Labor gets its China comeuppance

Via The Australian comes worsening electioneering around Labor and China. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said:

…“I note Labor have distanced themselves from the remarks but Paul Keating is not an isolated ­figure in terms of … Bob Carr and others who sit within the (Labor) ranks,” the Trade Minister said during an election debate in ­Adelaide yesterday.

…The accusation infuriated Senator Wong, who attacked Senator Birmingham as “really desperate” and refused to shake his hand at the debate’s conclusion.

…The stoush followed a warning by a former US spy chief…Former US National Security Agency and Cyber Command chief Michael Rogers told an audience of Australia’s top military and intelligence leaders at an Australian Strategic Policy Institute dinner this week: “We’ve been mates for a long time — I don’t want to lose that. We have tended to take this relationship for granted for some time. My view is that isn’t going to work for us any more.”

Penny Wong is right to be pissed off. Her recent speech was a hawkish declaration on Labor’s China outlook:

The China relationship is a critical relationship for Australia – it is both complex and consequential.

Many of the current pressures will persist.

At times our interests will differ.

And challenges in the relationship may intensify.

It is not simply a matter of a “diplomatic reset.”

Fundamentally, we are in a new phase in the relationship.

First, we don’t pre-emptively frame China only as a threat.

Second, we must be grounded in the realities.

China is not a democracy nor does it share our commitment to the rule of law.

Differences between our systems and values will inevitably affect the nature of our interactions.

But those realities include the fact that China will remain important to Australia’s prosperity.

And that China will be critical to the shape and character of the entire region.

In fact it is hard to think of an important issue for Australia’s future where China will not be an influential player.

We also recognise that China has a right to develop, and a right to a role in the region alongside other regional powers.

Third, we need to consider the relationship as a whole.

The idea of an economic-strategic bifurcation was never really accurate, and certainly is not now.

A Labor Government will protect Australia’s interests and values – this means there will be occasions where decisions may not accord with China’s preferences.

However, her party has no such luxury. Labor greybeards have done a lot of damage in recent years with their China…ahem…activities. The NSW Right has been appalling in its dealings with alleged and exiled Communist Party of China (CCP) agent of influence Huang Xiangmo. Bob Carr has been an outright China apologist. John Brumby didn’t help. Not to mention the double dealing played by Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese a few days ago.

Yes, the LNP has its own questions to answer with Peter Dutton also dining with Huang Xiangmo and Andrew Robb gallivanting around in Chinese undies up north. There are donations all over the joint too.

But Labor made this bed, and Paul Keating set it afire, so it’s going to have to lie in it.


  1. Bill Shorten virtue signalling to Chinese voters that the Labor Party is not racist after comments from a Labor Party candidate and his peddling to Chinese voters in Sydney, I wonder whose side he is on??

  2. Problem with the political parties is they think electioneering to the Chinese means kowtowing to supporters of the PRC.

  3. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Not sure how Huang could be exiled if he was never a citazen ….he was just sent home
    …..also I’m sure he is in Keatings responsive ear to try to get back …….sack all those spooks and welcome billionaires …that’s the way Straya !

  4. NathanMEMBER

    This is hysterical.

    The LNP seem to dearly want to politicise the China/Australia relationship. Much like the Wentworth by-election and Israel, this is a bad idea and will lead to all kinds of unwanted and unintended consequences for this country.

    I doubt there is much difference between the parties on China or on America-note it was a series of Labor White Papers that named the beast and named the price for taking its “arm off”. We are only building the subs here because of Labor pressure, and it was that parties idea. Note, the bi-partisan defence funding increases through the Rudd/Gillard years. Labor has taken the defence of this country far more seriously than the grandstanding LNP.

    However, one thing I don’t doubt- he sale of the Port of Darwin to Chinese concerns under the LNP has done more to hinder Australian/American relations than anything Keating thas said. What a strategic blunder that was! Putting the Pacific off side is another. That the Chinese has even come close to putting a base on our doorstep under this LNP government is almost as bad as Pig Iron Bob selling iron to the Japanese pre-WWII. The conservatives in this country have no shame and are not above treason, and the media in this country allows them to get away with it. Shame.

    All this fuss over a PM last in power in the 90’s….says a lot about the desperations levels of the LNP and their fellow travellers, really.

    • Nathan shoots and he scores….a 3 pointer!

      Seriously Nathan, you’re not gonna get much love round here. FWIW, however, I’m with you.

      • NathanMEMBER

        My membership is up in October, and I wont be renewing.

        This blog has become more and more like the comment pages of a Andrew Bolt article. More and more bizarre.

      • @kodiak

        Truth hurts, eh mate?

        I’ve no idea what it is.cIs that an old person thing?

      • If I’m older than you, it’s not by much. You’re like a third rate John Pilger who criticizes people by who they are and not by what they actually say. The LNP are grubs, but the Australia/ China relationship is already politicized. You can end up living in a land that is a defacto Chinese colony if you wish. I’ll take my family back to the United States and watch from afar.

      • @kodiak

        You aren’t even Australian?! Oh my lord, please give us your wisdom, oh great expat. Us bumpkins here in Oz want to know the magic of the great America. Just lol.

        Australia has a better society than America, and it will get just that much better once you leave.

      • You’re just further outing yourself as a bigoted simpleton.

        What has the great Oz to look forward to? Manufacturing is gone. You have painted the economy into a corner. You are China’s bitch.What do you put R&D money into for innovation to introduce to the world?

        Things will get better for me when I leave. But I suppose that nothing written by a seppo is of any regard. You should be wearing a sign Id cross the street to f#cking brain you.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Thanks Nathan. I applaud you in providing a dissenting, respectful opinion, even if I disagree with it.

    • According to Reuters the UN says it has credible reports that China has 1 million Uighars in Re-educarion camps. (
      I would have thought that alone would have been enough to ‘politicize’ the relationship. It makes about as much sense as suggesting we move our embassy to Jerasulem a week before a critical by-election then complaining about politicizing.

      And to think how the Left gets so worked up about the few hundred people we have on Naru.

      • Erm, the “left”? This is Realpolitik here, this isn’t friendy time down at your local bowlo, matey. We have deep interests in China, and I would argue we have deep interests in China holding itself together. The same for Indonesia. America has very different interests to us on this regard. Which is fine…..if we have the ability to assert our own interests. The LNP, people on this blog, and even this blog on occasion, seems to forget that we are in fact a sovereign nation, and do have interests that are different to the USA.

        I’m all for AUSTRALIAN sovereignty….are you? Doesn’t read like it.

  5. What gets me is they are only fishing for the local Chinese vote to win yet ignore the real danger that brings with it. It ignores all the real cyber war they are waging against us and our democracy. How is it possible Bill and his mates can’t see it…or choose to ignore the security services real warnings. Again we’re f….d

  6. Haughty Wong might sound hawkish, but one speech doesn’t whitewash Labors crooked complicity over years. Her speech is too little too late! It was ill judged & undiplomatic for a potential steward not to shake hands too.

    I also don’t know why Birmingham thought he could throw stones in a glasshouse, they’ve still got shit in their pants too!