Courier Mail columnist, Mike O’Connor, recently turned both barrels on the federal Labor Party by singling out Sam Dastyari whose dalliance with the Chinese was more a clumsy attempt to rescue funds which had been withheld from Labor than anything of nefarious intent. China’s displeasure at Labor was incurred after Opposition defence spokesman, Stephen Conroy, berated China for its “bullying” policy in the South China Sea.
While we would be naïve to believe that there aren’t Beijing influences exerted in some Chinese student circles, there is no doubt that Malcolm Turnbull over-egged his political rhetoric against Dastyari and this was reflected in anti-Coalition swings in Bennelong booths with significant Chinese populations.
O’Connor’s opinion piece, which references the Port of Darwin lease to Chinese interests, omits to mention that this occurred when a Coalition government was in charge at both federal and territory levels. Our closest ally, the US, was appalled by the decision.
When Julia Gillard, on the advice of security agencies, disallowed the Chinese communications network Huawei from involvement in the NBN, she was strongly criticised by Turnbull, the then shadow communications Minister, who had contacts with the company. Interestingly, after more than two years as Prime Minister, he has not overturned that ban.