Brace for the China election

Brace for the China election. An election that the Australian Labor Party cannot win.

Beetrooter Joyce returned to the Party Room yesterday. He immediately went on the attack. Not over coal and climate change. Nor closed borders or vaccines. Nor loss of Chinese markets for the bush. He gave us this:

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has issued a stark warning to government MPs about the risk to Australia from the waning power of the United States, calling for unity as China emerges as a new superpower.

Mr Joyce urged Liberal and Nationals MPs to unite behind the mission of making Australia “as strong as possible as quickly as possible” when it could not rely on the US to guarantee regional security.

The message resonated with government MPs who are increasingly concerned about the Chinese government’s construction of military bases in the South China Sea and provocations in the Taiwan Strait.

“He said there’s a unifying cause, that it’s more important to the nation than anything else, that the times that we live in today are different to those that we were born into,” a Coalition spokesman said of the remarks.

“He said the world is changing … we’re moving from the Pax Americana to a new superpower that’s different and there are different ways of seeing the world.

“Our liberties and freedoms that we took as a birthright and never really thought about, in the future might be challenged like they never have before.”

All true. And the overwhelming majority of Australians agree. The new Lowy Poll also out today is unequivocal across all dimensions. China is cooked:

What politician would not want to ride this sentiment dragon?

Sadly for the Australian Labor Party, it has missed an epochal turning and thus invited the Morrison Government to run a China election. Throughout the above violent swing in public sentiment, Labor has defended China, pushed back policy efforts to fight it, blamed Australia for deteriorating relations, allowed its phalanx of China-embedded greybeards to set the public agenda and tried to rally business against the Government.

It continues today:

The WA government appointed two pro-Beijing community leaders to a new paid advisory council before Premier Mark McGowan escalated his criticism of the Morrison government’s handling of the China relationship.

…In February, his government appointed Dr Edward Zhang and Dr Ting Chen, as the only two Chinese community representatives, to his 15-member multicultural council, a policy advisory body where members can earn up to $385 per day.

Zhang, who didn’t reply to a request for comment, has condemned the federal government’s position on the disputed South China Sea. “We overseas Chinese are the first line of defence for our motherland,” he said in 2016.

He has also said he would censor any content frowned upon by Beijing in his Chinese-language newspaper, the Australian Chinese Times, including criticism of the government, separatist language and references to the Falun Gong and the Taiwanese independence movement.

Zhang is a founding member and honorary chairman of the WA branch of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, a group tied to United Front. The United Front operates overseas networks that mobilise support for the Chinese Communist Party.

Chen, the second representative on the council, has been vice-president or president of WA’s largest and oldest Chinese association, Chung Wah, since 2017.

The association’s shift to a pro-Beijing organisation was ushered in by former president Richard Tan after years of internal hostilities sidelined second-generation Australian-Chinese members.

Tan said he built the organisation’s intimate relationship with the Chinese consulate and aided a leadership takeover by a bloc of mainlanders in murky circumstances in 2015 when Chen was secretary.

Tan said there was no official affiliation with United Front but many individuals had ties with groups in the network, including himself. Chen founded WA’s Fujian association – a United Front linked operation – with his colleague Ding Shaoping. Chen then succeeded Ding as the president of Chung Wah.

…In 2016 Chung Wah signed a statement defending China’s actions in the South China Sea where it has made territorial claims disputed at the United Nations.

…“With the tensions between China and Australia, I am concerned if things get worse these [may not be] good representatives of the Chinese community in Australia,” said the Liberal figure, who asked to remain anonymous so he could speak freely.

He said the association struggled to resist the pressures from the consulate, which often underwrote their functions, pressured them to host events and linked them to United Front groups.

…Chung Wah received a $5 million grant from the WA government at the end of last year – equivalent to its entire annual budget. McGowan personally awarded the grant in the key seat of Riverton ahead of the state election in March, which he won in a landslide.

The association is audited by CPL, a company run by the Perth-based family of Tam Yiu-Chung, the only Hong Kong representative in the standing committee of Beijing’s National People’s Congress. Tam was sanctioned by the US after he drafted the national security laws that have imprisoned more than 100-pro democracy leaders in Hong Kong and wiped out public opposition to Beijing.

As I said last year, as Chinese agents of influence exit Australia, expect them to do their very best to divide WA from the rest of the nation.

I am not especially worried about this in a structural sense. Although surveys suggest a greater sympathy for China in WA than other states, anxieties about the evils of the CCP are still high. For the most part, worries about Canberra alienating China come in the form of job security. But China is going to divorce Aussie dirt anyway in due course so WA will simply have to adjust, with fiscal transfers to support it from other states.

What is more of a concern is that the Australian Labor Party is clearly still utterly vulnerable to Chinese influencers. So much so that it is prepared to fund them with large sums of taxpayer cash. This is a pretty ironic reversal of the usual relationship and suggests an intimacy born of institutional belief, not just pragmatic grasping.

What on earth needs to happen to awaken Labor to the epoch that has swept past it, I have no idea. It is determined to cast its vote on the wrong side of history even as Australians stride entirely in the opposite direction.

Labor can bleat all it likes about the Morrison Government seeking a “khaki election” but it is its own fault. It has totally failed to read the great turn in geopolitics, the national security implications of it and the visceral reactions of Australians to it.

So now it will face an electoral test based upon an epochal national security misjudgment that it cannot possibly, nor should, win.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. What a cr$ppy choice we face.
    At least the EU and rest of world will pressure the Noalition into action on emissions, in conjunction with state policy (eg NSW’s Matt Kean), so what do you do?

    Vote with the Noalition on China and all the attendant corruption, incompetence, s#xual harrassment stuff, no ICAC, etc etc
    Or
    The Laborist Party representing the CCP in the EZFKAA?

    Not the Greens.

    Jesus wept.

      • Although: who said here before, vote your principles, not your fears.
        It’s a case of who is less worse.
        At present, by a nose, Labor less worse.
        Then, there’s Betaloo – thanks Labor.
        Goddddddddddd

        • turvilleMEMBER

          Labor would be far worse – no policies just pathetic berating of the incumbent and wheeling in those narcissistic types like Krudd , Shorten and Swan. Albo has been a big failure after being a pretty good orator when a minister in govt and opposition.

          • Anders Andersen

            “no policies just pathetic berating of the incumbent………”

            Where were you at the last election and can you please name the policies the present gov has?

            “and wheeling in those narcissistic types like Krudd , Shorten and Swan.”

            OMG talk about blind; it could be claimed that the entire gov suffers from that personality trait!

      • Hernando Dobski

        Aussies will vote for the party that keeps house prices high. We need Chinese buyers to keep buying our real estate, so China-friendly Labor will win.

  2. For me this and mass migration restarting will be the issue which decides who goes last on the ballot paper. Being in a different liberal electorate is going to be exciting! I’m genuinely curious to see if the animal justice party fields a candidate here though I have my doubts (haha they were the best of a poor choice of minor parties and independents in my old location).

    • Andrew2MEMBER

      The AJP are advocates for a stable population, entirely consistent with their concern for non-human inhabitants and the environment of Australia. The Greens could learn a lot from them.

      • Are they? The AJP have a funny way of showing it. In 2017 the Victorian Planning Minister said the State Government was “unambiguously in favour of population growth.” And that Govt is pushing on with the enviornmentally damaging Big Build program.
        Yet in the Victorian Upper House, the Animal Justice MP votes with the State Labor Govt 99 out of 100 times. Funny way of showing they are in favour of stable population. When they vote with the population growth loving State Labor Government on just about everything. Might as well be Labor

  3. kierans777MEMBER

    The Coalition talks tough, but they are good magicians. They know the power of distraction. When they’ve got Gladys Liu in the ranks and Michael Sukkar’s taking money from Haha Liu they’re compromised.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      yep and this “Mr Joyce urged Liberal and Nationals MPs to unite behind the mission of making Australia “as strong as possible as quickly as possible” when it could not rely on the US to guarantee regional security.”

      sounds like it could lead to the old populate or perish BS

    • Well, yes, theoretically. Morrison’s deliberately careless and cruel COVID cabaret ought to count against him. But the reality is that Labor is terrified to say boo. Not to mention hopelessly compromised by Morrison’s fake “national cabinet”.

      Which takes us back to China, Mass Migration, and Net Zero. Where Albanese and Chalmers are completely United Nations line and nothing for Australians. The MB label of “Traitors” is factually accurate and well deserved.

      • I think Morrison made the right decision in going for AZ as it could be made here, we did not have it running rampant then & the northern hemisphere needed vaccines due to their outbreaks & they held all the production capabilities, so likely they may have stopped exports completely, it was certainly considered. So I don’t hold LNP responsible (despite possible insider trading etc). Who could have known AZ would turn out the way it did back then?

    • Mike Herman TroutMEMBER

      Hmmm. So Israel has vaccinated 80% of adult population and the delta variant on the rise…. me thinks not good….

      • Maybe, though I think only about 60% are fully vaccinated and nearly 3/4 of infected are children, at least hospitalisations and severe cases/deaths should remain very low.

  4. SoMPLSBoyMEMBER

    ““Our liberties and freedoms that we took as a birthright and never really thought about, in the future might be challenged like they never have before.”

    In 1942/43, the Japanese conducted more than 100 air raids on a pretty defenseless Australia. Darwin was hit very hard.
    In Melbourne, the newspaper headlines read “Darwin Bombed’ and were read with great interest by the men on the trains as they headed to the tracks to enjoy a day of betting and racing.

  5. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    Interesting to see Labor become a non-viable political party federally. I wonder if Australia will become one of these “one party” democracies like Singapore, where the apparatus of democracy exists, but the same party is always in power. Given Labor’s absolute melt-down, my guess is this is what will happen.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand the LNP. But in the concentration-camp-runnin’, tech-sector-destroyin’ stakes, Labor are no different. At least the LNP have made it clear they will resist playing ball with the CCP, who long term are a real threat to Australian sovereignty.

  6. We are a sad and sorry State, oh for a Chifley to rise to the occassion. We expect the LNP leaders to be money grabbing dodo’s, the nation needs an ALP leader of stature presently. The party apparatus denies us the opportunity.

  7. Barnaby is kinda right about our situation, though for me I think Xi has a grand plan to control central Asia, Indo Pacific & Africa, mainly to ensure commodities firstly then influence. The CCP see everyone as enemies or uncivilised dogs to control. It’s no coincidence that the CCP is building deep water ports at choke points in horn of Africa, Sri Lanka, and also plans for one on Africa’s west coast, PNG or Indonesia’s south coast, Cambodia & a pacific island, all supposedly commercial ventures that just happen to be in locations that would be critical militaily if you wanted to control flow of commodities to China or even block goods flowing to the rest of the world from Asia when the rest of the world doesn’t kowtow, like the tariffs on Aussie goods but on a grand scale once CCP confident in it’s military strength. Blocking their own goods + Korea, Japanese, Thai & maybe Indian could work if suddenly applied as the rest of the world would have no choice given global supply chains. There would be no coming back from this squirrel grip, any country who tries to build their own alternative supply would be blocked. Sounds crazy only if you are not CCP top brass

  8. Duke_WellingtonMEMBER

    Wasnt it the “rape election” not so long ago here?
    My my, how we are all lead by the nose by the media here.
    From an unloseable election lost, to “these guys are rapists and will not win the next election”, to ……. reality.

    The real issues were there all along, welcome to the spectacle MB. At some point contributers and commentors alike will actualy be honest with themselves and realise that what Australians want is very different from what our media pretends to understand we want.

  9. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Who are the 46% who believe a great deal that Straya would do the right thing? 46%! Even the 46% who said somewhat need a talking to.

  10. ” Although surveys suggest a greater sympathy for China in WA than other states, ……”
    Which is why local politics is different to the rest of the country. The huge economic footprint of iron ore in WA means there’s more at stake. Some businesses in WA have not found it easy to find new customers (Fisheries, wineries etc) and so there are real fears about what might happen if mining gets targeted. If we are going to last the distance in this fight, this is why we need to be honest about some of the difficulties many will experience as they will need help. China will make big inroads in reducing its dependence on us and of course Labor in WA will want to spin the story that it’s the LNP that destroyed the industry. Politics as usual. It is in no way indicative of Labor selling out to China at a national level.

    ”Sadly for the Australian Labor Party, it has missed an epochal turning and thus invited the Morrison Government to run a China election. Throughout the above violent swing in public sentiment, Labor has defended China, pushed back policy efforts to fight it, blamed Australia for deteriorating relations, allowed its phalanx of China-embedded greybeards to set the public agenda and tried to rally business against the Government.
    It continues”…..

    Your proof relates to WA politics. Waiting to see convincing evidence that federal Labor has sold out David. Clipped statements from past party members are not evidence of anything other than a lobbyist/editorial doing what they do. You have criticised some of the stupid remarks about China made by LNP members yourself so why does an opposition doing this constitute treason? Isn’t this what is meant to happen in a democracy? Anyway, waiting with interest for this evidence as the last I checked federal Labor was supporting any government legislation in this space https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/fresh-foreign-influence-bills-to-get-labor-approval-20201110-p56d3z