THE NORTH PARRAMATTA RESIDENTS ACTION GROUP has lobbied for the museum to be built in North Parramatta’s Fleet St heritage precinct instead of the flood-prone riverbank site …
THAT is practical … it’s ‘commonsense’ … why invite problems … and waste funding to have to retrieve contents and the structure of a Powerhouse Museum from a flood prone area?
IS the Agenda of this NSW Coalition Government to remove from the records any references to Our Past? Our Australian Heritage … ?
Having demolished the projects of the 30-year-old Bicentennial project south of Cockle Bay including the monorail, the award-winning Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Sydney Entertainment Centre and IMAX cinema …
Yes, a mere 30 years old! To remove all records of Our Australian History, Culture …
Why? Because this government can … how nasty …
DOES Gladys live in the Willoughby LGA? Artarmon?
NOTE … 0 NEW DWELLINGS FOR ARTARMON …. Even Hunters Hill will have 150 new dwellings; Mosman 300 and Woollahara 300 ‘new homes’
ONLY 260 NEW DWELLINGS PER YEAR ARE PLANNED FOR THE ENTIRE WILLOUGHBY LGA including Chatswood and St Leonards … lobbying by North Shore media/lobby group
Bulldozers are soon expected to obliterate the state heritage-listed Willow Grove after Premier Gladys Berejiklian reversed her decision to preserve it for the construction of the $767 million Powerhouse Museum.
The North Parramatta Residents’ Action Group (NPRAG) has said multiple sources and leaked government documents show Ms Berejiklian has opted to demolish the 1870s-built
Italianate villa at Phillip St.
St George’s Terrace, on the corner of Wilde Ave and Phillip St, could also be demolished for the museum, which is expected to be completed by December 2022.
NPRAG spokeswoman Suzette Meade said the decision came after the museum’s final six architects had an option to retain the former maternity hospital but were planning to announce its demise soon.
“We’ve been told that this decision has already been made, no doubt to be dropped out as people enter their Christmas breaks in the hope of avoiding scrutiny,’’ Ms Meade said.
“If this is true, it’s a disgrace.
“Clearly, it’s a big concern for the people of Parramatta that our heritage is being disrespected.
“Western Sydney heritage seems to be second rate and I think they should expect quite a kickback from the community.’’
The group has lobbied for the museum to be built in North Parramatta’s Fleet St heritage precinct instead of the flood-prone riverbank site when then premier Mike Baird announced the museum for Parramatta in 2015.
A spokesman for Arts Minister Don Harwin said the government would not respond to any of the Parramatta Advertiser’s questions.
Parramatta state Liberal MP Geoff Lee did not comment on heritage concerns but said he understood the winning design for the museum would be announced shortly.
“I look forward to seeing the final design,’’ he said.
“Parramatta deserves world class arts and cultural institutions and that’s what the NSW Government is delivering.”
A Parramatta Council spokesman said it had previously written to the State Government requesting the heritage significance of Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace was considered in the museum’s development process.
“Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace are important local heritage sites and our community feels strongly about protecting them,’’ the spokesman said.
Last year, the Parramatta Advertiser reported that the government would save $43 million by demolishing Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace.
Willow Grove was used as a maternity hospital and the state-listed St George’s Terrace is considered historically and aesthetically significant as an example of modest Victorian period terraces.
The group is calling on the premier to reverse her decision.
“If Willow Grove was in Willoughby there is no way this would be happening,’’ Ms Meade said.
“This is an appalling start to what was promised as a move towards cultural funding equality;another bonus for developers.”
National Trust of Australia’s Parramatta branch president Cheryl Bates said demolishing Willow Grove would mean Parramatta lost another link to its important historical past.
“The National Trust does not understand how a building considered worthy of a heritage listing, using the accepted criteria for listing, can now simply be disregarded because a new use is considered more appropriate,’’ she said.
Australian Heritage needs protection! Craftsman built …
Heritage home purchased by ‘family’ developer
A Home in Denistone …
OUR MID-CENTURY HOMES TOO!
Robbing Australian families of Mid-Century Homes; their communities, their neighbourhood
WHERE is the respect?
ABSOLUTELY no respect for the Ryde Council Guidelines by those among the Anti-Heritage Policy Supporters
-by registering bogus submissions
-even resorting to violence!
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
THIS – what can only be described as a – ‘MOB’ are not interested or remotely interested in the Heritage of Ryde … in what the Incumbents of Ryde value … our Australian Communities … Urban Bushlands … Neighbourhood Character and HERITAGE!
AMONG the Anti-Heritage Policy Supporters … Gung Zhi, Wei Wei Wang, Guanjing Ruan, Silvestro Lauria, and Pei Cheng and dozens more … what do they value … do they value anything apart from their ‘Own Prosperity’?
WHERE did this deliberate FEAR AND INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN derive from within our major parties particularly the Liberal Party? Pulling the ‘Race Card’ … to reshape the Australian Society for their own ends … no less …
TO demolish Our Heritage, Our Mid-Century Homes, Our Australian Communities, Our Urban Bushlands and beautiful Vistas to replace with this FUGLY CRAP development! That like their manufactured goods will end up in landfill … in the not too distant future …
WHY … because of GREED … they have been granted the opportunity to greatly enhance their wealth with NSW Planning Law changes to increase density either with high-rise tower precincts or the Medium Density Housing Code of terraces, townhouses, villas, triplex, duplex … with as many as ten terraces on a 600M2 lot!
TO RUN ROUGHSHOD over Australian Communities … with Exempt and Complying Development whereby the neighbours have no say!
VIEW PHOTOS BELOW AND/OR OUR PHOTO ALBUM FOR EXAMPLES OF INFERIOR OVERDEVELOPMENT …
The Weekly Times 4 December 2019
AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE AND MID-CENTURY HOMES
…TO BE DEMOLISHED FOR CHEAP FAST-TRACKED DEVELOPMENT LIKE THESE!
CAAN Photo: Fugly fortress-like townhouse/apartment development Marsfield; out of character with the area
CAAN Photo: December 2019: Ten Townhouses have replaced one cottage and a market garden …
Australian Heritage homes craftsmen built are being demolished for fast-tracked prefab built dwellings; built by foreign workers
WHAT IT MEANS …
10 Xthe load on water and sewerage; waste; and on power; greater Co2 emissions from construction using concrete, glass, steel and ongoing use; and 10 x fuel for vehicles
These developments are not for the Australian community; largely for the overseas buyers seeking an opportunity to launder black money … and to gain a ‘Permanent Resident Visa‘ with Medicare benefits … close to the Mandarin/CCP city of Chatswood … (FIRB ruling 2009; May 2017 Budget Reg. 100% sell-off ‘new homes’ overseas particularly in China)
CAAN Photo: This could be described as the ulitmate IMPOSITION on a mid-century estate in Ryde …. who would buy either duplex?
CAAN Photo: Chinese Greenland Lachlan’s Line, a blight on the horizon for many Kms; Chinese Country Garden in the background; another blight also at North Ryde looming over the village of North Ryde. Can only be described as cheap developments …
‘Opposition deputy leader Richard Marles on Wednesday asked in Parliament what steps Prime Minister Scott Morrison had taken to investigate the reports that Ms Liu had helped the Chinese-owned company secure access to federal politicians, but the question was ruled out of order.‘
AT CAAN we recommend if you have an opportunity … watch QUESTION TIME … to learn just how many questions that seem to be legitimate, well constructed and well founded yet are ‘Ruled Out of Order’! …. It happens …. one after the other … It’s that crook! … But this is what the Australian Parliament has become!
Gladys Liu demanded Liberal Party pay back her $100k donation
Court documents reveal the company’s former Australian chief executive collected $1 million in cash from a heroin trafficker, including $500,000 handed to him in a backpack, which was later seized by Australian police.
Ms Liu started acting for the company in late 2015 to secure political backing for its plans to introduce electric buses in Australia. She says she acted “pro bono” for the company because she was passionate about renewable energy.
In the months before the police operation was launched, Brighsun donated $105,000 to the Liberal Party, according to donation records.
Opposition deputy leader Richard Marles on Wednesday asked in Parliament what steps Prime Minister Scott Morrison had taken to investigate the reports that Ms Liu had helped the Chinese-owned company secure access to federal politicians, but the question was ruled out of order.
ISN’T it well and truly time to put a stop to Gladys Liu MP for Chisholm, Political Donations, lobbying and political interference from representatives with possible, and/or likely connections to the CCP … ?
-to the Developer/Real Estate Lobbyists for the Trojan Horse of the Real Estate Tours and granting of the ‘Permanent Resident Visa’
*Liberal MP Gladys Liu secured access to the federal government for a company endorsed by the Chinese Communist Party and later implicated in a major organised crime probe into $1 million in suspected drug money.
*Brighsun New Energy, the Australian subsidiary of the Chinese-controlled green energy group Brighsun, made a big donation to the Liberal Party to win access to federal politicians in a bid to revive the Australian auto industry by manufacturing electric buses in Victoria.
Its links to a money laundering probe are detailed in court documents uncovered by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
They reveal Brighsun’s former Australian chief executive, Allen Saylav, collected $1 million in cash from a heroin trafficker – including $500,000 handed to him in a backpack at a Melbourne petrol station car park – in April and May 2016.
*Asked about the cash, Mr Saylav said he was following the orders of Brighsun’s Chinese co-director and key financial backer, Zhang Genjiang – a Crown casino high roller who was flying into Melbourne on a private jet to gamble at the time. Mr Saylav said he had no idea the man who gave him the cash in a backpack was a drug trafficker.
*The funds were part of $15 million that Mr Zhang had promised the Melbourne arm of Brighsun, after he partnered with Brighsun co-director Chinese businessman Kejun “Kevin” Huang, around 2014.
The drop-off of suspected dirty cash was intercepted by the Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission as part of a probe into drug funds and money laundering. The money was seized by Australian police and used in evidence to prosecute a heroin trafficker. Federal police questioned Mr Saylav as part of their investigation but he was never charged.
*In the months before the police operation was launched, Brighsun donated $105,000 to the Liberal Party, donation records show. The corporate group engaged Ms Liu in late 2015 to secure political backing for its plans to introduce electric buses in Australia, according to Mr Saylav and the firm’s current local CEO, Charles Brent. *
*Brighsun New Energy’s former CEO said the firm donated $105,000 to the Liberal Party to gain access to and credibility with politicians.*
*Brighsun’s political activities and its ties to a $1 million cash drop raises questions about Ms Liu’s lobbying and fundraising activities.
According to ASIC records and a press release issued in 2015, Brighsun New Energy is “a joint venture between … Mr Kejun (Kevin) Huang and an investment group … headed by Mr Genjiang Zhang“.
The Chinese parent of Brighsun has been backed by the Chinese Communist Party and the website of Mr Zhang’s investment group states that it works with a “party committee of the Communist Party of China”.
Brighsun’s Chinese factory, established within a government-owned industrial park in Zhejiang, was launched at a local CCP event in 2015, where political leaders praised the company.
*It is not unusual for large Chinese companies to operate with CCP support and an internal party committee, although this creates a possibility that these firms are not purely commercial and may be influenced by Chinese government aims.
*Mr Saylav and Mr Brent both said Ms Liu was engaged by the firm in 2015 to win Australian government support.
However, in an interview with The Age and Herald, Ms Liu claimed she worked “pro-bono” because she was passionate about clean energy projects, and that her “communications director” title was created to lead politicians to believe she held a formal role.
“I recall I helped [Brighsun] talk to ministers because they failed to get any attention from the government. So I said, ‘Oh well, I do know a few people’, so I helped them to invite the minister to come to their launch – Greg Hunt,” she said. “[The communications director title] was to help the minister come. If I [didn’t have a title] at that company, then they wouldn’t talk to me.”
*The company’s current CEO, Charles Brent, said Ms Liu was “absolutely specifically” used by Brighsun to win government support.
“Gladys did a very good job … she was instrumental in helping us get access, like any good lobbyist would, and that was her job.”
“At the time she was doing fundraising for the Liberal Party within the Chinese community,” he said. “[The MPs] were all very, very supportive.”
The Chinese born Liberal MP has a disability and escaped an abusive marriage, but all talk has been about her memberships to Chinese government linked groups.
The $105,000 donation to the Liberal Party was made in early October, 2015. Weeks later, in late October, Mr Hunt, then the federal environment minister, appeared at a press conference with Ms Liu endorsing Brighsun.
Speakers at the event to promote Brighsun’s plans at Victoria’s Government House included state Labor minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Liberal shadow minister David Southwick, both of whom held energy and environment-related portfolios.
A spokesman for Mr Hunt said his attendance was not tied to the $105,000 and said Mr Hunt was unaware of Brighsun’s links to the CCP.
Mr Saylav said it was his impression the firm’s Chinese backers made the donation to gain access to and credibility with Australian politicians. He never questioned the source of Brighsun’s money and said Mr Zhang was its main financier, sending money to Australia in “dribs and drabs”. Mr Saylav said he collected the $1 million in cash on the orders of Mr Zhang.
Court records from organised crime cases suggest a probe by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission into the movement of drug funds across the region – which was under way by January 2016 – ultimately led to agents swooping on Mr Saylav’s car after he picked up a backpack stuffed with $500,000 cash.
The cash was handed over on May 3, 2016, by triad drug trafficker Lok Ping Tsui, who served 24 years in an Australian jail after being convicted over a major heroin importation into Australia in 1989. In
the days leading up to that seizure, police tracked another cash drop-off to Mr Saylav from Lok.
Mr Saylav, who was interviewed by police but never charged, said the $1 million police uncovered was part of $3 million that Mr Zhang had already provided Brighsun of his promised $15 million investment.
Mr Saylav said Mr Zhang had directed him to pick up the cash because he “had problems getting it out of China”.
Chinese capital flight laws bans more than $3000 leaving China in a single transaction and some Chinese nationals resort to using money launderers and crime figures to access cash or smuggle money into Australia.
Court transcripts reveal that Mr Saylav gave Lok a $5 note bearing a serial number ending in 460, a code that meant the cash could be handed over. Lok was then secretly filmed by authorities removing a small grey backpack stuffed with cash from the rear of his car and giving it to Mr Saylav. Lok later pleaded guilty to dealing with money reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Asked where the $105,000 that Brighsun gave to the Liberal Party six months earlier had come from, Mr Saylav said: “I have no idea.” He was the company’s CEO at the time of the donation.
Brighsun’s current CEO Mr Brent said that Mr Huang and Mr Zhang poured “piles” of money into Brighsun before falling out with each other in early 2016. The pair remain directors of Brighsun’s parent company.
Ms Liu said she knew nothing about the police probe or the car park cash: “This is news to me. I have no idea,” she said. The Age and Herald are not suggesting she had any knowledge of any criminal behaviour. Ms Liu also said she had never heard of or met Brighsun’s co-director Mr Zhang, even though he was a major financial backer of the company and attended the company’s launch in Melbourne in 2015, which Ms Liu helped to organise.
A photo taken at the event and released by Brighsun shows Mr Saylav with Mr Huang and Mr Zhang, and news reports of the event say both men were its directors.
Ms Liu said Brighsun made the $105,000 donation to the Liberal Party in October 2015 after its director Mr Huang bid for an auction item, a promised meal with then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. The meal never eventuated. Ms Liu denied advising Mr Huang specifically to bid on the item.
“I was on stage with the auctioneer, with Julie Bishop and with Michael Kroger, so I was there to help with the auctioning and he was sitting at the table and I was doing my job helping the Liberal Party … I was … encouraging people to bid – everyone in the room.”
Mr Huang, who bid for the dinner, also said he did not know the origins of the funds Mr Zhang contributed to Brighsun.
“I just asked for his [Zhang’s] money every month and he would send money. This is our relationship. I’m not clear with his fundraising or his relationship with the [Chinese] government,” Mr Huang said.
Mr Huang said he had bid for the dinner to “connect” with politicians. Mr Zhang could not be contacted for comment.
Mr Brent said the company had visions of becoming a large employer of manufacturing workers in Victoria who would produce world-leading electric buses.
In the lead-up to 2016, Mr Brent said the Victorian government was “very supportive” of Brighsun. The two parties were in negotiations for an electric bus trial but the split between Mr Huang and Mr Zhang derailed plans.
“The wheels fell off between Kevin [Huang] and Zhang, and that was very sad because suddenly the dream of creating the company in Australia was dead,” Mr Brent said.
Mr Zhang gave up on plans to manufacture in Australia, and instead moved operations to China, according to Mr Brent.
Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter for The Age. He’s won seven Walkley awards and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.
Labor has accused the prime minister of running a protection racket for a Liberal MP facing questions about her ties to the Chinese government.
As allegations of Chinese foreign interference swirl around federal parliament, opposition senator Penny Wong is demanding Gladys Liu explain her connection to various Beijing-linked organisations.
“Gladys Liu has refused to give a statement to the parliament. She is being protected from doing so by Mr Morrison,” Senator Wong told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
Even so, Andrew Bolt resumes his attack:
Australia is finally waking to China’s attempts to infiltrate our political system, with reports that a Beijing-backed espionage ring tried to get a Chinese businessman – now dead – elected into our parliament. But where is Gladys Liu, the Liberal MP that the Morrison Government won’t let give interviews?
China wants Australia “to bend the knee to Beijing” through a concerted effort of “political warfare”, says Dr Malcolm Davis from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute:
Bravo. Let’s reprise how Gladys Liu came to power. Ms Liu:
occupied senior positions in CCP propaganda outfits;
courted and channeled Chinese moneyopposed to Australian foreign and strategic policy goals into the Government;
donated large sums of her “own” cash to help buy the Chisolm electorate;
defrauded the ethnic Chinese denizens of Chisolm with fake election signage;
refused to personally endorse Australian foreign policy tenets around China;
mumbled alarming things about Hong Kong in the Party Room;
used and abused the credibility of parliament house to aid campaigns for CCP control;
then lied about much of it directly into the face of the Australian people.
Peter Dutton once described Sam Dastayari as a “double agent” for far less. I don’t recall anybody being murdered to open a vacancy for his case candidacy either.
Question: How is it that Ms Liu qualifies as a fit and proper person to be in the Australian Parliament when “double agent” Sam Dastayari does not?
Answer: Ms Liu holds the Morrison Government’s majority in the palm of her hand so here we are.
P.S. If you haven’t yet seen it, check out the full 60 Minutes expose on CCP operations to plant Manchurian candidates in Australia:
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.
Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching has warned the Liberal Party has questions to answer over links with Chinese donors amid ‘‘deeply disturbing’’ revelations that a Melbourne car dealer told ASIO that Chinese agents offered to bankroll his political ambitions before he was found dead in a hotel room.
“That is the same case for this person or anyone else who may make such a claim,” Mr Morrison said.
“That claim would be assessed about what they would be – a reasonable fear of persecution in their home country.
“If they were to make judgments along these lines, that would necessarily mean that any allegations they’ve made, true or untrue, it would simply go to the specific circumstances of that individual.
“He’s in Australia. We have the rule of law in Australia. And as a result then you can expect the same protections to apply to anyone who is living in our country, whether on a visa or any other arrangement.”
In a rare public statement, ASIO’s Director-General of Security Mike Burgess confirmed on Sunday night the content of the 60 Minutes report was known to security agencies.
“Australians can be reassured that ASIO was previously aware of matters that have been reported today, and has been actively investigating them,” Mr Burgess said.
“Hostile foreign intelligence activity continues to pose a real threat to our nation and its security. ASIO will continue to confront and counter foreign interference and espionage in Australia.
“Given that the matter in question is subject to a coronial inquiry, and as not to prejudice our investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
*Meanwhile, Labor Senator Don Farrell also announced plans to push for tighter disclosure rules for political donations lowering the threshold from $14,000 to a fixed $1000.
*“The Liberals and Nationals, under John Howard, changed the rules in 2006 to hide who was giving them money – raising the threshold to $10,000 and linking it to CPI,” Senator Farrell said.
“That indexation has resulted in the threshold blowing out to the staggering and unacceptable level of $14,000.”
Former ASIO boss Duncan Lewis has said the Chinese government is seeking to “take over” Australia’s political system through its “insidious” foreign interference operations.
Any person in political office was a potential target, he said, with the full impact perhaps not apparent for decades.
In the only interview Mr Lewis has given since retiring in September, he also urged Australia’s Chinese community to help security agencies in the same way local Muslim communities identified threats of terrorist activity.
Asked what the Chinese government wanted from Australia, Mr Lewis said: “They are trying to place themselves in a position of advantage.”
As well as targeting politicians, Chinese authorities were working to win influence in social, business and media circles, he said.
“Espionage and foreign interference is insidious. Its effects might not present for decades and by that time it’s too late. You wake up one day and find decisions made in our country that are not in the interests of our country,” Mr Lewis said.
“Not only in politics but also in the community or in business. It takes over, basically, pulling the strings from offshore.”
Mr Lewis was the director-general of security for five years as head of ASIO, the intelligence agency whose primary job is to guard against foreign interference.
He did not single out China during his term in office. When he spoke of malign state actors posing an “existential” threat to Australia, it was a generic reference to foreign governments.
But in the post-retirement interview, he said while it was not only China that preoccupied the Australian authorities, it was “overwhelmingly” China.
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has again blamed national security agencies for Australia’s fraught relationship with China.
Covert foreign intrusion into the heart of Australian politics was “something we need to be very, very careful about“, he said in the interview for the forthcoming Quarterly Essay, Red Flag: Waking up to China’s challenge, to be published on Monday.
“One spectacular case in NSW was Sam Dastyari. It’s quite clear to me that any person in political office is potentially a target. I’m not trying to create paranoia, but there does need to be a level of sensible awareness.
“When people talked about [how to define foreign interference in] our political system, I used to get the comment, ‘We will know it if we see it’. But not necessarily. Not if it’s being done properly. There would be some I don’t know about.”
*Mr Lewis, formerly Australia’s inaugural national security adviser and one-time head of Australia’s Special Forces as well as a previous ambassador to Belgium and NATO and secretary of the Defence Department, said the political funding system was especially vulnerable and called for its reform.
“I do worry about the issue of financing political parties,” he said. “We need a mechanism that maintains parties free of foreign influence.“
The Turnbull government, with Labor’s support, passed laws against foreign interference in 2018. Then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull named Russia and North Korea when he introduced the bills to parliament, but hinted clearly at the primary threat: “Media reports have suggested that the Chinese Communist Party has been working to covertly interfere with our media, our universities and even the decisions of elected representatives right here in this building. We take these reports very seriously.”
*Beijing maintains that it does not spy or intrude on Australia. Even after a Chinese diplomat, Chen Yonglin, defected to Australia in 2005 and warned of the Chinese government’s infiltration strategy, the Chinese authorities insisted such claims were baseless and malicious.
*After he defected from his post as first secretary for political affairs in China’s consulate-general in Sydney, Mr Chen wrote that “the Communist Party of China had begun a structured effort to infiltrate Australia in a systematic way”.
Mr Lewis said Australia’s first line of defence was the community: “We need a more prepared community but we have a way to go yet. ASIO can’t do it by itself. ASIO is very dependent on the community to be alert, but not paranoid.”
He said the help of the community was essential in defeating terrorism in Australia. The Muslim community, in particular, supplied invaluable warnings to the police and ASIO and was indispensable to public safety.
“The Chinese-Australian community could and should be as vital in the work against foreign covert influence“, he said, including against Beijing’s United Front and political corruption.
It’s quite clear to me that any person in political office is potentially a target.
The United Front Work Department is an agency of the Chinese government that seeks covertly to extend Beijing’s control through organising the Chinese diaspora abroad.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has described it as one of the three “magic weapons” of the Chinese Communist Party, together with the People’s Liberation Army and party-building activities.
An extract from Peter Hartcher’s forthcoming Quarterly Essay Red Flag: Waking up to China’s challenge will be published in Saturday’s Good Weekend.
*He said he had spent years unsuccessfully trying to convince more senior members of Curtin’s academic staff, in the faculties of Education and Media, to supervise his research into censorship and the Chinese social media platform WeChat.
*WeChat is owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent, which sponsors events and programs at Curtin.
A professional and personal toll
Mr Jing said he had never formally received a rejection letter from Curtin for his PhD proposal, but he believed it has been cast aside by professors from the School of Media out of fear supporting it could upset Tencent.
Mr Jing said the School of Education also believed his proposal was too controversial.
“The censorship and self-censorship here at Curtin is reaching to a point where I think it’s limiting a lot of potentials for the Chinese diaspora scholars at Curtin,” Mr Jing said.
“So it’s not really delivering the quality a research institute is expected to deliver.
“I do hope that Curtin can do something about this.
A Curtin University spokeswoman said Mr Jing’s PhD proposal was considered by two professors in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry and the School of Education.
The spokeswoman said Mr Jing had also sought advice from an Associate Professor in Curtin’s Centre for Culture and Technology.
“After consideration, all three had determined that the proposal Mr Jing had presented fell outside their areas of expertise and therefore they did not believe that they had the required disciplinary expertise for supervision of a PhD-level topic in the area proposed,” she said.
“Curtin University rejects any suggestion of censorship or self-censorship regarding PhD proposals or any other research projects.”
The university also rejected the assertion that it had been influenced by commercial partnerships like the one with Tencent.
“Curtin, like every other university, has a range of partnerships and relationships with business and industry and a robust system for maintaining the integrity of research and research proposals,” the spokeswoman said.
“Curtin University absolutely supports academic freedom and has well-established policies and guidelines to ensure the intellectual freedom of staff and students.”
“Any influence by companies, Chinese or otherwise, is counter to the policies, guidelines and values of our University.”
Mr Jing said not being able to complete a PhD had taken a toll on him personally.
Ms Dong rejected this theory, saying it was a mutually beneficial relationship.
“It’s a bit exaggeration … I think it’s not only a matter of WA’s dependence or reliance on China, it’s a mutually beneficial cooperation,” she said.
“China benefited a lot, we also depend on Australia in a way in terms of our resource security, the critical resources, the iron ore, the other mineral resources that is very important for our industrialisation and our urbanisation.”
THIS is huge … and this is indicative of how much ‘investment’ … OWNERSHIP one Foreign Investor has gained …
What about Dahua, Country Garden, Greenland …. the list is long … Landbridge and the Darwin Port, mines, power, healthcare, large tracts of farmlands … the ‘BLACK MONEY’ awash in our Residential Real Estate …
‘Barnaby Joyce, Angus Taylor, Australia and the Caribbean’
And for more about …
WATERGATE, Angus Taylor, Barnaby Joyce …
THEN search for more articles concerning …
Sydney lawyerSevag Chalabian, Zhang Bo, real estate company Evergrande,
Firm involved in $80m water deal now funding Huang Xiangmo-linked development
Hong Kong private equity firm Pacific Alliance Group, which invested in controversial water sale, is now funding troubled redevelopment
A Hong Kong private equity group that manages billions of dollars, Pacific Alliance Group, is financing the troubled One Circular Quay luxury apartment building spearheaded by exiled businessman Huang Xiangmo.
*A mortgage over the prime slice of Sydney land is held by a British Virgin Islands company called Global Enterprise Opportunity VIII, which the Guardian has established is a vehicle through which one of Pacific Alliance Group’s investment funds has funnelled money into the development.
*Pacific Alliance Group, or PAG, denies that Global Enterprise Opportunity VIII is in any way affiliated with Huang or his family.
Not only was the deal done without tender, but it soon emerged that the energy minister, Angus Taylor, had been a director of EAA and its Cayman’s based parent, Eastern Australian Irrigation, before entering parliament.
Founded by Taylor’s friend from Oxford Chris Gradel, who is chief investment officer, PAG and the other investors were able to realise a $52m gain on the water rights sold in the EAA deal.
Another investor, EF Realisation fund, which held 9.6% of the Cayman’s based fund, told the London stock exchange it was the highest price ever paid for water by the Australian government.
Taylor faced questions in parliament over what became known as “watergate”, but he has repeatedly said he resigned his directorships before entering parliament in 2013, and that he did not benefit from the water deal.
On Twitter, the exiled billionaire has also called for an investigation into an $11m fee he paid to Sydney lawyerSevag Chalabian, who used to represent the Obeid family.
The money, paid in connection with the purchase by Huang’s Yuhu group of a retail and commercial property development, has been described by seller Seph Glew as an “introduction fee”.
One Circular Quay, which when completed is to contain more than 300 luxury apartments and a hotel complex in two towers located on the corner of George Street and Alfred streets, has changed hands several times, and is now apparently in the hands of a fourth developer, elusive Chinese-born businessman Zhang Bo,a Huang associate who bought the company that owns the site from Yuhu in late 2018.
Huang is reported to have retained the development rights, although a property industry source said the financial scaffolding behind the development has recently been restructured.
Even the City of Sydney Council, which approved the redevelopment in conjunction with the state government is unsure about who owns it. The council continues to deal with the same team of architects and planners who were employed by the Dalian Wanda group, which secured the approval.
*Zhang’s sudden emergence as a key building developer in Australia has come after Huang’s residency was revoked and his assets frozen.
Evergrande enters the deal
Zhang has previously been linked to the world’s most valuable real estate company Evergrande, which raises the question about whether it is now in control of the prime site.
But there are few answers about what is happening at One Circular Quay, fronting the shores of Sydney Harbour between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and with views across the water to Kirribilli and Admiralty Houses.
The development has endured a troubled recent history. The site, which was once home to Gold Fields House, was owned by US investment firm Blackstone, which sold it to Dalian Wanda Group in 2015 for $415m.
Late in that year, the project was approved by the City of Sydney, with a 57-storey 184-apartment residential tower and a 179-room hotel on the 4,040sqm site. Final approval was granted in 2017.
But Dalian Wanda Group, its expansion driven by highly-leveraged acquisitions, was placed on a watchlist by Chinese regulators in 2017, part of a Chinese government drive against private-sector debt hurting the country’s financial system.
How Huang Xiangmo swooped
*When Dalian Wanda, headed by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin came under pressure from the Chinese government, the Yuhu Group – then run by Huang Xiangmo – was part of a consortium that swooped, picking up the Sydney project, and the Gold Coast Jewel development at Surfers Paradise, for $1.13bn.
*The other actor in that purchase was Zhang Bo. His new company Dachang Australia, took a half share for $565m. Huang’s Yuhu took the other half.
But company records show Yuhu Group sold the site in 2018 and now appears to have exited the company behind the development, AWH Investment Group.
*AWH is now controlled by two companies Cuilam and Dachang, both controlled by Zhang.
The transaction was several months old before the tax office hit Huang with a freezing order on all of his assets in Australia and around the world, pursuing him for $140m in an allegedly unpaid tax bill, penalties, and interest.
Zhang is not only linked to Huang through the One Circular Quay deal, but has a history with Evergrande, one of the largest property developers in the world.
Cuilam Investments, Zhang’s company, acquired Evergrande’s dairy products business for about $60m in 2016. Cuilam continues to maintain ties with Evergrande after the sale. It has extensive investments in New Zealand.
Evergrande’s chairman, Xu Jianyin, is best known in Australia after he was given 90 days in 2015 to sell a $39m Point Piper mansion by then treasurer Joe Hockey, after the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) found it had been purchased illegally. The property was purchased by the mysterious Lola Wang-Li, an Australian citizen, who lives in a Pyrmont apartment.
IS this a case of guilt by association? It appears so.
FURTHER, it seems Huang has departed our shores, and if this is so most of those with the smallest amount of desire to see justice done will be wondering how much real effort is being put into getting these people to face up in an Australian court where incidentally justice is also real, or will it be yet another one of those cases of ‘nevermind we tried’
LET’s hope at the very least official seizure of assets has or will take place.
WHY should we allow bad behaviour and lies to be rewarded?
LOOKS like public opinion is being shaped to ignore the truth
… those wracking in benefits hoping it will all go away …others in the deep
Egyptian River … and the really bad ones among us trying their very best to hide
it and other revelations …
The deputy mayor of a Sydney council, who has already been referred to the NSW corruption watchdog, failed to declare nearly $13 million of property-related transactions during his first year in office.
Simon Zhou, who is facing a no-confidence vote at Ryde City Council, also failed to disclose his links with property developers and an ongoing interest in gold trading in breach of his obligations as a councillor.
Simon Zhou, left, with disgraced Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
The Australian Financial Review has previously reported Mr Zhou’s failure to declare a $4 million financial connection with disgraced Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
It can also be revealed that Mr Zhou and his mother owned nearly $13 million of assets, in addition to shares in 12 companies, which were not declared on his pecuniary interest statements to Ryde Council.
Mr Zhou, an independent who previously worked for the ALP, declared his only income as the council’s $25,000-a-year stipend.
There is no evidence Mr Zhou misused his position on Ryde Council to benefit his property holdings.
Ryde councillors have called an emergency meeting next week to force Mr Zhou and the Labor mayor, Jerome Laxale, to resign following the revelations.
“The rule is, if in doubt, shout,” said Professor Roberta Ryan of the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney in relation to disclosure.
“If there’s any doubt, you need to declare it.”
Mr Zhou was required to file a pecuniary interest form after his election to Ryde Council in September 2017.
The form covers the full year to June 2018 and lists his only assets as a half share of the family home in Sydney’s Oatlands, purchased with his wife in October 2016 for $2.2 million, and 20 per cent of a former gold venture, AGSX Trading.
The Financial Review has identified five property assets that Mr Zhou failed to declare. These include a six-bedroom house in Dural that he bought in March 2015 for $2.15 million.
He also failed to disclose the Granville apartment he bought in May 2017 for $675,000, according to the liquidator of his company, Australian Gold Exchange.
Mr Zhou said on his pecuniary interest statement to the council that he had no debt, no other income beyond his council stipend and had not sold any property.
In fact, title records show that two weeks after being elected Mr Zhou sold his only property holding within the Ryde Council area, on Avondale Way in Eastwood, for $1.65 million.
In June 2017, before running for council, Mr Zhou set up a new company with other investors, Dural Pty Ltd, which was operated out of his Oatlands home.
His mother, who lives at the same address, held 50.5 per cent of the new venture through her company ZW Holding.
In December 2017, this new company paid $3.25 million for a 2.4 hectare property in Dural. It then hired surveyors and planners to file a new Deposited Plan for the site, a key step in any subdivision.
The property was sold in August 2018 for $3.7 million, weeks after filing the new plan.
Mr Zhou left blank a Yes/No question in the 2018-19 Pecuniary Interest form which required councillors to declare if they acted as property developers or were a “close associate” of a property developer.
Mr Zhou’s $4 million stake in Mr Huang’s Pymble Corporate Centre, on Sydney’s north shore, was held through a company called Zwymble.
The Zwymble shares were originally in Mr Zhou’s name but in August 2017, three weeks before the council election, ASIC was told the shares had been transferred to his mother’s company four months earlier.
But the $4 million stake still had to be declared under disclosure laws, which extend to family members including parents.
The Zwymble shares were transferred from Mr Zhou’s mother to a business associate, Chris Wang, in December 2017.
“It was just a change of mind,” Mr Zhou told the Financial Review in a telephone interview last month. “It was supposed to be an investment company but I was too busy to do it.”
Since 2017, Mr Zhou’s mother has taken stakes in at least 10 companies linked to her son, but in the phone interview he described an ongoing decision-making role with several of these companies.
“I have to support myself, you know,” he said.
Along with failing to declare his directorships and property interests, Mr Zhou is under scrutiny from the collapse of his Australian Gold Exchange, which called in a liquidator in May 2017 owing $2.7 million to the Tax Office.
The ATO later replaced the liquidator with Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte, who noted $28 million in cash withdrawals from the company’s bank accounts over nearly three years were recorded as petty cash to pay suppliers and other creditors.
Mr Strawbridge said he was investigating possible recovery actions for “unfair preference payments, insolvent trading, uncommercial transactions and … unreasonable director-related transactions”.
After his election win in September 2017, Mr Zhou told The Sydney Morning Herald, “I’m no longer in the gold industry business”.
“When I decided to run for council, I decided to commit my time to my local work.”
This wasn’t entirely accurate. In June 2017 he had set up a new bullion trading company, ACX Gold. His mother owned 70 per cent, with the rest held by his long-time employee Leigh Prosser, who herself ran unsuccessfully for council on Mr Zhou’s ticket.
Mr Zhou didn’t disclose stakes his mother held in other gold companies including AGSX, Zhou Py Ltd, the former Zhou Group, the former AGSX Investables and Gold Barossa.
“I don’t manage or operate any of those businesses [but] I am keeping an open door to business opportunity,” Mr Zhou said.
The newest gold trading company is 1100 Degrees, which Ms Prosser set up in April 2018 with Chris Wang and Mr Zhou’s mother.
“I was with her in another company, and there was some stock left over,” said Mr Zhou. “It was a very kind offer from her to allocate some shares from her company.”