Where’s Morrison’s post-China plan?

Last weekend, Paul Kelly revealed that Australia’s disordered PM, Scott Morrison, recently attended the G7 meeting for one purpose only (given Australia is not in the G7). Morrison presented to the world caucus of free nations the document that China delivered Australia at the height of its recent trade war. The 14 conditions to end democracy:

Interviewed by Inquirer, [Warwick] Smith said China “had kicked some own goals”, and he branded the 14 points released by China’s embassy as the conditions to repair relations as “stupid and nuts” – with Morrison tabling these points at the recent G7 meeting for the benefit of other leaders.

This raises a few questions about what the Morrison government is now up to.

If this document is so important (and it is, a kind of reverse Magna Carta) then why is it that Australians aren’t being given the same due consideration as the G7?

It’s fine to present the 14 conditions to end democracy to the G7 to rally support, but what is the Morrison government doing at home to bolster Australian institutions in preparation for this outright war for our souls?

Put another way, what is the plan for a post-China Australia? There isn’t one.

As a result, instead of robust debate about what that plan should be, we get the feeble-minded and carpet-bagging spivs of the old world order fantasising about the good ol’ days. Take the AFR editorial yesterday, which should also be marched the gallows forthwith:

It says something about the economic mutual self-interest of the two very different countries that Australia’s exports to China continue to climb.

Even while punishing Australia for supposed slights, Beijing still recognises that it is in China’s self-interest to keep buying from Australia goods and services it can’t readily purchase elsewhere.

This underscores the fundamental complementarity of the two economies, which is keeping Sino-Australia trade strong despite the political tensions between Beijing and Canberra. It gives hope of providing an economic foundation for repairing diplomatic ties.

…It is this enduring economic complementarity on which a constructive political relationship now needs to be rebuilt in the best interests of both nations.

No, it doesn’t. In fact, all that this article illustrates is precisely what is wrong with yesteryear’s engagement. Australia’s Chinese exports are dramatically narrowing. That a few skyrocketing prices have papered this over for a few months at the headline level does not change the truth that the trade relationship is breaking down in terms of volumes and breadth. The article is a lie, which is what was at the heart of the former Chinese relationship:

  • That China will liberalise.
  • That Australia will benefit.
  • Most importantly, that the former trade engagement does not utterly corrupt our political economy.

In short, the rupture with China is structural. Therefore, we need to start planning what comes after.

Sadly for the country, this comes with two problems. The first is that the Morrison government could not plan its way out of a wet paper bag. It is a politicised idiot of the highest order. Indeed, the China divorce has proceeded with such speed largely thanks to Morrison’s motormouth. A true stroke of luck for the Australian people.

Second, the Australian Labor Party is incapable of imagining a post-China Australia at all owing to some toxic combination of its culture, and the cash money that the CCP brings to its greybeards embedded in the architecture of the old world order.

This is not good enough from either party but especially the Government. It recognises the problem so what is it going to do about it? We should no longer be discussing which elite is going to carve off what slice of the Australian pie. We are talking about the existential threat of war and being wiped out by a tyrannical great power to our north. A few throwaway missiles beaten up into a story by Murdoch propaganda is not it:

The Morrison government has moved to accelerate the creation of a $1 billion domestic missile production enterprise, issuing a call for industry and academic partners.

The move suggests growing confidence that Australia can secure the agreement of the Biden administration to share US-owned missile technology to manufacture weapons outside the country.

We need a comprehensive plan for the economy:

  • a full audit of Australia’s trade vulnerabilities, both import and export, plus industrial policies to address each
  • trade diversification including productivity and a low currency
  • supportive monetary, fiscal and immigration policy
  • break China’s east coast gas cartel
  • rent-seekers bent to the national interest
  • innovation, competition, productivity and industrial revitalisation.

A comprehensive plan for politics:

  • get rid of Gladys Liu
  • get on with banning all Chinese agreements at the state level to establish new normatives
  • expand the foreign influence registers
  • ban all foreign donations
  • a new White Paper to shift ADF posture directly to China.

A comprehensive plan for society:

  • reduce or ban Chinese immigration
  • ban university engagements with China and Confuscious Institutes
  • ban Chinese-controlled media
  • ban all United Front operations that seek to coerce the Chinese diaspora.

Some of this is underway. The blueprint formulated under Malcolm Turnbull by John Garnaut is being deployed. But we need much, much more.

In the end, this comes down to two very basic points for the Morrison government:

  • the CCP is the contemporary version of the Nazi Party and the Australian national interest demands as swift as possible disengagement from it to slow it down and bulwark ourselves against it, and
  • Labor is staggeringly vulnerable on China and Morrison is mad if he does drive the wedge as deep as is humanly possible.

In short, Morrison’s choice is simple: march Labor to the gallows by launching an all-of-government post-China plan, or stick his head in the noose himself.

Houses and Holes
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  1. C'est de la folieMEMBER

    Thank you for raising the issue………

    Australia’s politicians and policymakers don’t raise the long term economic narrative any more
    Australia’s media and public services doesn’t raise the long term economic narrative any more
    Australians arent encouraged to think about the national long term economic narrative any more

    In and around MacroBusiness is about the only place in Australia’s social discourse world, where there is any form of ongoing discussion about Australia’s long term economic narrative.  And the dynamics and questions about that long term economic narrative havent changed all that much in the last decade since Macrobusiness started posing them.

    The policymakers, politicians, public servants and media all tend to focus on the here and now.  But since the days of Keating we have, as a nation, simply switched off discussion of the long term economic narrative – where ‘now’ actually is when plotted on a chart in relation to some point in the past, and where that positions us as an economic entity in relation to the future, and, from there, what that past present and future enables us to access (or enabled us to access in the past, or will enable us to access in the future) to divide up amongst ourselves in the form of ‘investing’ in our society and its future economic capability, paying off what economic dues we have chalked up in the past, and the best alllocation of the proceeds of whatever it is we do now to reward, support or enable the society we currently have.

    We don’t go there any more.  Like them or lump them Keating and Hawke did at least raise and encourage the wider community to discuss the issues – an American academic of my acquaintance once described how refreshing it was to be in Australia in the late 80s when Microeconomic reform, Australia’s ‘place’ in the world as an economic entity, competitiveness and how we measured that, the need for us to invest in that future and how that future we were working towards would enable us to look after those doing the working towards that future with superannuation, as well as the people of that future, was a real golden age of economic narrative.

    What we seem to have replaced that golden age of usually data backed discussion about the econoomic narrative with is ‘fear’ and a mindset of winners and losers.  That fear is behind the reticence to overtly state what Australian immigration is actually for (what benefits it brings to Australians, both now and into the future), or the taxation system (what is it designed to encourage as an economic behaviour – which currently appears to be real estate speculation and tax avoidance – or what is the meaning, in a long term economic narrative sense, of the ‘investment’ we offer taxation concessions for?), and numerous other socio economic policy questions .  The fear usually stems from a relationship to the here and now of any ‘change’ proposed or discussed – and that fear is usually magnified by a load of specious half truths, some glib assertions, and often outright lies by those who know better, but who don’t want to discuss or encourage discussion of, the long term economic narrative of Australia

    This is often because this discussion logically leads to the worlds most heavily indebted people, who happen to be right up there with the worlds best paid in relaton to what they currently do (though there are exceptions – particularly in offshore software/programming/design type sectors) working mainly in a bubble, with the worlds most expensive real estate and most expensive energy, wondering about the bubble in which their activities currently take place.  Consideration of that bubble and it’s likely durability is, of course, a determinant of the spending patterns of families (affecting corporate profits) and is increasingly a casue for electoral discontent (unsettling our politicians).     

    In that economic narrative absence we get all sorts of weird furphies.  We need migrants to pay the pensions of the future.  If we don’t run immigration full bore our GDP is less than it would otherwise be .  Real estate speculation is ‘investment’.   Australia’s profoundly inward facing corporate sector is somehow ‘entitled’ to a corporate tax cut because other nations have lower corporate tax rates.  Australian Universities selling citizenship as an add on to the world’s most expensive university courses are ‘exports’, the public sector is by definition ‘inefficient’ and the private sector is by definition ‘efficient’ so we should outsource public service to the private sector – no questions asked.

    Beyond that we get all sorts of vague and fuzzy assertions about what is ‘good’ for us as a nation.  We don’t do cost benefit analyses of public infrastructure because we just assume we will keep filling up with people until any ‘investment’ makes sense.  We keep signing up for ‘free trade’ because free trade is by definition good (for all) and we don’t need to ask questions about our place in that freer trade.  All debt and all employment is by definition ‘good’ meaning that if two people are both working short term contract jobs to sustain one of the worlds biggest mortgages to keep a roof over their head, then that’s their choice and all is good.

    • Strange EconomicsMEMBER

      Whats that working Aussies?. Sorry us Pollies didn’t listen, as too busy checking out our multiple property “investments” to answer electors concerns. Why don’t workers just buy a tax deductible property, got one ready to see?.

      Its All good, didnt you see the property prices up up up 10%, FOMO taking off, and though overseas buyers are down , but still a big 7 %.

    • turvilleMEMBER

      Just one immediate question for you and that is – “What is your definition of long term economic narrative”. I think making comparisons with the Hawke/Keating era is flawed and mainly because domestic and international matters were plodding along at a much slower place than today. Forecasting is a mugs game since there is so much outside of one’s control.

      • C'est de la folieMEMBER

        I completely disagree with you there.

        The point i am making is that Hawke Keating (and sure i get they had downsides) overtly encouraged longer term economic thinking.

        Right from the ‘worlds biggest industrial museum’ and the ‘budget black hole’ they inherited through the superannuation (to pay for the retirements of tomorrow) and industry consolidation/scaling they sought to bring about and the ‘banana republic’ Keating warned us about.

        • I struggle with Keating (cause or cure ?) frankly IDK
          What I do know is that Education Policy does more to shape Industrial Policy than can possibly happen through Industrial Policy alone.
          On this point Keating was a disaster because he oversaw a shift in Tertiary educations budgets which rewarded the “social sciences” and in so doing punished the hard sciences and completely decimated our Engineering education system especially at the practical Tech college Industrial skills level.
          But to be fair when most Aussie parents (of the time) dreamt of a better future for their kids, that future vision had lots of office / health care workers and very few blue collar manufacturing jobs.
          I guess their dream came true!

  2. You’re not helping your cause by comparing the CCP with the Nazi party.
    Trust me on this issue, Usenet might be long dead but Godwin’s law still applies.
    As for planning for a Post China Australia ah yeah, it’s not really going to happen. Imports will simply adjust the country of origin label and exports will adjust the destination log but apart from that nothing can change until a significant portion of the worlds production relocates outside of China.
    The location where global production of any given widget happens is not something that Australia can influence in any significant manner. I can just imagine the laughter if some Aussie politician told Samsung where it had to manufacture phones/components if it wanted to supply the Australian market. You need to face the fact that our tiny 25M person market does nothing to shape global demand, and in no manner what-so-ever do we determine where production actually happens.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Godwin’s law is a prediction about long threads, not a value judgement. Godwin himself has stated that it’s meaningless when discussing actual fascism or genocide. The CCP is a racial supremacist genocidal dictatorship. Nazi comparisons are apt.

      • You might be correct but it doesn’t change the fact that these sorts of comparisons alienate the very people that you need on your side.
        There are plenty of moderate Chinese businessmen who secretly wish that the CCP would just STFU and let them get on with business. It is these guys that you need on your side if you want real change to happen within China, however they’re not about to engage in any discussion with anyone that equates the CCP with Nazi’s.
        Making Nazi comparisons is the football equivalent of scoring an “own goal”

      • China’s posture is defensive and in case you missed it the anglophone corporatists have painted themselves into this mess over the neoliberal period. BTW what term would you use to describe the death toll in the ME over some decades, health/psychiatric dramas for soldiers, trillions gone poof, and nothing to show for it in the end, et al – ???? – freedom and liberty for all – ????

        Oops forgot the death and morbidity count in the U.S. and U.K. and not over yet … decades in some cases.

        • China’s posture was once outwardly defensive but never internally, the CCP is still locked into a cold war ideology and they have always & still expect conflict with democracies. Claiming the SCS is not defensive it’s aggressive expansionism.

          You are spot on with the capitalists painting themselves into a corner & the disasters in the ME, though I’d disagree it was for nothing as it stopped most terrorism & prevented a strong base forming & a lso spreading to other countries significantly, though there certainly are cells in adjoining countries, north Africa etc that may now grow in influence. America was never going to stay forever, now it’s up to Afghans to sort out as Pakistan, China & Russia battle for influence, which could be interesting given their records oppressing Muslims.

          I do wonder if France pulling troops from north Africa is linked ie western powers pulling out will force China to take action to prevent their investments in Pakistan & Africa being compromised, in particular Simandou could become an flash point as Guinea is over 80% Muslim with unstable neighbors, which would be good for Aussie iron ore, but early days. If Simandou will allow China to become iron ore sufficient thanks in part to France securing the region, while China builds their great steel wall (of ships & tanks) to crush heads, maybe Fr a nce should abandon peace keeping.

        • ashentegraMEMBER

          American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led the US into war with the fascist Axis powers, wrote about fascism:

          The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.


          Fascism, like Communism, demands citizens subordinate themselves to the state.

          Meanwhile, China has performed a massive transfer of power and wealth from the state to private interests. Chinese politics has reversed and the economic consequences will be hard to undo.

          The Chinese people subordinate themselves to pirates.

          • American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led the US into war with the fascist Axis powers, wrote about fascism:

            The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

            Isn’t this hapening to us now ?
            Isnt this what Neo Liberalism has worked assiduously to achieve for 40 years ?
            There are more pirates than those of chinese origon
            Removing beams and scales from our eyes.

  3. Ronin8317MEMBER

    ScoMo never had a plan for anything, so don’t expect one from him any time soon.

    The reality is China have reverted back to being a kingdom with an absolute monarch, so they expect powerless countries like Australia to ‘kowtow’ if they want to trade with the ‘Middle Kingdom’. (Read up on Macartney Embassy, for those interested.). It’s hubris.

      • I’m hopeful his plummeting polling thanks to covid will force him to come up with a long term plan based on creating a balanced economy with multiple diverse sectors especially funding high tech projects. Well I live in hope! Whichever party does this or reverts immigration to long term average will get put ahead of the other major, after my 1st choice of minor party, when I next vote. Sad choice.

  4. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    Scotty probably doesn’t have a post China plan. He won’t be PM when it will matter, and he thinks the end times are coming soon anyway.

    When you believe God controls everything and rewards the virtuous, and the rapture is imminent, you don’t need serious long term plans.

  5. Jumping jack flash

    Most importantly, without the conduit of China how do we gain access to the trillions of US stimulus spent on Chinese manufactured goods to try and make up for the fact that our own stimulus effort was a bust?

    Things are looking a bit grim.

    Maybe if we were able to have another crack at some more stimulus in the name of the Delta variant, and do it properly? I’m sure if we used the words “Delta variant” in the justification for additional stimulus all the other countries wouldn’t punish us as much for doing it as they would otherwise. Perhaps in this hypothetical scenario Scomo could even outsource it all to one of his mates to distribute the free cash to everyone? Maybe his supposed mates the banks could do it? They seem to know a bit about money…

  6. Mic SmithMEMBER

    I agree the CCP is very similar to the Nazi party. Australia is in great peril, only a moron could fail to see it. Excellent article and needs to get wider publicity.

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