Raby rant triggers China backlash

Recall this week the Australia former ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, called for Julie Bishop’s head:

Once again Australian foreign policy seems to be missing in action. As events unfold at remarkable speed in our area of most strategic interest – north-east Asia – Australia finds itself unable to engage with the key participant at the centre of those events: namely China.

Since Australia decided to adopt a policy of strategic mistrust towards China, any semblance of influence has waned to the point where relations are now in the freezer.

In terms of Australia’s geopolitical interests, the freeze on our relationship with China could not have come at a worse time. It was once widely understood in Canberra, but apparently no longer, that we need to have good and close relations with China not just for trade and commercial reasons but because China is critical to all the major international issues of interest to Australia and none more so than peace and stability in north-east Asia.

…The Prime Minister needs to replace the Foreign Minister with someone better equipped for the demands of the job. Fortunately, he has a wealth of talent and experience within his cabinet. Both Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt have extensive experience in foreign policy, having each worked for many years in Alexander Downer’s office, one of Australia’s most effective foreign ministers.

Has “Australia decided to adopt a policy of strategic mistrust towards China”? Or has China damaged out trust by its soft power push into our politics?

If its the latter then we have every right to be exploring ways to push back. The Government has been overly strident in its rhetoric at times but that’s forgivable in the circumstances. Mostly it’s been very restrained given the threat to Australian democracy uncovered in Chinese baksheesh.

Mr Raby lives in China. He consultancy services only China-engaged businesses. He sits on various Chinese business boards. He’s making a killing.

Got to protect that and he did, delivering himself mountains of Chinese press coverage, via the Global Times:

In his column in Australian Financial Review, former Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby slammed Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for not having visited China in more than two years while angering Beijing with “the most strident public comments on the South China Sea” and an “utterly bizarre speech” questioning Beijing’s regional leadership. “China relations can only be unfrozen with Julie Bishop’s sacking,” Raby appealed to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Bishop immediately hit back at Raby, accusing him of being “profoundly ignorant… about the level of engagement between Australia and China at present and the state of the relationship.” “The fundamental interests underpinning the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and China have not changed,” Bishop stressed. Turnbull stood by Bishop, criticizing Raby’s piece as “utterly wrong.”

Apparently, problems have emerged in Sino-Australian ties. Canberra’s relationship with its largest trading partner is overwhelmed by distrust, with its high-level officials several times accusing China of spying and interfering in Australia’s domestic affairs. From a Chinese perspective, Australia is tilting toward the US and has become an active pivot of Washington’s tough China policy and a major force in smearing China.

Australians advocating a friendly policy toward China are frequently vilified. Voices defaming China are commonly heard in Australian public opinion. Incidents involving international students from China being threatened or harassed in Australia occur from time to time. Sino-Australian relations have dropped to their lowest point. Raby said in his previous article that the key reasons are Australian officials’ distrust of China and the enormous influence of the security establishment on the Turnbull government’s Beijing policy.

In recent years, China has improved ties with Asian countries with which it has disputes, further highlighting Australia’s unfriendliness. Canberra has no concrete conflict with Beijing, and thus tensions in their ties are baffling.

While few Chinese neighbors complain about China’s so-called interference or infiltration, Australia is obstinate about hyping China’s threat, with its so-called evidence originating with its radical interpretation of Sino-Australian economic and cultural exchanges. China isn’t viewed as a contributor to the country’s economic and societal development but a destroyer of its national security.

Misinterpretation of Sino-Australian ties has only made more troubles for Canberra, not Beijing. The China-Australia relationship doesn’t carry much weight in Beijing diplomacy, and Chinese have no sense of urgency to improve ties with Canberra. But the situation is different for Australia. China has tremendous influence on Australia’s development. Canberra will certainly feel uneasy for upsetting ties with Beijing.

Bishop and Turnbull are clear that damage to Sino-Australian ties isn’t in the national interest, and perhaps that’s why they rushed to oppose Geoff Raby’s article. Australia’s relations with China are among the worst of all Western nations. The remaining business and cultural exchanges between the two sides lack vitality. Frozen Sino-Australian ties will not gain the current Australian government any bonus points.

Superb diplomacy.


  1. LEt me make it easy for the diplomats
    Unless and until the chinee are booted out of this country
    There will be trouble.

  2. While few Chinese neighbors complain about China’s so-called interference or infiltration

    Pretty sure that Tibet, Taiwan, Vietnam and India might have something to say about China’s “so-called interference or infilitration”.

    • Add Malaysia to that list. The ruling party of more than 60 years just got thrown out significantly due to Chinese corruption of its politics and society.

      • azxylonMEMBER

        Eye-opening interview with Mahathir. Nails the issues that also concern us in Straya better than most.

      • truthisfashionable

        Thanks for that link TT.
        It’s only 2mins so easy to listen to.
        For me the standout is at the end.. paraphrasing “they can build factories using our workers, using our managers, just like anyone else is welcome to”.

        Shame the liberal party decided the opposite is fine in Australia and committed to it in a treason.. sorry trade agreement.

      • DingwallMEMBER

        Mahathir ……… Blimey physically and mentally he looks great for 92 !!!!!!

      • Tailortash, that could have been said word for word by one of our politicians. Except they won’t because they couldn’t care less about selling the country out from underneath us.

      • TT is the king of comments for the week. It will never happen here. We lack moral backbone to accept RE prices must collapse and we need to go through the pain in order to create an environment for sustainable growth.

    • And Lao, Cambodia and Thailand, except the dictators/leadership of those countries are in the Chicom’s pockets and saying anything critical about Chinese influence could get you in gaol or worse.

      • mark777MEMBER

        100% Jimbo, know Cambodia well, Sudam Hun Sen will sell that country to the highest bid, and China will pay, lining the pockets of that scum. The benefits of being a Commie state, not held back by global standards, supporting child labour and poverty, as long as the rich stay where they are, and the putrid filth below them slave away!

    • You can add Pakistan and Sri Lanka to that list. The Sri Lankan’s have lost control over the shiny new port the Chinese built, as they were unable to pay bills, so China now owns it for a 100 year term iirc. The Pakistani’s are discovering that CPEC might not be in their best interest.

      See also: https://www.quora.com/If-Pakistan-does-not-pay-back-the-CPEC-loans-will-China-convert-them-into-equity-and-own-CPEC – number of really good answers, from across the spectrum.

      • Big clive has citic in the opposite position, re the port
        and look at the attempts they took to avoid paying the dues.

      • BubbleyMEMBER

        Dont forget that Australia let the Chinese government (aka Landbridge) buy the Port of Darwin.

        National security risk anyone?

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        I think the Chinese installations nicely balance the US bases on the other side of Darwin Harbour.

    • DingwallMEMBER

      Could also add pretty much any country bordering the South China Sea ………

    • Plenty of ethic Chinese think the same way we do, from Indonesian, Taiwan, and believe it or not behind closed doors from the common people in Red China.
      I have lost count when visiting China when having dinner with friends being asked why the Australia government allows China’s 1%’ers to buy property here. the common line is “doesn’t you government know these people are crooks?”
      The average Chinese people in Red China are under the heel of a police state, but they are not dumb, they know what’s going on.

      • Exactly the same comments I have received for 5 years they consider Australia to be an incredibly stupid jurisdiction however that doesn’t preclude them parking cash there . Mind you across the country I dont see the same enthusiasm for the place I once did .the old scam of leveraging up in china and getting the funds offshore has been squashed by the credit controls … to an extent . I knew of one instance last year whereby one punter I met bragged about buying 3.5 million Aussie apartments in bangaroo.. then Aussie banks stopped lending he said not an issue BOCI Beijing will loan me the mmoney onshore … for the deals . From what I now see thats stopped too. The thing that has to be rememebred about the Chniese is that at heart they are collective . Im buying becasue he is buying and everyone else is fuck the fundamentals they are contrarioans . Thats why Chinese markets ( commodity futs etc) trend so hard including housing . However when they all stop….. its on mass . The game play in places like sufferers palestine will be interesting . Maybe the Chinese can force an induced crash on the Shit hole gold coast AKA GFC. Unfortunately the dumb country may just continue to get lucky and catch a bid from this place I feel.

  3. The Chinese will use Raby while he is useful and then throw him on the trash heap.

    All of this is about applying psychological pressure. The sooner Australia tells China to bugger off the better. We were a great country before China, we don’t need China.

    • DingwallMEMBER

      Like many, at some point he will be charged with corruption and chucked in the clink or worse.

  4. TailorTrashMEMBER

    “From a Chinese perspective, Australia is tilting toward the US and has become an active pivot of Washington’s tough China policy and a major force in smearing China.”………and there is the crux of it ……..tough choices indeed .

  5. McPaddyMEMBER

    “China isn’t viewed as a contributor to the country’s economic and societal development but a destroyer of its national security.” Correct. But you forgot about being a destroyer of economic balance and the social contract too.

  6. Be interesting to see what happens to Raby.

    Those who live by the shoeshine, die by the shoeshine.

    • +1
      Raby is a couple of rungs below Carr or Keating. Can’t rely on his public profile to protect him.

  7. “each worked for many years in Alexander Downer’s office, one of Australia’s most effective foreign ministers”… wtf is this nonsense.

    This morning, ZH is reporting:
    (1) The FBI sent counterintelligence agents, one of whom was Peter Strzok, to London in the summer of 2016 to meet with Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, to describe his meeting with Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos.

    (2) The meeting with Downer was described as “highly unusual,” and “helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation.”

    (3) The FBI kept details of the operation secret from most of the DOJ – with “only about five Justice Department officials” aware of the full scope of the case.”


    Most effective foreign minister who was dumb enough to be the start of a attempted coup against the US president. (option a) muppet was involved in coup attempt directly by playing footsie with other 5 eyes ‘intelligence’ community muppets, (option b) muppet wanted to feel important so was used as patsy by other bad actors.

    Either way, if swamp creature Raby is upset, who knows, maybe Julie Bishop is onto something. Well done Ms.Bishop.

  8. Hang on a minute. The Chinese have paid good money for Julie Bishop and by god she had better start to deliver! Otherwise she’s out and Kelly O’Dwyer is in. Now there’s a girl who knows how to honour a bribe.

  9. McPaddyMEMBER

    Let me guess. Aussie pollies are proving a bit more difficult to “influence” these days so the CCP has moved on to what it clumsily considers the next best thing?

    • Too much light is being shed on this issue atm. The Chinese work best in the dark, behind closed doors, when no one is watching.

    • BubbleyMEMBER

      Maybe they want to get rid of Julie Bishop for one of two diametric opposite reasons.

      1. She cannot be bought.
      2. She can be bought but is too expensive.

    • The Chinese just see it as networking with a few perks … Throw him a few bucks and some pussy and get what they need a voice . Australians in particular and incredibly easy to buy and always have the yellow brick road glasses on when in China. Tried and proven game play from every scummy public servant posted here do the time get the networks then try to capitalize on them.

  10. Somehow we keep ignoring this is a country that’s invaded it neighbours and butchered it’s citizens in Beijing square. Sure let’s just ignore that.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      We have invaded countries and killed their citizens, we are still doing it.
      Pot Kettle Black.