Penny Wong is an extraordinary national security risk

Labor and its foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, are on the hustings today celebrating a century of the Chinese Communist Party:

As much of the world’s attention is consumed by the implications of Xi Jinping’s more assertive China, there is a valuable lesson offered by an anniversary we commemorate this month.

…Whitlam held that it defied reason to ignore the political leaders of a quarter of the world’s population.

There will always be differences to manage in our leading Asian relationships, requiring calm, confident and consistent engagement.

He had begun a decisive shift in Australia’s world view, putting our region at the centre, alongside the multilateralism championed a generation earlier by Doc Evatt.

…FitzGerald recalls Whitlam did not approach “China in isolation but as part of a broad foreign policy idea, that Australia needed a relationship with Asia based on acceptance of it as our enduring international neighbourhood”.

…Many countries are seeking a demonstration from Beijing that nearly half a century after international recognition at the UN, it wants to be seen as a responsible international power.

But, ultimately, we should heed Allan Gyngell’s reminder that in all Whitlam’s “thinking about foreign policy he emphasised the need to face up to the realities of the world”.

It’s about honest assessments of our interests, and bold pursuit of them. It’s about facing the reality that while much of our history is in Europe, our home and our future are in the Indo-Pacific.

And it’s about recognising – as one of Whitlam’s successors, Paul Keating, said – that we need to find our security in Asia, not from Asia.

OK, so let’s be honest about these realities:

  • No other Asian nation is as open to cross-border people-to-people exchanges as Australia’s is. This applies to universities, businesses, society and governments.
  • This brings to bear unique pressures on the political economy which we have seen repeatedly in the past six years. Corruption and bribery, campus bullying, technological warfare, parliamentary influence, trade coercion, you name it.
  • Therefore, we need to be uniquely vigilant in protecting the integrity of our institutions.
  • Australia’s ethnic Chinese diaspora must especially be protected from bullying for the same reasons.
  • This is the only concrete pushback against China that Australia has undertaken. To protect itself. Various Morrison foot-in-mouth moments are just colour. Yet, in return, the CCP has bashed, insulted and spat on Australia. The reason? It’s plan to corrupt and own our unique openness has been thwarted.
  • Australian relations with ASEAN are fine – see RCEP – and are flourishing with Japan and India.
  • As China bullies other Asian nations, they will turn to Australia and the liberal bloc for support and a China hedge.

In the face of these realities, stale platitudes like “find our security in Asia, not from Asia” are so generic and tired that they are useless. “Asia” is not “Asia” and it never was. It is a spectacularly diverse group of cultures and liberal democracies that struggles constantly against a tendency towards corruption and autocracy.

Now it is under intense assault from a historical and autocratic enemy in China.

As a doctrine. “Asian engagement” is completely useless in this environment. Indeed, it is worse, both inwardly self-hating and outwardly arrogant. We long ago engaged Asia. It changed us with enriched culture. We changed it with enhanced freedom. It was never smooth and not always friendly but impacted both for the better.

But not everywhere. In China, things were hopeful for a while but then it went the other way into tyranny. Now, we need to protect what we have become from what it has become.

The greatest service we can render ourselves and Asian peoples in this goal is to be a beacon of liberalism against China within the emerging liberal bloc. This directly engages every person in Asia, including all Chinese peoples, while repudiating the CCP.

This does not mean fighting wars with anyone that disagrees. That’s the falsehood delivered by Labor’s ludicrously reductive binary of “security in, not from Asia”.

We can and should engage anyone that wishes to live under the basic human rights of freedom and prosperity. This includes the vast majority of humans that live in Asia.

We can and should disengage from anyone seeking to do harm to that vision in our own backyard, such as the CCP’s attempts to buy or militarise Pacific states and apply its totalitarian 14 conditions here.

This is entirely achievable without putting a gun to anybody’s head elsewhere.

This is the ultimate form of pragmatism. To protect the system that has delivered us the highest living standards on Planet Earth and about as close to human utopia we are ever going to get.

Penny Wong’s and Australian Labor’s thinking on foreign affairs is paralysed by self-referentiality, trapped in race politics and obsolete beyond belief.

It is an extraordinary national security risk.

Houses and Holes
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Comments

    • Hernando Dobski

      Yep, Gladys Liu MP for Box Hill, is a known member of the CCP.
      She’s in the government, controls their majority and is a way higher risk than silly Wong.

      • Nah, she is a nothing, an informer at most. Wong on the other hand called everyone a racist when we introduced foreign buying laws, specifically, calling their relaxation for Chinese buyers! Go back on her speeches regarding toning down criticism on China, two systems, mutual respect, etc. She always leads with some picadillo criticism, as if it gets her some sort of credibility – then asks for relaxation in a critical area. Its classic double speak.

        Its all in the public domain – if you take her special treatment and encouragement for Chinese buyers (to the exclusion of other nationalities), in particular for rural farmland for SOE’s (transfer pricing would mean zero gain for us); and her call to respect China’s internal mores and actions internationally, and her continual calls for closer and mutual cooperation, then it becomes entirely something else. She is a genuine nationalist provocateur (but not for our team!). Actively white-anting and shaping half the national discourse.

        • kierans777MEMBER

          Liu holds the Libs majority which is why #scottydoesnothing has done nothing against the Useful Idiot for Chisholm. Or her neighbour that shady Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar who took donations from Haha Liu.

          There’s no accountability in the Liberals.

          • I betcha he has done a lot behind the scenes, she is just a number in the House… as opposed to our alternate foreign minister, Wong! I think you need a bit of perspective!!!

            This is way beyond politics.

  1. I noticed that article in the AFR yesterday…saw who wrote it…and didn’t even bother to read it! She has lost a lot of credibility.

  2. “…about as close to human utopia we are ever going to get”.

    I’ve had the same thought. For all the day-to-day BS, on balance it’s actually very good: the zenith of freedom, health, technology, social support and knowledge, generally accessible to all of us.

    It’s just a shame we can’t collectively springboard off this to even greater heights…at least it doesn’t feel like we will.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      They’re jamming the springs with PR seekers to keep the bounce down. Not much the everyday person can do with the lobbyists in charge of the gym.

  3. It’s fun to spar with LVO or DLS when we differ, but for me this one is on the money, well done, sir. Wong is clearly acting against the national interest and doing her little bit to keep Labor fully unelectable.

    Did anyone notice the recent NPR item where the Chinese crippled the Montenegro economy with a Belt And Road highway that they couldn’t afford and didn’t need? This former British colony is not that much smarter really.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      Penny and co are happy in opposition, they can have a stress free career signalling their virtue by publishing articles and books

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      It was a very stupid idea to begin with . When Montenegro couldn’t get money from Europe for the stupid road, they went to the Chinese for the money instead. There is no downside for China : either they gets paid, or they gets to build a port there.

    • Yes, the accompanying picture of the bridge was typical Chinese style grand infrastructure, why build a small bridge and a road up a hill when you can spend far more on a monstrous bridge where you can paint a big flag!

  4. MathiasMEMBER

    Federal Labor… hmm yeah.

    There is something about Southerners, especially NSW which seems to be corrupting Australias Parliament. There is a culture of arrogance that I cant put my finger on… but it definitely doesnt seem to have Australias interests at heart.

    Its almost like those places have become so big and urbanised that they have disconnected from reality itself.

    I think migration plays a big part with this Corruption.

        • ++ from Brisbane you can sense a noticeable stench from down south. Developers have sh4t on the industry down there where the race to the bottom is sub terannian.

          Rules made to enforce base level don’t do something that may end in death cut corners rubbish. Dog eat Dog , for what purpose idk ? And they have this misplaced sense of superiority over qld. Its just a shame the Olympics will do to Brisbane a Sydney.

  5. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Someone should remind Penny Wong of what the CCP did in Malaya in the 60s, leading to anti-Chinese riots and formation of Singapore and Malaysia.

  6. With Labor unelectable, and the LNP totally corrupt and devoid of any policies, and with Climate catastrophe ramping up severely’
    voting Green at the next election is by far the best option.
    Yes , yes I hear the squacking and derision, but …
    It is not having Greens in power (could they be worse ?)
    It is the message that it sends to the duopoly , LIBLAB, that they will lose support unless they pull their fingers out and deliver what Australians want.
    Good government for the common good, coherent policies, anti corruption bodies with teeth, and meaningful action on Global heating.

    • The Greens are not exactly a beacon of moral rectitude. Lets face it, power corrupts and people who want power seem particularly vulnerable to corruption. Transparency and firm action on corruption seem more achievable that getting a party where members voluntarily act in the interests of Australians into power. .

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The Greens are not exactly a beacon of moral rectitude.

        It’s difficult to think of many scandals involving the Greens.

        From memory most of them don’t even own an investment property. Some are dirty renters !

        • As a percentage more of them didn’t know that they were disqualified from sitting in Parliament. Since they wield little direct power except as saboteurs they have had enough nanny and whale watching moments.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            As a percentage more of them didn’t know that they were disqualified from sitting in Parliament.

            LOL

            “As a percentage” (and as an absolute, for that matter) they also had the most who immediately did the right thing and resign.

      • Fishing72MEMBER

        Being a vociferous Greens voter in current times is a euphemistic way of announcing to the world that your favourite sexual position is the scissor..

    • kierans777MEMBER

      The Greens have a buried authoritarian streak. You’re OK in their book unless you’re a white heterosexual Christian male. Then you’re scum of the earth and need to be “reeducated”. It would make the CCP proud.

      The Greens will *never* grow past where they were at their height until they learn to tolerate people with well thought out, but mutually exclusive views. They need to court middle Australia, and Bandt is a self righteous snob.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The Greens have a buried authoritarian streak. You’re OK in their book unless you’re a white heterosexual Christian male. Then you’re scum of the earth and need to be “reeducated”. It would make the CCP proud.

        Cool story, bro.

        The Greens will *never* grow past where they were at their height until they learn to tolerate people with well thought out, but mutually exclusive views.

        For example ? Can you define what you mean by “tolerate” ?

        • kierans777MEMBER

          Tolerate. Not force everyone to believe as you do. Learn to accept a viewpoint that is mutually exclusive to yours, that has been well thought out and reasoned; but happens to be different from what you believe.

          (This applies to the ACL hard right types as well who would have everyone bow to their narrow minded ideology as well)

          • Extrapolating far beyond the data set leads to inaccurate and invalid projections, doubly so when correlations are weak. Ideology is the problem.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            Tolerate. Not force everyone to believe as you do. Learn to accept a viewpoint that is mutually exclusive to yours, that has been well thought out and reasoned; but happens to be different from what you believe.

            Accept ? You mean “agree with” ? Or you mean “allow to exist” ?

            Again, examples would be helpful here, rather than agitated handwaving. What “well though out and reasoned” viewpoints are you claiming the Greens would make illegal ?

  7. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “The greatest service we can render ourselves and Asian peoples in this goal is to be a beacon of liberalism against China within the emerging liberal bloc. This directly engages every person in Asia, including all Chinese peoples, while repudiating the CCP”

    Well said Dave. You have shown great courage in your reporting on this issue.

    What I find equally ominous, to Penny’s apologetic appeasement of autocracy, is the way our corporate media and local captains of industry also refrain from calling out the CCP.
    Organised money wields great political power within our fake democracy where controlling the narrative (propaganda) makes the use of truncheons mostly unnecessary.
    How has the CCP, a supposed communist organisation, managed to become so wealthy and able to mobilize so much money into our political system?
    Oh thats right!,…40 years of Western corporate plutocrats demanding access to exploited Chinese labour, lax environmental laws and their huge, potential, consumer market.
    Now all those dollars fleeced of Western consumers is coming home to buy out their democracies.
    The blame for all of this,…lays more at the feet of the “Free market” Right as it does with “the Left”.
    A massive fking own goal.

      • Wong says we are ignoring Indonesia on the same day it is announced Australia will be giving more than $100 million in Covid aid to Indonesia and, that we have stepped up our aid for 2022 to Indonesia from $225 million to $! billion. Australia has orders for 166 million doses of various Covid-19 vaccines:(i.e. 6.1 doses per Australian resident) made up of the following:
        Phizer – 40 million
        A-Z – 53.6 million
        Novavax – 51 million
        Moderna – 25 million
        Nearly 20 million doses from the Australian orders are destined for the Pacific Islands with some vaccines already being delivered to PNG,and Fiji.
        Australia will probably need 60 million doses and with 20 million destined for the Pacific Island nations that leaves many extras. Indonesia today asked Australia for the extra doses ordered by Australia.

        • “Wong says we are ignoring Indonesia on the same day it is announced Australia will be giving more than $100 million in Covid aid to Indonesia ..”
          Same day! Sounds like damage control pal. You know, the kind of thing people do when someone was right about them. Do you realise the Libs have taken over ten billion dollars out of foreign aid for the region in recent years?

  8. For a bit more balance on Penny Wong’s views on China – from today’s AFR in the article titled “’Government has let Indonesia relationship wither’: Wong”
    “and in a fresh swipe at Beijing, Senator Wong said many countries wanted evidence from China that it was a ‘responsible international partner.’”
    Feel free to read that yourself if you have a subscription. It provides a pretty accurate summary of what she said.

    Anyway, for those that don’t have a subscription, her opinion piece to the AFR today also noted that Whitlam was speaking about Japan and the Philippines at the time (not just China). They were/are important regional partners just as Indonesia is. Her piece then continued to say that there has been little attention paid by the government to Indonesia during the pandemic but there have been a number of visits to Jakarta from senior Beijing officials including the Foreign Minister. Coalition cuts to foreign aid in the region during this difficult time (COVID19, climate change impacts…) has also weakened our position in the region.

    She acknowledged in the article you are quoting from that the US alliance is our “central strategic relationship”. She then continued to acknowledge there will always be disagreement with Beijing on rules based trade, law of the sea, foreign interference, 5G etc. She also argued that Australia’s greatest value to the alliance with the US is in being a “partner of choice” for the region but, that mantle can’t be assumed when relationships with key neighbors are neglected the way the coalition has. So from my perspective it was fairly clear she was pointing out that vacuum of influence will simply be filled by Beijing. Given Indonesia effectively acts as a huge and populous geographic buffer, this is not a minor point.

    There’s some other details on the particulars of certain events and how opportunities were missed for engagement but, my reading of it was very different from David’s. I think Penny Wong will make a good Foreign minister and a worthy opponent to Beijing.

    • Yes, I think she’s pretty good on the issue, far far better than all those old grey beards who’s influence and history would be an issue for Australia if Labor ever came to power again.

    • Well spotted Alex !
      Wonder where MB gets all of what appears to be redacted stuff about China….? US embassy…?……ASIO..?…Epoch Times..?

    • This comment is awaiting moderation – God knows why:-

      Thanks AlexD. I don’t have a subscription but have a lot of respect for Wong. Her intellect and balanced assessment is usually excellent, so appreciate the summary and your opinion. She’s certainly head and shoulders intellectually over most in the ALP/LNP

    • codeazureMEMBER

      Agreed, the full article is quite different to the representation here. She is not saying at any point to bow down to China. Her strongest point is recognise the US alliance, work more with other countries like Indonesia. More than anything she’s saying we need to have strength in our independence.

      To be fair to her, she has had several articles in a similar vein for some time. Even prior to the election she was saying much the same.

      This doesn’t excuse other members of Labor for their grovelling. As a party, they haven’t worked it out yet, but I would not put Penny completely in that basket. She has her issues, but being a China apologist is not one of them.

      • ”More than anything she’s saying we need to have strength in our independence.”
        Absolutely agree. No sense seeing it as a binary China vs US. That’s counterproductive.

        ”To be fair to her, she has had several articles in a similar vein for some time. Even prior to the election she was saying much the same.
        This doesn’t excuse other members of Labor for their grovelling. As a party, they haven’t worked it out yet, but I would not put Penny completely in that basket.”

        Eating lunch so I will be quick – Penny Wong is the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister. That means she is the mouthpiece for the federal ALP on China (and all issues in that domain) and from where I’m sitting, she has a much better handle on how to deal with China than the current crop of LNP loons. I agree she has also come out with a number of such statements before so why is this not acknowledged by so many here until I point it out?

        Re the federal party as a whole, where’s the hard evidence? All I have seen here and elsewhere are clipped statements from some state ALP parliamentarians who have their local political reasons for doing this (and no jurisdiction so who bloody cares). That’s political theatre for you just like a lot of the bluster you hear from the LNP on China. Then I’ve seen a few statements by a few former members that are paid lobbyists now. The rest have been like this one which I would argue lack any semblance of objectivity.

        Japan has done more to help bolster international support for a push back against China than any one power. They pretty much wrote the playbook the US is using for China now but, do you see them screaming about it to the world? We need substance more than form on this issue.

        • In the middle of super powers, you pick one side or the other. Wongs argument is disingenuous on that front. She is effectively saying, ignore Chinese ongoing incursions over six neighbouring countries in the past year, we cannot be aligned too closely to the US – we have to be independent. Thats is complete BS – if we lost the US as an ally, we effectively become a vassal state under direct Chinese jurisdiction.

          What she really is saying, leave the US sphere – China is the future. In fact, that’s what Labour Party are effectively saying… this whole Whitlam mythology eulogising farsighted economic benefits is absolute rubbish, crass historical revisionism. If we hitch our wagon to China, Democracy becomes subjugated.

          The wilful ignorance displayed in the above comments is pure perfidious madness. Just think for a mere moment, what Wong is actually saying, just for a brief second!!! Recognise that Australia’s security can never be truly independent. Therefore, what is Wong actually implying? Whatever it is, its not that we should be independent…

          • Our alliance with the US does not require us to be passive and if we want our own interests to be upheld as much as possible then being a pro-active partner is where it is at. That’s the point being made here. If you’re going to strut the world stage like a wannabe tough guy to cultivate some votes at home while mismanaging relationships with neighbours, someone’s going to call you out. Being proactive in the manner PW has spelled out actually makes us more useful to the US and strengthens the alliance with the US. Goodness….

            Anyway, as far as a lot of the points you’re making, it’s pretty clear you have not read the article in question from Penny Wong. I’m not going to engage in a debate with you when you don’t even bother to provide any evidence for these contentions. She has not said any of those things but, I suspect there are many like yourself that don’t care.

          • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

            Yep, she’s Wong, and ya just nit picking like all apologists do. Anyway it’s all irrelevant, she’ll never be foreign minister while being soft on Chyna

          • “Yep, she’s Wong, “
            *rolls eyes

            “and ya just nit picking like all apologists do.”
            Apologising for what?

            “Anyway it’s all irrelevant, she’ll never be foreign minister while being soft on Chyna”
            Mate if you can’t see there is some wisdom in her thinking your vote is wasted. If you really see a threat from China then I’d say to you her ideas actually help garner support in the region for pushback. That then helps us open up the repertoire of options for how we push back and gives us greater influence with the US (as we are more useful). It’s all likely to help and it’s much smarter than what I am seeing from our current government.

  9. Yet the twittering types would love to install her as PM. why? Because she is a gay woman from a minority who speaks with pseudo intelligence in a measured way. You can be a monster, but if you bring these things to the table it’s all good and for that I’m fearful.

  10. Penny Wong is to be congratulated. At last the ALP may be getting back to the real world. Gough you are missed !

  11. Wonder whether Gladys Liu will get Liberal preselection for Box Hill next election.