Via The Australian comes the oligarchs:
Fortescue Metals Group boss Elizabeth Gaines has warned that China will look to develop alternative iron ore supplies outside the Pilbara if Australia neglects its relationship with its biggest trading partner…Ms Gaines said the Australian business community needed to maintain its influence in public debate on political policies. “The most critical of these is our Australia-China relationship,” she said.
…“We believe it is our responsibility to contribute to economic and social policy debates, especially when they impact our business and the livelihood of our people,” she said.
“Our success and that of the economy as a whole has been built on the great powerhouse that is China. We must ensure that our experience is front and centre in the discussion about Australia’s relationship with China to position ourselves for future success.
FMG already bankrolls regular junkets to favourable Chinese events for AFR journalists, especially for its Page Two columnist. You tell me if this is “to contribute to economic and social policy debates”.
Basically the argument is poppycock. Australia was rich long before the China boom. It would still be rich without it. Not to mention a lot more free, less corrupt and capable of good policy to make its people richer instead of a few oligarchs.
The dirt would still be shipped, just at lower prices. The tourists and students would still come, just from other countries. The crashed AUD and lower house prices would make Australia an irresistibly competitive market on the doorstep of Asia as it absorbed all of the supply chains galloping out of a repressive China.
It would not be painless, but neither is making FMG rich at the expense of freedom for our kids.
In short, Gaines’ warning is classic partial analysis designed to benefit FMG shareholders, not national interest policy.
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.