Australian Politics 2020-06-07 15:52:00


Taking Australia back: PM announces tough new measures to stop foreigners buying our land and assets

This will be a popular measure on both the Left and the Right but it is not well thought-out.  Banning Chinese purchases of land is particularly silly.  The Chinese can't pick the land up and takes it back to China -- so what is achieved?

The Chinese normally employ Australian managers for their farm purchases so even the management remains mostly under Australian control.

Purchase of companies is less clear-cut but once again one has to ask what is achieved?  In the rare instances where there are commercial or scientific secrets that could be revealed, then by all means restrict those purchases but what else could go wrong?  The new owners will have the same motivation to make a profit so production of what the firm makes should be little changed

Foreign investment laws in Australia will be completely overhauled as part of tough new rules to protect the country's national security.

The federal government's zero-dollar approval threshold will mean all foreign bids for companies from large telecommunication businesses to small defence providers will be vetted by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will also have the power to force a sale or impose conditions on foreign acquisition of Australian assets even after a purchase is made.

Previously the treasury could only block foreign purchases of Australian assets which exceeded a takeover threshold of $1.2billion.

The new laws follow a series of recent controversial takeovers by Chinese-owned companies - including the lease of the Port of Darwin to Chinese Communist Party-linked Landbridge Group in November 2015.

The deal was called into question by then-US President Barack Obama at the time, leading former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage to say Australia had 'blindsided' its ally.

Government sources have claimed the agreement with the group's subsidiary Landbridge Australia would not have been approved had the FIRB's rules been in place, The Australian reported.

'Through the introduction of a new national security test, stronger enforcement powers and enhanced compliance obligations, we will ensure that Australia can continue to benefit from foreign investment while safeguarding our national interest,' Mr Frydenberg said.

In 2016, then-treasurer Scott Morrison also overturned a Chinese bid for energy company Ausgrid over national security concerns.

The intervention just 10 days before the deal's deadline led to the Chinese government accusing Canberra of 'discrimination' and 'protectionism'.

Chinese buyers spent $24billion on Australian real estate during the last year, making them by far the largest group of foreign purchasers.

China is also the largest foreign stakeholder in the Australian water market - with Chinese investors owning 732 gigalitres or 1.89 per cent of the water.

It comes as Australia strengthens ties with India as relations with China, its largest trading power, continues to sour.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi signed off a new agreement in a virtual summit on Thursday.

It aims to boost economic trade between the two countries, build closer partnerships around science and technology and strengthen defence cooperation.


Student suspended for criticising his university's China ties is banned from his own appeal hearing - as 'victim' speaks out in his defence

A student who was suspended from the University of Queensland for two years after criticising its links to China has been banned from attending his own appeal hearing.

Drew Pavlou was banned from completing his philosophy degree until 2022 on Friday after the university accused him of 11 cases of misconduct, which were detailed in a confidential 186-page document.

The 21-year-old revealed he had been banned from the proceedings to review the penalty on Friday, and his lawyer planned to include proof from an alleged victims that one of the complaints against him was 'manufactured'.

'Despite being an elected representative to the UQ Senate, I've been barred from attending a meeting reviewing my expulsion. Kangaroo court!' he Tweeted.

The UQ Senate is reviewing his suspension in an out-of-session meeting, and Mr Pavlou will be banned from accessing the minutes of the meeting as well, due to conflict of interest concerns.

UQ vice-chancellor Peter Hoj, who was referenced in the complaints against the activist, will not attend for the same reason.

'I don't understand why, as a democratically elected representative of UQ students on the senate, I'm being barred from this meeting,' Mr Pavlou told the ABC.

'They are taking all these steps to ensure there is as murky a process as possible, that the Australian public does not know how they are making these decisions.'

A spokewoman from the university told Daily Mail Australia that the meeting was to brief the Senate on the outcome of Mr Pavlou's disciplinary matter.   

'It would be inconsistent with standard conflict of interest procedures if Mr Pavlou or Senate members directly involved in the appeal process were to attend,' she said. 'The Vice Chancellor will also not attend.'

Mr Pavlou also revealed that his lawyer, Tony Morris QC, was contacted by one of students Mr Pavlou had allegedly 'harassed, bullied, threatened or abused' on social media.

The student wrote that not only had he not made a formal complaint nor felt 'distressed' as written in the complaint, he had not been contacted by UQ.

'Apparently the complaint mentions that I was "distressed" which is from my point of view laughable,' the student wrote in an email viewed by the ABC.

'While I think it was characteristically crass of him to write to a female friend the way he did I feel this complaint has been largely manufactured.' 

Over the weekend the Chinese Communist Party-controlled tabloid Global Times rubbed salt in the wound of Mr Pavlou's suspension, citing anonymous students celebrating it.

The article labelled Mr Pavlou an 'anti-Chinese rioter' while saying his peers were celebrating that 'justice finally came'.

Four anonymous Chinese and Australian students were quoted in the piece accusing him of inciting violence and racism while smearing Chinese students.

In response Mr Pavlou claimed Chinese state media had directed UQ to expel him, and said the university was dependent on income from Chinese students and donors.

'Chinese state media have just decided to go full mask off, endorsing my expulsion from UQ,' he wrote on Twitter.

'UQ relies on the Chinese market for 20 per cent of its income. Moral courage!'

A statement from University of Queensland confirmed fees from Chinese students make up about 20 per cent of revenue.

The campus has the fifth highest international student fee income in Australia, and about 18,000 of the 53,000 students enrolled are from overseas.

Nine thousand of those students are from China.

Mr Pavlou will be able to continue his studies until the verdict of the appeal.

He is due to complete his degree in six months, meaning he may graduate before his suspension begins.

The politics student believes his university caved to pressure from Chinese influence to suspend him.

He led a series of campus demonstrations last year, in support of Hong-Kong's pro-democracy movement.

The activist also posted messages to social media criticising China's authoritarian regime and denounced the university's close financial ties with the Communist Party


Black Lives Matter protesters in Australia are just ‘rent-a-crowds’

Dr Anthony Dillon (Dr Anthony Dillon is a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University and commentator on Indigenous issues)

An Indigenous academic says the Black Lives Matter protests were “ridiculous” and the “rent-a-crowds” did not care about the real issues.

So much has been said this past week in response to the shocking death of a Minnesota man and the hands of a dumb police officer.

All can agree, that this (former) officer’s actions, and that of his colleagues who stood by and watched him, are atrocious.

Sadly, the fallout from this act of stupidity has had a flow on effect in Australia.

Some activists reading that last sentence will reply with “Oh but it’s important, it’s solidarity …”

No, it’s just an excuse to protest for the sake of protesting.

I am all for people fighting for a cause they feel strongly about and taking to the streets if they feel that is the best way to deliver, what they believe, is an important message.

But what we are seeing now is ridiculous. If this was just a comedy show I would be laughing. But the antics of activists, social justice warriors, and their rent-a-crowds only move Australia backwards.

These professional protesters are latching onto the Aboriginal deaths in custody issue to enable them to justify their confected outrage and go out marching with their protest signs that say: ‘Black lives matter’.

For them, an Aboriginal death in custody is proof positive of racism.

For Aboriginal deaths in custody, let’s provide some context here. Aboriginal Australians in custody are less likely to die than non-Aboriginal Australians in custody.

An Australian Government publication, The Health of Australia’s Prisoners: 2015, states: “Indigenous Australians were no more likely to die in custody than non-Indigenous Australians” and “With just over one-quarter (27 per cent) of prisoners in custody being Indigenous, and 17 per cent of deaths in custody being Indigenous, Indigenous prisoners were under-represented.”

The ‘outrage’ from protesters for deaths in custody is about as authentic as Australia Day protests.

I and others have been asking for a long time: “Where is the outrage regarding the high rates of violence and child abuse in Aboriginal communities?”

In early May there was a report of a young Aboriginal woman (mother of two) found dead in a wheelie bin.

On the WAtoday webpage it was reported “a Martu elder stood in the boy’s place to receive a punishment dealt out according to customary law”—the boy referred to is the person charged with the woman’s murder. Where was the outrage?

I could give plenty more examples of hypocrisy but won’t.

I want to talk about why tension exists between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, because by understanding the cause, we can find a solution.

Most Aboriginal people are either partnered up with a non-Aboriginal person or the product of the union between an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal person.

It seems that we generally get along with one another. Of course, there are exceptions, as there are with the mixing of any groups or races.

Those exceptions can range from simple disagreements to acts that are outright vicious and fatal.

But here’s the problem, as humans we have quirky ways of thinking and analysing the world around us.

The exceptions I just referred to can be used to create a belief that simply is not true. Contrary to common opinion, psychologists tell us that people do not make observations and then draw conclusions, rather, they select theories that are consistent with their personal values, attitudes, and prejudices (often hidden from consciousness) and then go out into the world to make observations to validate their theories.

Observations not consistent with a pre-existing belief are discarded while confirmatory ones are clung to tightly.

Applied here for the person who believes Aboriginal people are the victims of endless racism, a death in custody or an altercation with a white police officer is seen as evidence of racism. Or even witnessing a true case of racism, it will be used to validate one’s personal belief that Australia is a racist country towards Aboriginal Australians.

Of course, non-Aboriginal people are just as capable of distorting their views of Aboriginal people, but I don’t believe it happens to the same degree as it does with Aboriginal people having distorted views of non-Aboriginal people.

There have been stories in the media describing atrocious acts of violence where an Aboriginal person kills a non-Aboriginal person, and not once have I heard of any movement or any individual that as a result of these atrocious acts, promotes the lie that Aboriginal people are a danger to non-Aboriginal people.

More succinctly, Goethe said “people find what they look for, and they look for what they believe.” Maybe it’s time we band together and start looking for the good in each other? There are no winners with the race riots and protests.


Australian bank reveals findings from compliance review

Australian lender Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) on Thursday blamed “faults of omission” and “not intentional wrongdoing” for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

Last November, Australian regulator AUSTRAC filed a civil lawsuit, accusing the bank of presiding over 23 million payments that violated anti-money laundering protocols, including those made by Australians to child pornography purveyors in the Philippines.

The country’s second-largest bank last month admitted to charges of breaching money laundering laws, but denied accusations it enabled illegal payments between known child sex offenders.

Unclear accountabilities as well as a lack of understanding and expertise caused compliance failures, the company said in a statement.

The bank, which concluded its investigation into issues raised by AUSTRAC, said that the failure to correctly report international transfer of funds was due to a mix of technology and human error going back more than a decade.

“Consequences that have been applied to individuals include significant remuneration impacts and disciplinary actions,” Westpac Chief Executive Officer Peter King said. “A number of relevant staff had already left the company.”

The allegations from the regulator have led to a string of senior management changes at the company, including the chief executive and chairman roles. Earlier this week, the bank announced that the head of its institutional bank was retiring.

A report from the advisory panel review into the charges noted that the directors could have recognised the systemic nature of the crimes the bank was facing earlier.

Westpac said it would continue to engage with AUSTRAC on the legal process.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here