Labor has an untold number of greybeards embedded like ticks in the collapsing structure of Australia/China economic relations. It also has a corporate memory that worships Gough Whitlam and his early embrace of a liberalising China. These two sentinels seem to blind Labor to the abyssal-sized paradigm shift that has opened before Australia’s feet on China. Today, Albo steps straight off it and into political oblivion:
- Albo will today argue to the Minerals Council that Morrison Government attitudes towards China are politically motivated.
- Albo will argue that recent warmongering over Taiwan is for the Government’s own ends.
- “Scott Morrison has no long-term strategy to deal with a changing China that is pressing its interests more assertively, while finding areas of potential co-operation, including on trade, that are in both our countries’ interests,” he will say. “Mr Morrison is making the grave error of prioritising his domestic political interests over Australia’s national interests.”
Sigh. You could kidnap Albo, lock him unconscious inside The Lodge, and he’d find a way to break out, butcher himself in the media and get sacked.
There is zero political gain in this for Labor. It’s worse than that. It is a vast negative for Labor as an alternative government.
There are two points to make. The first is political.
There is no doubt that Albo is right. Morrison warmongering is mostly directed locally. But that’s really beside the point. What matters is that it will work. It is working.
Right now, like it or not, Australians hate China (perhaps it’s the CCP, who knows). They cannot wait to get as far away from it as humanly possible. I mean, mother of god, read the polling, Albo:
This sentiment is justified. China and the CCP has gone from friendly trade partner to bullying arsehole in five short years, inflicting:
- A once per century pandemic upon Australians, with zero accountability.
- A sorry tale of corruption upon our woeful politicians, especially Labor.
- Abuse and insult upon Australians at every step as they defended their democracy.
- Unilateral and illegal trade sanctions at every turn.
I could go on but that’s the nub of it. Australians have been killed, punched, kicked, spat on and rorted by the CCP, which is the government of China.
The second point is that despite Morrison warmongering for political purposes, he is closer to the truth of the emerging strategic circumstances than is Albo’s whinging. There is a structural break in the Australia/China relationship.
Last week, the US declared the “era of Chinese engagement over”. It is over for Australia as well. What is ahead is the liberal versus illiberal blocs of a new cold war. Delicate parlour discussion about kowtowing, points of connection and trade are the totems of a lost world.
Most pointedly for Albo, they do not constitute a “plan” either. Kowtowing won’t work. Only selling the democracy will, as China’s 14 complaints made clear. Is Albo suggesting that we do so?
Neither of Australia’s political parties has a “plan” for China but at least Morrison gaffe’s are pushing us further away, which Australians love and it is in the national interest in a crude sort of way.
For the purposes of politics, it boils down to this: what kind of idiot defends an evil foreign power’s full-frontal assault upon Australia’s way of life over the basic reassertion of it?