Daniel Andrews in hock to China?

Via the AFR comes Australia’s secessionist China state:

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews will attend Chinese president Xi Jinping’s forum to promote its controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure program next week, as Australia’s relationship with Beijing comes under fresh scrutiny ahead of the federal election.

The visit by Mr Andrews and Australian business groups to China comes as tensions resurface in Australia’s relationship with China over a ban on Huawei’s 5G equipment and restrictions on Australia’s coal imports. China has complained about Australia’s ban to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

But is all as it seems? At Banking Day:

Bank of China faces a bout of public scrutiny after its emergence as the fifth largest lender to the Australian government sector behind the Big Four domestic banks.

Disclosures in APRA’s monthly banking statistics show that a government customer borrowed A$100 million from the state-owned Chinese bank in October last year.

It is rare for Australian governments or their agencies to borrow directly from state-owned foreign banks given the potential for such arrangements to create conflicts of interest for domestic governments.

Banking Day has not been able to verify the identity of the government borrower, but the reporting of the loan to APRA coincided with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews signing a bilateral trade deal with the Chinese government on 8 October last year.

If it is VIC it would be very interesting to know the terms.

Meanwhile, for those that still live in Australia, back at the AFR:

“The Chinese government always encourages other countries to provide an open, fair, just, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

“It is our belief that any country which takes discriminatory approach with any excuse on this issue will not help the country to take part in international cooperation and will not help it to benefit from international cooperation in the end.”

And more:

If China were to lodge a formal challenge, former WTO legal officer and Melbourne University lecturer Professor Tania Voon warned Australia would face significant challenges defending either of these positions, with the national security argument in particular “a stretch”.

Reuters reported a Chinese diplomat made the complaint in Geneva on Friday, claiming Australia’s ban was “obviously discriminative” against China and Huawei. Under WTO rules countries cannot discriminate against companies because of where they come from, except under certain strict conditions.

Rounding us is Jen Hewitt, frequent recipient of FMG junkets to Chinese events:

Within the region, China is dramatically extending its economic clout and political influence with a range of countries due to the many billions of dollars available for infrastructure projects via its “Belt and Road Initiative”. Australia maintains it can consider projects on a case-by-case basis but refused to sign up as a partner (although that caution didn’t stop the Victorian state government signing its own MOU with China last year).

The trade-offs in signing up to China’s power more generally are only going to become tougher.

Not really. More painful perhaps. These decisions are being made in Washington not Canberra. As a vital member of the five eyes group there is no alternative for us. That is not going to change unless the local strategic community is so spooked by the idea that the US is prepared to abandon the Australian spear tip against China that we must give up our democracy, which is kind of self-defeating.

Despite all of the hoopla, we are still along distance from that outcome thanks to Pine Gap.

Let’s build another!

 

David Llewellyn-Smith

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.

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Comments

  1. Holy crap. It’s hard to come to terms with this. Dan Andrews I understand, but as to why the media let him off without any scrutiny and he doesn’t disclose either. As a Victorian I’m disgusted, but it just add to the loss of trust in the se;f serving elite where ever they are. I asked a few friends recently about Dan’s BRI move and now one knew about it. That was 10 people at a BBQ so it shows how low this is on list of issues these days. I was gobsmacked by the apathy as well… everyone is so busy working to make ends meet they just don’t connect it seems.

    • the_bystanderMEMBER

      He says all the right progressive virtue signalling things that the media love, so they ignore the far more sinister underbelly of the Vic Labor government. Not that the Coalition would be any better, sadly enough…

      • Absolutely correct! He has a cult following due to the virtue signalling. Meanwhile he runs very neoliberal policies:
        * Toll road deals (as mentioned on this blog)
        * Very expensive toll road in the pipeline
        * Spending big on refurbishing stadiums
        * Secret deals with Apple for a flagship store
        * Selling off assets (Port of Melbourne, Snowy Hydro, Land Titles)

        If this was the opposition, there would be howls of protest, but there are seemingly few if any.

      • Agree. I’m certain the LNP are as dishonest. It’s all the injustice that flows from their corruption that gets me. It’s almost wverything in our lives now. So we have surveillance capital and corruption capital all working against a fair go.

      • @ bystander and jollyroger

        Totally agree but we know when the business lobby get in ( LNP ) they will be pro business. Businesses take risks and create jobs, but should also pay their fair share of tax; Dream on.

        What really sh#its me is that the dishonest Labor party members always pretend to be for the working class families which is complete BS ( Yes BS = Bill Shorten or any other BS you chose ).

        Crickey this site has a Labor party recruiting officer, namely EP a plumber; not saying he is a bad egg but do we really know him ??

        My plumber mates are all millionaires and own at least 1 or 2 IP;s. Plumbers are on high income/wages and not really the poor working class. They employ their family members in the office to reduce tax and provide apprenticeship for their sons and/or family members; so a closed shop for family only. More a business than a working class family.

        Just ask what a “Call Out” fee is for a plumber and you will need a sedative.

      • One might say you are very pro LNP and what do we know about you Shylock?

        At least EP stumps up for membership as opposed to some rando from the internet.

        Be cautious about throwing shade on other commentators as it can easily be flicked back to you.

  2. “The Chinese government always encourages other countries to provide an open, fair, just, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

    “It is our belief that any country which takes discriminatory approach with any excuse on this issue will not help the country to take part in international cooperation and will not help it to benefit from international cooperation in the end.”

    Don’t do as we do, do as we say bitches!

  3. Its mainly the fault of the policies of John Howard to get everything privatised and to pump as many people into Oz as possible. Victoria does not have much industry to speak of anymore, not much agriculture and very few mineral projects. With the explosion of the population (which is also being promoted by the ALP and Greens) the State govt has to find ways of funding infrastructure projects to keep the show alive. Clearly Victoria is going to become bankrupt in time and if the Chinese govt owns a lot of the debt they will want their pound of flesh, just like what happened to the port that was funded by China in Sri Lanka.

    The Chinese are basically doing to other countries what the west was doing to them. But we are too greedy and stupid to stop it for fear of being called rachists. Only ON wants to stop this dependency on foreign capital and develop Oz for Australians, but people on MB keep rubbishing them for being too rustic. At least put ON ahead of Lib/Lab/Greens as a protest vote if you are going to vote for another minor party and are capable of thinking flexibly.

    • ‘But we are too greedy and stupid to stop it for fear of being called rachists.’ – this is not actually true. The way you want to think about it is, ‘When the west had power, they could do what they wanted in China. But now that China has power, they do what they want in the West.’ Another way to think about it is, back when the west was rogering china, do you think no one in China realized this? Or did they realize, and there was nothing they could do anyways.

      Technically, its not actually that no one stops them because we are afraid of being called racist. Its that no one has the power to stop them, and calling them names will not change that, and probably get you Zhongnanhai’s attention. So politicians pretend to not notice and not call them out, use racism as the excuse to not call them out. This behaviour is less likely to hurt their career prospects too, seeing as irrespective what canberra pollies say/do, makes no difference.

      Now what deals the ALP has made with China (or realistically, who within the ALP/LNP/MSM is bought/blackmailed into not speaking out/supporting chicom expansion) is hard to say, but you can be sure that there are very good reasons Dan Andrews says nothing, and the press chooses to not notice. You and I might not know these reasons, but you can be sure such reasons exist.

      • T

        We will have to disagree on this one.

        Australia can simply stop doing the stupid and submissive things, acquire more US bases here and build our own nuclear deterrence. China started from a very weak position back in 1979 when they opened economically to the west. We are in a relatively much better position, but there is a refusal to acknowledge the issues and to deal with them.

        China needs to import a huge amount of resources, but we do not have to buy anything from them. There are other suppliers of products, even if it costs something more and we can also restore our manufacturing base, over time. We can stop importing people to replace/displace us and have a much more competitive economy that lowers the cost of living (housing in particular, but also education, transport, energy, health, social services etc).

        We choose to do what we are doing because we are locked into a particular mindset, formed for us by MSM, the education/indoctrinisation processes, our FIRE/Education(“export”) based economy and by powerful internationaland local business forces that want open borders for the easy movement of capital and labour for profit (that has been an ongoing issue for decades).

      • I hear where you are coming from. The points you have raised make sense, but I am not sure they hold currently, irrespective of how true they were in the past.

        1. ‘acquire more US bases here and build our own nuclear deterrence’ – Not sure this is a possibility. Officially the 5eyes are an alliance. Unofficially, it turns out the Obama WH got its 5eyes partners to spy on the Trump campaign. Our very own Alexander Downer, overseen by Erica Thompson (ASIO handler), decided to be the starting point of the ‘Russia Dossier’ conspiracy theory. Now I don’t believe little Alex D has the brains (or [email protected]) to do this on his own accord, so my suspicion is Turnbull/Bishop signed off on it (which is why I think they were turfed, and ScoMo had to shift the embassy to make nice with the Americans).

        Additionally, given Joseph Mifsud, Chrisopher Steele et al, my suspicion is GCHQ is also neck deep in this mess. Given Jacinta Arderns history, and the suspicious proximity of NZ to lots of things happening lately, money to clinton foundation, christchurch shooting (+ very suspicious legal precedents), visits by podesta the molesta and bigH to NZ since Ardern. And Castro’s [email protected]@rd son in Canada. Yeah – 5eyes may well only exist in name now.

        1b . Who will give us nuclear weapons? Do you think the security council will allow Australia to have nukes given above? I would not be so sure, and there is a world of difference between having a theoretical people/capability to build a nuke, to having a credible second strike capability. Do you think the Australian public has the stomach for this, or the wallet? I don’t buy this for 1 second, and think this is wishful thinking.

        2. ‘we do not have to buy anything from them’ – Incorrect. We are a net capital importer. Alternately, do you think without cap inflows from China we would be able to export enough to maintain our lifestyles? Not least because I’m pretty sure the cap inflows are mostly dodgy. Our advantage here is our regulators are relatively cheap to bribe in an international context. My suspicion is the shoe is definitely on the other foot on this one.

        3. ‘ we are locked into a particular mindset, formed for us by MSM, the education/indoctrinisation processes, our FIRE/Education(“export”) based economy’ – disagree.

        Do you really think the MSM/education complex is so powerful? FI maybe (def not the RE), and definitely not the other two muppet sets. I’d say you have causality the wrong way around. The reason the MSM/BigEd/FIRE push this particular mindset is because they understand the reality of the position better than us, and know that there are no options (or at-least none which would preserve their current lifestyles).

        Look, the MSM is propaganda, but no one ever argued they came up with the contents of said propaganda. BigEd is useful as a pressure value for society, but its not like anyone actually gives less of a sh!t what some Vice Chancellor in Western Sydney thinks – they are paid to put up and shut up. Lets not pretend they have any actual power outside of what is useful to cede. BigEd could be replaced by a fairly primitive set of AI’s tomorrow if anyone powerful cared. They are only useful for the social currency they provide, a faint hope to prevent the masses from going 1776 on the elites.

        ‘want open borders for the easy movement of capital and labour for profit’ – sure, but again, what is the direction of the causality? Let me put it another way, did MSM/BigEd/FIRE cause the change, or did something else change and now it seems MSM/BigEd/FIRE has power?

        Look, a lot of the above is speculation. But as Arthur Conan Doyle put it, the key point is that the dog did not bark. When did the premier of Victoria become someone who dealt with international things? And no one says anything? Why are the dogs not barking?

      • T

        Australia definitely has the financial ability to develop a nuclear deterrence system. Heck even Israel with a fraction of our financial clout has done it. We could do it jointly with the Japanese who also fear China and would be able to test the bombs on our plot like the UK did. The UN would have no say in this. We will have the stomach for it we have enough fear.