A week or so ago Malcolm Turnbull issues a veiled warning to his former party at the SCMP:
They took issue with Turnbull for citing former Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong in December 2017, when he said: “Modern China was founded in 1949 with these words: Zhongguo renmin zhanqilai – the Chinese people have stood up.’”
“It was an assertion of sovereignty, it was an assertion of pride. And so we say: Aodaliya renmin zhanqilai – the Australian people stand up.’”
China’s tabloid press – particularly the Global Times – was infuriated and it further inflamed an already antagonistic relationship between Turnbull and China’s media organs by writing in one op-ed: “Turnbull’s speech is full of lecturing aimed at China. He should be thankful that Beijing has a big heart. After what he said, we still did not hang up on him.”
“You are never going to win friends by insulting them and some of those personal attacks were utterly offensive and of a kind I have never seen used in Australian media, rambunctious, independent as it may be, I have never seen criticism like that against a Chinese leader,” said Turnbull.
“The suggestion was made in some quarters that somehow or other it was inappropriate of me to quote chairman Mao. I am sorry, chairman Mao is a great Chinese leader, one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, but his writings belong to all of humanity. Everyone is entitled to quote, read Mao, read that history, quote it. Just like Americans are not the only people who can quote Thomas Jefferson, English men and women are not the only ones who can quote Edmund Burke.”
Turnbull, meanwhile, describes as “sort of liberating” the unilateral way Trump bypasses the media through tweeting.
“He is using the platforms of social media, Twitter in particular, to go absolutely right past the mainstream media. He doesn’t need to call a press conference or a journalist,” said Turnbull.
But Turnbull denied that Trump’s use of Twitter allowed him to avoid being held to account by legitimate media.
“He is entitled to do that, to what extent he’s being held to account, I think he is being held to account, he certainly has no shortage of critics,” added Turnbull.
OK, Malcolm, so here we come it. You have your platform and have aimed it directly at Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for his extraordinary dealings with exiled and alleged Chinese agent of influence, Huang Xiangmo. Yesterday:
“Look, Peter Dutton has got a lot to explain about this.”
“He is supposed to be the minister responsible for the domestic security of Australia, He is supposed to be the minister responsible for ensuring our politics is not influenced by foreign actors.
“The laws that I introduced at the end of 2017 about foreign influence and foreign interference are very important laws and responded to a rising concern in the community.
“Now, the idea that the minister responsible for enforcing those laws has had a meeting of this kind does raise a lot of questions but Peter Dutton is the only one that can answer it and Mr Santo Santoro should equally be answering questions about his role.”
Some in the media like to portray this as a spat between embittered individuals, such as the AFR:
Here we go again. Scott Morrison might have banked on having a week of clearer air – or at least not such toxic air – in order to promote the Coalition budget. Instead, he got a destructive replay of Coalition culture wars to poison his pre-election campaign sell.
There’s no escaping Malcolm Turnbull’s permanent fury at Peter Dutton’s betrayal, both personally and politically, of his prime ministership last August.
But it is much bigger than that. The full authority of a former Prime Minister and his greatest policy legacy in driving back a “silent invasion” of the Australian Parliament by CCP agents of influence is now aimed directly at the Home Affairs Minister. This has to be investigated formerly or there is no due process left in the Parliament.
And it gets worse, via Domain this morning:
Former Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane asked Peter Dutton to consider a request from Chinese Communist Party-aligned billionaire Huang Xiangmo for special citizenship treatment just prior to Mr Dutton approving the request.
The revelation that the former Liberal director was involved in the controversial citizenship process for Mr Huang’s family in early 2015 comes as the scandal involving the Chinese property developer has widened to include defence minister Christopher Pyne.
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald has confirmed that Mr Huang, a major political donor, paid tens of thousands of dollars to a former Liberal minister turned lobbyist, Santo Santoro, and secured a meeting with Mr Pyne.
And worse, at The Australian:
Liberal MPs have turned up the heat on Bill Shorten for having had a lunch with the Chinese Communist Party-linked Huang Xiangmo in 2015 after he gave the Labor Party a $55,000 donation.
Liberal powerbroker Michael Sukkar said the ABC’s Four Corners report on Monday night — which revealed that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had a meeting with the Chinese billionaire who paid at least $10,000 to former Liberal minister and lobbyist Santo Santoro — should also have referenced the Opposition leader’s lunch with Mr Huang.
“I think it’s remarkable that the man who wants to be prime minister, who in a matter of weeks wants to be prime minister, was paid $55,000 to have lunch with this man,” Mr Sukkar told the ABC yesterday. “Where is the Bill Shorten Four Corners?
There needs to be royal commission into CCP influence in the Parliament but who is left to call it?
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.