Saturday, 07 April 2012 00:00
- Below is an un-edited version of Michael Danby's letter to the editor, published 7 April 2012
5th of April 2012
GPO Box 4162
Sydney NSW 2001
Michael Sainsbury’ article “Chinese Burn at fumbles” (The Australian 5/4/2012) criticises the Gillard Government for what he sees is Australia’s ‘spiky relationship’ with China. He claims there was an apparent ‘fumble’ over Chinese company Huawei Technologies bidding on the NBN. There was no fumble. Mr Sainsbury knows the decision was made based on national secuirtuy advice from ASIO and the Defence Signals Directorate. This decision was supported by the Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan, by former Liberal Senate chief Nick Minchin, and ultimately by Opposition leader Abbott. Greg Sheridan argued that “The Gillard Government followed good advice on this matter.’ As Sheridan pointed out , “imagine the Liberal reaction if the shoe were on the other foot”. Sainsbury extols Opposition Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Julie Bishop and her praise by Mining Tycoon Andrew “Twiggy” Forest. Sainsbury also criticises the Australian Defence Forces 2009 White Paper’ naming of China as a threat.
Sainsbury also claimed in the Australian on the 23rd of March that it was a mistake for Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr to try and get an Australian diplomat to visit Tibet. Seven Million Tibetans are under total telecommunications blackout with all journalists, foreign tourists, (and hitherto) all diplomats banned from entering Tibet. This lockdown is a result of nearly 30 people burning themselves to death in protest at Chinese repression. 12 Nobel Laureates have now signed an appeal to Western leaders to ease the repression. http://savetibet.org/media-center/tibet-news/12-nobel-laureates-chinese-president-open-dialogue-tibet
What does Mr Sainsbury advocate, that Australia adopt a sycophantic pro China foreign policy that would suit the commercial interest of Clive Palmer, Forrest and others? We should remain calm, act in the national interest , keep our democratic and human rights values, while continuing our good economic relationship with Communist China. After all, serious analysts of the Australia China relationship know what Dr John Lee (The Centre for International Security Studies) scholar recently told Lateline (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3447302.htm). He explained that China had a rational attitude to Australia and that coal and iron exports from this country were one third cheaper (because of transport and insurance costs) than exports from our rivals such as Brazil.
Perhaps there is an argument for more Ministerial visits to China but your China correspondent appears “Boaoed” over by the narrow commercial view seen from the luxury of Hainan Island.
Michael Danby MP
Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
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