from a place he had never heard of, called Ramat Gan. He walked to the post office in Bondi Junction in Sydney’s east and asked the postal clerk where Ramat Gan could be. The postal clerk did not know either.
As he read the telegram, Harry realised that Ramat Gan was a suburb of Tel Aviv. Barred from Australia, and fearful of returning to Russia, the newly independent state of Israel was the only country to which they could turn. “That is the first time I knew that they got out,” Harry remembers. His parents were safe, but they were on the other side of the world.
Australia or Israel?
“Please … allow them to enjoy their grandchildren in Australia. Perhaps you are a grandfather yourself,” Triguboff wrote in a letter to immigration minister Alick Downer in 1963. (Photo: James Brickwood)
For the next 17 years, Harry and his brother faced an agonising choice of staying in Australia, where they felt at home, or moving to be with their parents. Harry finished Scots in 1950 and then decided to move closer to Moshe and Frida. He went to Leeds in England to study textile engineering, visiting his parents in Israel every summer. He joined his family in Israel in the 1950s for a few years but did not fit in. Neither did his brother, who had changed his surname from Triguboff to Travers to sound more Australian.
In 1959 the pair left Israel and after a brief stint in South Africa returned to Sydney. When told he could not obtain an Australian passport, Harry protested that he had lived in Australia and gone to Scots College. Immigration officials said if he obtained a letter from the headmaster they would give him a passport. “Thank god he was still there and he remembered me,” says Harry. He became an Australian citizen in 1961.
Joseph, a lawyer, wrote a flood of letters to every new minister or local MP in a bid to reunite the family. Adding to Harry and Joseph’s sense of frustration, Australia had reopened diplomatic relations with Japan and embraced many figures responsible for Japan’s wartime atrocities.
*The normalising of Australian-Japanese relations was a point used by Harry when he made his own attempts to obtain visas for his parents in 1963. If nothing else, the epic struggle had taught him the art of working the bureaucracy.
*“My poor brother was writingthese letters. It got him nowhere,” Harry says. “I thought enough’s enough. I told him I’ll do it my way.”Harry called the offices of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service in Melbourne and left a message in his Russian accent hinting that he had some information about some Soviet spy.
He says the ASIS agent who called him back “thought I wanted to dob someone in. So he met me, a nice big fellow. Lovely guy. I tell him, look I didn’t come for what you think. I have this problem with the father. He was a very nice guy. He said, ‘leave it to me, I’ll find out.'”
Lobbying a new minister
Harry wrote to then immigration minister Alick Downer describing his conversation with the ASIS agent with a supporting letter from Les Bury, the member for Wentworth. He claimed the agent had said “our relationship with Japan had undergone a drastic change and that whatever dealing my father had at the time of the war with Japan it was no longer of any vital importance to the security of Australia”.
Harry and his brother faced an agonising choice of staying in Australia, where they felt at home, or moving to be with their parents.
Harry then added: “For 16 years now, my brother and I have been pleading with the Immigration Department to allow our parents to settle here. Our parents were definitely cruelly treated by fate … Please allow us, their sons, to give them this small gift – to allow them to enjoy their grandchildren in Australia. Perhaps you are a grandfather yourself.”
*It was all to be of no use. The issue of collaboration with the Japanese was a difficult one for Downer, who had been a prisoner of war in Changi 18 years before. This was when Downer, in a letter marked confidential addressed to Bury, explained he would never let Triguboff in.
“The detailed reports indicate that Mr Moses is an ‘unsavoury character’,” he wrote. (Downer Junior told the AFR magazine that he believed his late father was acting ‘with a goodheart’).
*Harry’s mother died aged 58 on May 26, 1966. Two days later his brother wrote again to the new minister Hubert Opperman. “We are most apprehensive that [our father] is losing his will to live.” Harry, 32, flew over to meet his father, who was sitting unshaven as is traditional in the Jewish religion after a death in the family.
To this day Harry deeply regrets that during that trip he took too much time out to see some of his old friends from his years in Israel. It would be the last time he would see his father. “There are many things that I did in life which I was sorry for. I was sorry that I didn’t spend more time with him,” he says.
*Just six months later on February 20, 1967, The Sydney Morning Herald published a small notice that Moshe Triguboff had died, mourned by his two sons Harry and Joseph.
*Another six months after that, another notice appeared in the classified section of The Sydney Morning Herald. It was an advertisement for “Harry Triguboff and Co”, the company that would become Meriton. The ad read: “Cash for your flat site: Builder wants centrally located flat sites. All suburbs.” *
A secret til now
In four decades in the public eye Harry has barely spoken two sentences about this story. Every history of Australia’s second-richest man glides past this chapter of his life. But I always knew the bare bones. My father, also a Russian-speaking Jewish migrant, was close to Harry, especially in the early 1960s when my uncle and Harry were partners in a taxi licence. Harry, working his day job as a textile engineer, was living in a rented house with his first wife, Hanna, and two young children in Kensington in south-east Sydney. He would come to my uncle’s on the weekend to count the fares.
On a trip to Israel in about 1965 my parents met Moshe Triguboff shortly before his death and they later told me about his plight. While the story was known in this small circle I believe Harry was still deeply embarrassed about his past, because he was not sure how the allegations of collaboration might be received. I mentioned it to a Financial Review journalist who wrote a profile of Harry in 2005. Harry refused to talk about it and told the journalist to “clean out his ears”.
*After sending him the 300-page dossier and being rebuffed in 2011, I resolved to let Harry take his secret to his grave. Then in May this year I was surprised when, apparently unprovoked, Harry mentioned in an interview to another colleague that immigration officials had refused his father entry. “As far as they were concerned, he was co-operating with the Japanese in the war,” he said. “He was selling textiles. It wasn’t as if he was selling guns or something.” *
I asked him if it was finally time to tell his whole story. Five months later, when he agreed to fill in the gaps, I asked him whether he thought the Australian government had wronged his family. “Was that an injustice?” I asked.
Is there justice?
He says the treatment of his father was “100 per cent an injustice”. But then, in a sharp break from his usual rapid-fire delivery, he paused as he tried to find the words. “I suppose I don’t think there is justice. Worse, I am sceptical.” For Harry Triguboff, what is just depends on where someone is sitting.
Harry is his father’s son and is unapologetically proud of Moshe’s achievements and smarts.Even now, his closest friends in Sydney are Jews who fled from Tianjin, like him. He laughed telling me stories of how Moshe escaped from Tsarist Russia and his travels in China which clearly inspired him. He wants to defend his father’s memory.
One thing that still stings: he is reluctant to concede that he came to Australia with money. He insists repeatedly that the claims of his family’s millions were exaggerated. They had money, but not a lot.
In an odd transition he then launches into an attack on politicians and planners who obstruct his apartment blocks citing reasons of high policy. They apparently remind him of the sanctimonious Australian Immigration Department officials who fobbed his family off for decades. He says they take decisions based not on common sense but on what will win votes or just because they want to “cover” themselves.
*And so in an obscure transference, every time he fights and wins a battle over building apartments it is partly a way of getting even.
RECALL a couple of years back we visited Carlingford … it was patently obvious then that the Chinese community had a stranglehold on the real estate sector … almost every agency was owned and operated by this community and/or all the signage was in either Mandarin or Cantonese …
THE TRUMBULL GREATER SYDNEY COMMISSION has produced a report that has earmarked the family-friendly Kingsdene Estate in Carlingford for higher density … having shifted the boundaries for multi-storey housing in the Kingsdene Estate, a quiet R2 area away from the Parramatta Light Rail …
THIS, of course, would have nothing to do with even more foreign investment … and laundering of ‘hot money’ in Sydney’s Casinos?
With the lure of a ‘Permanent Resident Visa’ … a ‘Family Visa’ … a ‘Guardian Visa’ and various investment Visas? And MedicareBenefits for the Parents, and Grandparents too?
DESPITE this Liberal MP Geoff Lee was not aware of the boundary changes … yet he is a Member of the NSW Liberal Coalition Government Cabinet …
IT appears that this falls into line with the expansion of Chatswood which is being built by the Chinese Communist Party. All the money has come from China. It’s not from Hong Kong people …(they speak Mandarin in Chatswood now … previously it was Cantonese)
-Chatswood described by GeoPolitical Stratagist David Lee as the city being built by the CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
Carlingford: Kingsdene estate could have higher density housing under GPOP plan
A northwest Sydney suburb choking with overflowing schools could soon buckle under more pressure and inadequate infrastructure because of a flawed government document.
December 16, 2019
*A family-friendly Carlingford neighbourhood is earmarked to morph into a multi-storey enclave.
*According to Parramatta Councillor Andrew Jefferies this is because of an “unnecessary layer of bureaucracy” forced on to a council that already has the highest number of housing approving rates in NSW.
*Plans for more higher density housing in the Carlingford’s Kingsdene estate have been highlighted under the Greater Sydney Commission’s recent report into development along the Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula (GPOP).
The commission, which was created by the State Government, produced the report, called the Place-based Infrastructure Compact, to manage growth in the 13km GPOP site from Westmead to Strathfield and Carlingford to Lidcombe.
The original site was 3500 hectares in 2017 but the updated version almost doubled to 6000ha and takes in Carlingford from west of Baker St to Bettington Rd.
*The expansion has prompted Cr Jefferies to attack his own party’s plan because shifted boundaries will build multi-storey dwellings in a quiet area away from public transport in an R2 (low residential area) away from where the Parramatta Light Rail will stop at Carlingford when it opens in 2023.
“All that area in Kingsdene is 99 per cent, single dwelling R2=zoned,” he said.
“People buy in the Kingsdene estate because they want to send their kids to Carlingford West and James Ruse High instead of buy an apartment.
“I’ve got no problem with densities when you’re looking at homes being within walking distance of the future light rail.
“At the end of the day, the homes in that area and the lot sizes have always been R2 housing, family-friendly living.”
Carlingford’s units are concentrated near the train station.
Cr Jefferies slammed the GPOP report and treatment towards Parramatta Council after a recent meeting it had with commission staff over the plans.
*“Essentially speaking, it’s not a credible document, particularly when their own staff can’t even provide a reason why that area was touched,’’ he said.
He said the commission’s plan showed it failed to understand Carlingford and the Parramatta council area.
By 2023, an extra 22,100 homes are forecast to be built in the local government area – the highest in NSW.
Parramatta also topped the state for extra dwellings from 2013 to 2018 when 16,450 homes were built.
“You can’t argue that there hasn’t been an effort by council to increase density close to significant public transport and what those guys (the commission) is saying is that we haven’t done enough,’’ Cr Jefferies said.
“They’re unelected bureaucrats and they think they know better.
“Essentially, I think it’s an additional layer of bureaucracy that I don’t think is necessary.’’
He said Carlingford West Public School was already at capacity with 1400 students and there were no plans to add classrooms.
Parramatta state Liberal MP Geoff Lee said he was not aware of the boundary changes to affect Carlingford but opposed higher densities in Kingsdene.
“It surprises me that they would consider those areas to be higher density where they don’t have proper transport,” he said.
“Without sewing the details, it would be wrong of me to comment but places like Kingsdene should not have higher densities.”
Submissions to the GPOP report close today and the council is due to discuss the matter at tonight’s meeting. (16 DECEMBER 2019)