How to beat China’s war on Australian freedom

Via Peter Hartcher:

Beijing’s overreach is producing the beginnings of a resistance in much of the world. Australia was one of the earlier developed democracies to wake to China’s intrusions. The Turnbull government’s ban on Huawei and its foreign interference laws were the clearest signs. But now Australia is being tested again. Test one: The foreign interference laws are feebly enforced so far. The transparency register of foreign agents is a bit of a joke to date.

Test two: The man now seeking asylum in Australia as a Chinese spy, Wang “William” Liqiang, should be given it. Whether he is ultimately confirmed as a serious intelligence asset or frightened minor functionary. Why? If you are in Australia seeking asylum, and reasonably fear persecution if returned to your country of citizenship, the law says you are entitled to protection. Regardless of what thunderbolts Beijing may throw at Canberra in response.

Test three: The apparent effort by Chinese intelligence to plant an agent of Beijing’s influence in the Federal Parliament exposes Australian vulnerability afresh. We know that the alleged target, Melbourne car dealer Bo “Nick” Zhao, went to ASIO with his dilemma and was found dead in a Melbourne motel room in March. We don’t yet know the cause of death, now a matter for the coroner. But we are left with the impression that Australia’s security agencies didn’t protect him terribly well.

Test four: Knowing that it is possible Beijing aims to infiltrate an MP into parliament, Australia needs to require all new MPs and senators to go through a security check. Many Australians will be amazed to hear that it’s not a requirement already. Only then will the cloud of suspicion lift, and the public be reassured.

A noted pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong, former legislator Martin Lee, said recently: “We’re proving that Beijing’s power is not invincible or inevitable. We’re demonstrating that failure is not falling down but refusing to stand up.” The people of Hong Kong are waging a desperate, last-gasp effort to keep their liberties. Australia should heed their lesson and stand up now.

Those are helpful but only short term solutions. Feeble might be a good word for them. Here’s what we should be doing:

Test one: halve immigration. Chinese migration has already handed two federal seats into Beijing’s sphere of influence. While there is no certainty that local ethnic Chinese will always vote CCP why risk it?

Test two: Gladys Liu. There is already a Beijing agent of influence inside the Parliament. Whether or not she personally endorses it, Liu channels CCP-sympathic monies into the Liberal Party for favours.

Test three: funding for the National Counter Foreign Influence Co-ordinator within Home Affairs. Similar to the Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator which brings together a whole of government approach to security risks. It remains fallow.

Test four: a federal ICAC. To police foreign bribes of Australian officials.

These are the bare minimum steps. We should also be developing an entirely new Defence White Paper aimed directly at China with big increases in spending. As well as discussing how to deiversify trade and diplomatic risk with an eye on increased US engagement.

This is a war on Australian freedom. Let’s fight it, not pretened to do so.

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. The security check should be for preselection candidates. It’s too late once they’re candidates.

      • Yeah totally bizarre isn’t it. I work in IT and have had to get security / police checks and yet politicians who have greater access / influence seen to have less requirements.

  2. Forget that I can do all that’s needed in just one step:
    Diversify Australian exports
    job done
    . I only need to behave like someone’s b1tch if I’m someone’s b1tch.

  3. not much discussion on the posts today, everyone must be too busy shopping with the early black friday deals haha.

  4. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    Victorian police hang Chinese flags out front of the their stations, no wonder the cause of death was never really investigated, probably too risky due to the chance of some snowflake calling them racist

  5. we are left with the impression that Australia’s security agencies didn’t protect him terribly well.
    I am sorry that I laughed when I read that. It’s not funny. It’s deadly serious.

    • The last line of the British movietone news –

      “….that he has been hanged. That is the only end traitors to the country can expect”

  6. President Xi is a very intelligent man and a student of history. As President For Life, he is effectively dictator of the worlds largest population.
    When Hitler annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938, the rest of the world did nothing and Hitler said that was exactly what he expected to happen. Both France and Britain thought this would be enough to appease Germany’s hunger for land but it wasn’t until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 that the rest of the world woke up to his ambitions.

    Xi’s is currently building the Belt and Road network through both Europe, Asia and the Pacific. Thinking like a military strategist, these are the perfect staging posts for fuel, troops and food. The Port of Darwin is a classic example and the fact that the Chinese company that owns it is called Landbridge, a military phrase for a beach head and first landing of troop deployment, the Chinese are being quite clear about the future.

    The current lack of response by the normally heavy handed chinese polit bureau to the current Hong Kong crisis, makes me wonder what they are up to, Hong Kong is currently providing a nice distraction from mainland China’s other activities.

    For Australia to ignore history, to ignore blatant spying and attempts to subvert the country’s democracy “because we don’t want to annoy our biggest trading partner” is stupidity and/or corruption. We can’t ignore this the way Britain and France did in 1938 or we risk history repeating itself – and the small population of mineral rich Australia will be a major loser.

    • At least Trump is throwing a spanner in Xi’s gears.

      And there’s China’s failing banking system which is also going to be troublesome at some point.

  7. “Test one: halve migration”. Doesn’t fit the profile of M’Lord Hartcher. Who recently suggested that any changes to mass migration were tantamount to reviving “White Australia”. Playing the race card, even faster than Michael Spence.

    • There are plenty of other people Australia could import. Chinese who identify as Weiger would be a good start. Cambodians, Laos or Burmese.
      What about few moustache heavy countries – like Turkey? Or white but not white countries like Russia, Albania or Turkmenistan?

      The spread of nationalities should be wider, to encourage integration.
      Its natural for people to form enclaves or silo’s of their own cultures. They speak your language, they get your jokes, they know what its like to be a stranger in a strange land – but the spread of nationalities needs to be more diverse rather than two countries it seems to be at the current time, with a few token Poms tossed in.

  8. Jumping jack flash

    “…we are left with the impression that Australia’s security agencies didn’t protect him terribly well.”

    Hm yes, well there’s probably a good reason for that…

    Unbeknownst, as Nick spills the beans to ASIO he was actually “spilling the beans” directly to a couple of Chinese plants who relayed the information directly to the glorious Chinese regime.

    “See ya, mate, and thanks for the red-hot tip, cobber. Take care. Havanoiceday”, chirped one of the plants, cheerily.

    And that was the last anyone saw of Nick, alive, at least.
    Weeks later, Nick’s body would be found, having died quite suddenly, apparently from absolutely nothing. The case was carefully investigated by a couple of Chinese plants.