Former “stooge of China” gives nod to Darwin Port seizure

Australia’s number one patriot, the former trade minister that negotiated the China FTA and the leasing of Darwin Port to Chinese interests before going to work for the new owner shortly afterwards, has declared it’s fine to seize it back:

  • Landbridge says if it happens then it’ll spike sovereign risk. For all not investors not just Chinese.
  • Peter Dutton says circumstances were different in 2015.
  • Andrew Robb says said “Canberra had every right to reassess the port lease in light of changing strategic circumstances. “Australia-China political relations had “turned to custard” and business ties could follow. In some cases the tone hasn’t taken account of the sensitivities on the Chinese side,” said Robb. “There are certain things that have been thousands of years in the making with regard to China, such as saving face.”

Meh. Nobody in the emerging liberal trading bloc is going to be upset by it. They’ll copy it if anything. Just as they have many other of Australia’s pushbacks against China.

And if other investors aren’t operating in the spirit of liberalism then why let them have it?

Nor has anything changed since 2016 when Robb described Australia as a “Chinese safe haven” and careened from being trade minister into the Landbridge sinecure, which is why we attacked the transaction at the time. By 2017, even the Coalition was condemning Robb as he became the apostate of Canberra:

Senator Brandis said Mr Robb, who quickly took up a job with the Chinese owner of the Port of Darwin, Landbridge, after finishing up as trade minister, would be ­required to register under the transparency scheme.

Mr Robb fired back, saying the defence establishment was ­attempting to paint him “as a stooge of China”.

“I’ve got my own side seeking to trash my reputation in order to launch an initiative on a security matter,” he told The Australian.

“I’m being used and abused. I feel I deserve a bit more consideration, a phone call, a question to find out what the facts are.”

We all knew the facts then. Four years on, Mr Robb has finally caught on.

Seize the port.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. Ronin8317MEMBER

    The issue will be the amount of compensation. Short of declaring war on China, I don’t see how it can get past the Australian Constitution. Force them to divest it to another party is a much better idea.

    • I understand LBH have investment commitments in the contract that are un fulfilled.

    • I don’t see how it can get past the Australian Constitution

      I can see a hundred ways.
      Raise port taxes. A 10% PST would be a good start.
      Lower speed limits on roads and water near the port.
      Introduce a 3×3 style port levy.
      Rezone the port land.
      Increase safety inspections on the port facilities.
      Arrest port employees for stalking Bruz.
      Declare the port a COVID19 hotspot. Insist on 6m aquatic distancing measures.
      Cancel the ports twitter feed.
      Charge the port bosses with being racialist.
      Discover a rare threatened fish near the port.
      Employ Paul Keating as a special port economic adviser and implement all his proposals.

      • TailorTrashMEMBER

        Now you are thinking like the Chinese

        ….and of course deny that you are doing any of the above

        • Government over the last decades have screwed the ordinary Aussie worker by implementing thousands of pages of rules and things such as I mentioned above.
          Over these decades the constitution has been as useless as tits on a bull, when it comes to protecting rights and living standards.
          Therefore I do not understand how the constitution could in any way block our super powerful, super big, and out of control government from reversing an idiotic scheme involving Andrew Robb and Chinese.

          • Ailart SuaMEMBER

            “Over these decades the constitution has been as useless as tits on a bull”

            We should be talking more about the Constitution and electoral system. The root causes of continual deterioration in living standards for the 99%. We focus too much on symptoms.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        Well said, Claw. There would be a zillion legal and underhand methods to accomplish this. Give China a dose of their own medicine.

  2. The Chineses are loosing so much $$$ on this port, they will be probably happy to give it back with a sweet tdeal ( they will make noise to get as much cash as possible).Honestly I much prefer Chinese to be the ones who waste few hundred millions on this than the tax payer

    • ashentegraMEMBER

      Care to elaborate on why it is a loss maker, or is this assertion just another talking point?

      Also, if China is so preoccupied with loss of face, we have an obligation to take them down a peg.

      Andrew Robb’s post-political career shows just how poorly he is regarded by his peers. Not a directorship of a major miner or big 4 bank, a mere consultancy with Landbridge.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        These political sell outs and traitors should all have their overly generous life time pensions seized.

        • C'est de la folieMEMBER

          Completely agree. Indeed i think that……..

          All members of parliament and the public service who are entitled to public funded pension or superannuation entitlements should have access to those entitlements restricted or reduced to the extent reflecting any further remuneration made available to them in their post politics or public service careers, stemming from information and personal contacts acquired while acting in a public capacity.

          I would even go further and suggest their pensions should be reduced where children, spouses or significant others gain such employment or remuneration.

          Something like the above is under consideration by the salt of the earth members of the party formerly known as Bullshit Australia.

          Anyone looking to become a member of the party – Australia’s fastest growing political movement – should whizz an email (to join our slack group conspiring to overthrow the dictatorship of dullards we have) to [email protected]

          • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

            One of our most Southerly possessions and thus the coldest.
            I like your thinking.

      • He was a Director or Consultant with Moelis for a while as well as a thank you for changing the Significant Investor Visa laws to suit Moelis’ business model.

  3. My gut says seizing it now is an unnecessary punch in the wound of a sensitive entity. Doesn’t seem sensible to me at this point, as things are bad enough. Better to keep taking their money, and let things take a more natural course, methinks…

      • Agree, unless something has changed, it was all OK’d at the timeso what’s changed now. Though I strongly suspect it was all about getting a base in the region to monitor military activity in the future using their maritime militia, which is why they are now looking at PNG/Indonesia port since they realised we are off the leash.

        If it’s due to their tariffs etc on our products then why aren’t we slapping tarriffs on a heap of their stuff like MG, GWM motors, Hisense etc as their whole economic model is based on mercantilism by suppressing Chinese workers share of GDP & low currency.

        If it’s purely political then no need unless we go all in on other areas like energy etc

  4. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Why does one get the feeling that when the idiot Robb took up his ‘job’ at Landbridge those nice Chinamans patted him on the head, gave him an office out of the way of everyone and told him to read a magazine to pass the time? I’d even go as far as to say they would point and laugh when he couldn’t get the coffee machine to work. Betcha they called him Homer. To his face.

    That’ll be why he’s turned. Getting treated like the proverbial useful idiot can do that if you’re smart enough to understand. Dunno, maybe someone had to explain it to him.

  5. The notion that “losing face” is a unique custom in any particular country is preposterous. All cultures have “face”, it is an integral aspect of social and power dynamics. It is human nature. Has Scomo “lost face” on plenty of occasions over the last few years? You bet!

    “Face” shouldn’t drive these types of decisions. You make the decision, then figure out how to execute the decision with the minimal loss of face to all parties.

    • UpperWestsideMEMBER

      Gral, you have to know already that some cultures have a very strong sense of ‘face’.
      Australia is not one of those countries ( you can call you boss a dick-head and probably still keep your job 99% of the time). ‘Face can cause people to make irrational non-economic decisions. Understanding ( and using) these deep seated cultural buttons is what the best of PsyOps is designed to do and its what a good politician is meant to do. Sadly standing up like a drunk belligerent calling out the biggest guy in town usually gets you smacked.

      US Airforce PyOps motto ‘Never Seen, Always Heard’

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      There’s quite a lot of research into high-context cultures and low context cultures. If you do business in multiple cultures it pays to understand.

      China, Japan, Vietnam and upper-class Britain are all high context cultures. Responses are measured against who is in the Room, and how senior they are. Often what is said is coded, so as not to offend people of higher social status.

      Low context cultures, Israel, Germany and (formerly) Australia, favour the content of the response over seniority or social standing of the responder.

      The US seems to be somewhere in the middle.

      It’s very easy to completely fk a deal in Asia or the Middle East by communicating as a ‘low context’ Australian. That is, not paying the required attention and deference in the right way. While it’s also very easy to get offended when communicating with much lower context Israelis and no-nonsense Germans.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        In my uninformed opinion, saving face seems superficial and generally an undesirable cultural trait, certainly if taken to extremes.

        ‘Respectful’ is telling truth in a sensitive manner (desirable for a harmonious society). ‘Saving face’ is lying or covering up the truth in some form of mockery of reality.

      • After the crime lets all agree on the story and who takes the blame. That is saving face. Saving face means you are fake.

  6. UpperWestsideMEMBER

    Not a fan of seizing anything, once Govt starts down that road they don’t know where to stop.

    We should quietly whisper that the Aussie govt will buy it back, and give the holder an acceptable return on cash. That solves the issue without loss of face and both can sell it as a win.
    And to those young hot bloods, who’s jism has no outlet so its drowning their brain, don’t tug the tiger by the tail , just don’t!

    • Yup – this has absolutely ZERO to do with Chinese ownership per se, and is 100% being driven by the US Military interests in Darwin wanting the Chinese out of the area.

      Anyone who thinks this website has Australia’s interests at stake is delusional – its 100% a US mouth piece doing untold damage to Australia.

      • Fishing72MEMBER

        “Anyone who thinks this website has Australia’s interests at stake is delusional – its 100% a US mouth piece doing untold damage to Australia“

        I get the feeling that when you say “Australia” you’re referring to the partially accomplished attempt at the creation of a Southern Canton vassal state and not the nation in which 25 million Aussies reside.

        Can you even imagine what the geopolitical map of the Indian Pacific would look like if the US wasn’t around to counter the ambitions of the CCP?

      • The FNG.MEMBER

        When does the “untold damage” arrive?
        I’m actually really looking forward to that part. Considering Australia is just a moronic property bubble held up by a population ponzi all to serve boomers, I’m going to LMAO!!!

  7. Seizure should not end the matter. The lies run deep. FIRB lobbied Defence for their objection at the time but did not get a hearing, FIRB pointy-heads were also conveniently pseudo-capitalist puritans.with ministerial nods and winks.

    FIRB rules have since changed (https://hallandwilcox.com.au/thinking/firb-rule-changes-relating-to-acquisition-of-critical-state-owned-assets/) but this is rubbish.

    FIRB 2015 -16 Annual report – “The FIRB Secretariat also engaged with potential bidders for the Port of Darwin, including Landbridge. However, at the time the Port of Darwin was privatised, the successful bidder who was a privately owned Chinese investor did not require foreign investment approval because of an exemption under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 for interests acquired directly from an Australian government by foreign private investors.”.

    Yet, same page in that report: “The FIRB Secretariat engaged with the NSW Government and potential bidders to ensure that national interest considerations were addressed in the 99 year leases of TransGrid and Ausgrid, both critical infrastructure assets for NSW and the National Electricity Market. It also pro-actively engaged with key stakeholders involved with the privatisations of the Port of Darwin and the Port of Melbourne as well as the possible forthcoming privatisations of Fremantle Port and Utah Point.”

    Where is the national interest consideration for Darwin?

    And there is so much wrong in even the unredacted passages in this https://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/Docs/Disclosures/107_2021_Document.pdf

    Federal ICAC please.

  8. darkasthunder

    the port is a distraction. There is a long list of vital energy and water infrastructure we happily sold off that should be bought back first.

      • Understand what is means to own land in Australia.

        A citizen or company “owns” land and can do whatever they want with it?

        They actually own land in the same way I own a car and can drive it anywhere I like.

        You actually possess a license from government for exclusive partial use of the item in ways determined by govt, and regularly changed by govt to suit govt.

        Farmers own land, but govt tells them they cannot grow drugs on it, and must chop-out all weeds (defined by govt) and cannot light a fire on it during summer, and cannot dam water without permission, and cannot build two houses on it, and cannot let 20 people live in tents on it, etc, etc, etc

        Property ownership is a license from the govt.

  9. How can traitors such as Robb be allowed to continue to profit from their treachery? What sort of message does it send to other fellow-travellers?

  10. Andrew Robb showing the chinese that an Australian patriot will only ever LEASE his loyalty as well. See? He didn’t “sell-out”, he just “leased” his opinion for a few years.

    The chinese money stops and Robb changes his tune!!! Very well played sir, very well played. I am sure Reusa would concur.

    • Charles MartinMEMBER

      lol, poor Andrew Robb is the victim here, those sneaky Chinese blokes lied to him and waved cash in front of his face.
      He can’t be held responsible for his actions.

  11. Hey Andrew Robb et al. Even a four -year-old understands how to issue an apology.

    https://mumbrella.com.au/yes-it-is-too-late-now-to-say-sorry-521629

    “I teach my four-year-old that a true apology:

    -Is timely (be quick to say sorry when you have done the wrong thing)
    -Says what you are sorry for
    -Acknowledges how your actions have impacted the other person(s)
    -Takes responsibility and ownership for what you have done and, if relevant, offer some sort of restitution (such as replacing what was broken)

    And businesses and public figures would do well to learn this too, and balance it with consideration of legal implications. However, this balance needs to include being human, decent, and caring for customers/constituents.”

  12. haroldusMEMBER

    Anybody knows how customs works in these ports? How do we know wha’t coming in in the containers?

  13. Yet another in the long conga line of ex pollies trying to rewrite history. Shaft the plebs and make hay while in office, then crow about your achievements and wholesome intentions when out.

    Get fkd.