Geoff Raby comes the raw China prawn

Geoff Raby joins the China apologists gathering under the skirts of Malcolm Turnbull’s recent China kowtowing speech today:

It is telling that the Prime Minister chose to make his speech when his Foreign Minister was out of the country. Management of the relationship was just too important to be left to the Foreign Minister to carry and whose department has, on China policy, been marginalised by Canberra’s security, defence and intelligence establishment.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s attack on the PM’s initiative to try to get relations back on track is self-serving. Far from kowtowing to China, the PM showed a rare streak of statesmanship. Rudd may still be smarting at Turnbull’s refusal to back him for the UN Secretary-General job.

…But there are risks to this return to normality. Despite the PM’s speech, Canberra remains deeply conflicted over how Australia should view and deal with China. In the past, the PM has stated that Australia did not see China as a strategic rival. This did not prevent him or his Foreign Minister acting as if it were.

And what, exactly, does Mr Geoff Raby get out his relentless support for China in Australia? This:

What does he do for them? This:

Based in Beijing, Geoff Raby & Associates advises and enables Australian and Chinese businesses to capture opportunities and values across cultural and geographic boundaries.

GRA’s strong relationships with senior leaders in government and corporations in China gives the company unique and publicly unavailable insights and knowledge about a broad spectrum of issues.

With expertise and experience across Australia, Hong Kong and Greater China, GRA’s multilingual expert staff is a well of knowledge for its clients, providing understanding about the inner workings of senior corporate management and government relations.

From the grand halls of Beijing diplomacy to the one-room offices of tiny Chinese towns, GRA’s staff have over 20 years of understanding and frontline experience in China’s growth and development.

That’s more than fair enough. But is it a frank and fearless platform from which to critique everybody else’s personal biases on China? Is it even a platform from which it is appropriate to comment on relations?

No doubt Mr Raby believes what he says but this is the problem in Australia’s China debate. There is no “normal” to which to return. There is only a swath of interests that are amplified in the debate by Chinese-related capital in one form or another versus those that would stick their heads up and question how far Australian democracy has been penetrated and unduly influenced by the same dough. For their trouble the latter often get their heads knocked off in our own courts by China-funded legal actions.

There may be a China reset to be had. It might involve improved relations than today. But it must put Australian sovereignty and democracy first or it is doomed to sink the relationship entirely.

Comments

  1. Venture capital is a small part of the Chinese economy, which by most accounts is still growing at a quick pace compared with many other countries. But the industry’s fundraising problems may be a symptom of a widening malaise. After many years of easy credit and go-go growth, China is struggling with weakened investment and household consumption, and increasing corporate and local government defaults. It could present President Xi Jinping with his most difficult problem since he became the country’s top leader. How will 1.4 billion Chinese react when they realize that the country’s upward trajectory is coming to an end? Many Chinese still believe that the central government has the capacity to keep the economy from sliding into a recession, just as it did during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the Great Recession in 2008. In private conversations, investors, entrepreneurs and economists admit that with the high debt level and a trade war with the United States, the room for government maneuvering is shrinking. The degrees of pessimism vary, but many of them are bracing for a tough ride ahead. They advised changing all savings into gold, a risk management measure for extreme times. They worry that the trade war will hurt the tech and the venture capital industries because they operate globally. San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Jul 18

    • The new sanctions limit dealings in Iran’s currency and with its automotive industry. They also threaten US penalties for banks that finance the precious-metals trade with Iran and against anyone who sells precious metals to the Iranian government. Worried about a shaky economy and enticed by government sales of gold coins, Iranians have converted savings into gold recently even as prices skyrocketed. Demand for gold bars and coins in Iran tripled year-over-year in the second quarter. For Iranians, giving gold coins as gifts during holidays and New Year celebrations and buying gold jewelry – the more elaborate the better – during weddings is part of tradition. But the recent surge in prices far outruns the inherent demand. People have lined up outside banks this year to place advance orders for Emami coins. The price of an Emami stood at around 36 million rials on Sunday, more than double its price in January. It had hit a record of more than 45 million rials a week ago. The demand has been primarily for coins, shop owners said. The Wall Street Journal

      • Gold demand totaled 1,959 tonnes in the first half, the lowest since 2009. Gold has been out of favor in the US because the Federal Reserve has lifted interest rates twice this year and has signaled that further rises are on the way. As a non-interest bearing asset, gold can suffer when interest rates rise and investors chase higher-returning alternatives. What is more surprising is that gold has not benefitted, in the US at least, from a volatile geopolitical backdrop. The net short position in gold – the difference between bets on falling and rising prices – hit 27,156 contracts, the equivalent of 2.7m ounces of the precious metal, its highest level since 2006. The Financial Times (London), 3 Aug 18

  2. Raby is going to have to register as a foreign agent under the new foreign interference laws…..