Feel the fear:
I note that for Mr Pavlou to be a martyr he must first die. I shouldn’t put ideas in UQ’s head. The story says!
Before he was dubbed the world’s most famous undergraduate, Drew Pavlou was merely a “particularly annoying” student making life hell for the University of Queensland over its close relationship with China.
Now, with Pavlou predicting he will be expelled on Friday, the 20-year-old university senator is in danger of becoming a martyr to free speech, academic freedom, and the right of undergraduates to act like court jesters.
The anti-Chinese Communist Party activist’s formal troubles began after a jokey comment on social media directed at the campus Confucius Institute, a cultural and languages studies centre that is part of a global network funded by the Chinese government.
The piece shoots pretty straight despite a disapproving tone. But it’s one of those headlines that illustrates part of the problem, the capturing of business interest by China, such that greed comes before freedom.
Thankfully, with Australia’s sharp turn to negative in its views about China, these voices no longer matter. What does is the people and their rag where the tone is altogether different! At the Herald Sun:
When he’s not a “fire-breathing activist” taking on the insidious influence of China’s Communist Party in Australia, Drew Pavlou loves his two dachshunds Max and Luna, reading Shakespeare and chilling with his mates.
Becoming one of the world’s best-known student activists overnight after he took on one of Australia’s leading universities for its links to the Asian superpower, he said people often expected him to be serious like Greta Thunberg.
“I’m a human rights campaigner but I have never been a serious person. I love humour and satire,” the 20-year-old University of Queensland student said yesterday.
Scummo got the memo, at Seven:
Taking questions after delivering a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday, the prime minister was asked if Australian businesses might consider investment with China to be a riskier prospect, given events of the past few weeks.
“I think that’s a judgement Australian businesses can only make,” he said.
“Like any business, they have to weigh up the security of the markets in which they sell to, and the risks that are associated with those.
“And those risks will move, from time to time. They’ll ebb and flow.”
Morrison said it was not the government’s role to make trading decisions for agriculture and resources exporters, or those providing China with aged care services and education.
“Businesses have got to weigh up those risks and make those assessments themselves,” he said.
“Australia has a very bright trading future, and businesses will make their judgements about how they participate in that.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Meanwhile, other bribed Australians continue to take a pounding, at The Australian:
Self-proclaimed government influencer Jean Dong has praised China’s handling of the coronavirus, saying everyone could see the Asian superpower was “solving” the global pandemic.
The pro-China entrepreneur, who lobbied the Victorian government to sign on to the country’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, also said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “providing confidence and directions for the global fight over the epidemic and economic growth”.
In an interview with the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, Guangming Daily, first published on March 27, Ms Dong praised Mr Xi’s “ four-point initiative”, saying it was obvious China had taken the lead in the fight against the coronavirus.
…The Australian can also reveal the Andrews Labor government paid Ms Dong’s Melbourne-based Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative almost $36,850 in consultancy fees without conducting a tender process.
And on the other side of the media aisle, at The Age:
Victoria did not consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before signing a controversial infrastructure deal with the Chinese government last year, leaving senior officials concerned it could undermine Australia’s push to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
…Senior sources within the Australian government have also confirmed DFAT had warned the Victorian government that it was Australia’s policy not to sign on to the BRI in the months leading up to the agreement being inked.
Executive director at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings said there was a serious risk of Victorian companies directly contributing to Beijing’s debt diplomacy in the Pacific under the agreement.
Mr Jennings said the Andrews government’s actions “have been flagrantly reckless and undermines a bipartisan Australian foreign policy position”.
…John Blaxland, professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University, said the Victorian government’s decision not to show the draft agreement to DFAT was “quite extraordinary and almost adversarial”.
But Manchurian Dan has the answer:
State secrecy has worsened since the Andrews government was elected, with new figures showing a steady year-on-year decline in the release of information by Victorian departments and agencies.
Years after Labor promised to end the “culture of secrecy” surrounding freedom of information in Victoria, a five-year review has found the number of people receiving full access to documents spiralled down between 2014 and 2019, while delays, complaints and rejected freedom-of-information requests have continued to rise.
The findings have prompted an unprecedented call by the state’s FOI watchdog for a revamp of the state’s freedom-of-information system.
When one kid can rock the foundations of your economy and society with a few jokes, you know you’ve jumped the shark.