China and the Great Foreign Investment Non-debate by James Reed
Perhaps I am just being my optimistic self, but I observe just a little bit more caution from some of the leading journalists at The Australian, especially over the Chinese bid for the NSW electricity network – a sale which is still potentially open to the Chinese as attempts are made to jump over security concerns. (The Australian, August 19, 2016, p. 2) Of course, Asianisation first; security second.
This sale is of an asset and is not an investment which builds a new business. Thus, the Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens (The Australian, August 17, 2016, p. 1), has recently warned against this sort of foreign investment, which is pushing up the value of the Australian dollar.
Stevens said: “Foreign capital that builds new assets – like some of the capital that funded the mining boom – that’s one thing. Foreign capital that buys up the existing assets, I’m not saying that we should be closed to that, but that’s not creating new capital for the country. That’s just altering the allocation of who owns the capital that’s here now".
Nationals parliamentarians welcomed these comments by Glenn Stevens, so you know who to keep lobbying. Keep the cards and letters flowing in.
Journalists have also displayed the first awakening of awareness that China, under various circumstances, could be a “foe” e.g. Paul Kelly, “Friend or Foe? Our China Dilemma is Our Biggest Test,” The Australian, August 17, 2016, p. 12. Kelly says: “To get rich is glorious, but embrace China has great risks.” Grammar, so-so; sentiment, on the right track.
While the bulk of the Kelly article is a generally positive appraisal of the Partnership for Change joint economic report, which wants even closer economic ties with China, Kelly concludes: “The pivotal question posed (and that cannot be answered in a joint report), is whether this vision would make Australia more vulnerable to China’s strategic leverage and whether this is the inevitable consequence of closer economic ties.”
Common sense alone would indicate that closer economic ties between a superpower and a small, frail, weak country like Australia, would inevitably make Australia more vulnerable. How could it be otherwise?
Greg Sheridan (“National Security Must Come First in Any China Deals,” The Australian, August 18, 2016, p. 12), points out that “the biggest source of hostile cyber intrusions against Australia is China.” We are already far beyond “strategic leverage” and well into a cold war, and a totally one-sided one at that.
I note as well, an article from The Sydney Morning Herald, “Chinese Interests Play Increasing role in Australian Political donations”.
This article notes that “A Chinese government-backed propaganda unit and a swag of companies that stand to gain from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement have made more than half a million dollars of political donations in Victoria.” Is that all? Chinese money is becoming important to the mainstream political parties, and it is obvious that this is to buy “our” pollies, who have always had their price.
What is needed are laws outlawing political donations, full stop. Donations corrupt democracy and lead to brainwashing campaigns, and expensive one’s at that. Let the pollies stand on street corners once more!
The problem of Chinese foreign investment, unlike British, was noted by a letter to the Editor, The Australian (August 22, 2016, p. 13):
“Australia is a liberal democracy and China is an increasingly authoritarian, expansionist state with an agenda of repression, revenge and restoration. Chinese culture lacks concepts of reciprocity, equality and being a member of a rules-based international order. China will only obey the rules when it makes the rules. Its methods are bullying, buying and spying. China’s apologists in Australia, including those who have taken the emperor’s money, should know that as they advance China’s interests they are betraying Australia’s.”
If the sentiments of this letter are correct, then there will be great trouble ahead.