By John Stapleton

Desperate to distract attention from his spectacular mismanagement of the Covid crisis, the destruction of the national economy and the devastation his idiotic policies have wrecked on the lives of millions of people, this week Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ramped up his attacks on China.

The hypocrisy is truly astounding.

Scott Morrison was Australian Treasurer when the Northern Territory government the 99-year-lease of the Darwin Port, the country’s most strategic northern port. The deal remains the subject of intense controversy. As a way of explanation Morrison claimed of the NT: “They didn’t tell us about it!”

The bid for the port was examined and approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, the Defence Department and ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organsation.

That the nation’s Treasurer somehow didn’t know about the deal defies belief.

Morrison was a senior member of the Australian government which allowed China to exert a major and extremely unhealthy influence on Australian universities. At the same time some of the country’s best rural and urban real estate has been sold off to members of the Chinese Communist Party without the government even bothering to keep any registry of the sales to foreign interests.

As Clive Hamilton reports in Silent Invasion: Chinese Influence in Australia, some ninety percent of the more than one million Chinese in Australia are believed to be loyal to Beijing.

It is during the same period that Scott Morrison has been a senior government minister that, as critics point out, Australia has become virtually a southern province of China.

Below is an extract from veteran journalist John Stapleton’s latest book Dark Dark Policing.

Everyone felt like a stranger now.

The announcement came, the legendary Kidman properties, spanning three states and the Northern Territory, reportedly some 2.6 per cent of the nation’s land area, 101,000 square kilometres, was being sold to a Chinese consortium with Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, as the local figurehead.

Then Treasurer Scott Morrison, always closely linked to the Very Big End of Town, approved the sale, essentially to the Chinese Communist Party, declaring: “I have decided that the acquisition of Kidman as proposed would not be contrary to the national interest.”

Scott Morrison, the man who flogged off more than 2 percent of the country in one rotten deal that could only be described as a grievous breach of sovereignty, would soon enough be Prime Minister; the top office nothing but a revolving door rewarding the most Machiavellian of the nation’s politicians.

The sale was perceived by its many critics as an insult to all Australian taxpayers, an insult to the indigenous people whose sacred lands the properties had once been, and an insult to the generations who built the country.

Steal an asset that was never yours, make it your own, then sell to the highest bidder, no matter who they are. Capitalism. A wonderful thing.

Australian politicians. A case study of the worst that crony capitalism has to offer. The country had sold its soul, and its greatest assets.

“Could there be a greater betrayal?” Clive Hamilton asked in his recent book Silent Invasion: Chinese Influence in Australia.

Well no, there could not.

As publisher and financier David Llewellyn-Smith wrote in MacroBusiness:

“Australian democracy is in very serious jeopardy. China is making great strides towards it and its intentions are not benevolent. It’s obvious in local, regional and global trends and if we do not do something soon to protect our freedoms they are going to be sold into the burgeoning Chinese empire, as well as political hegemony, by a corrupt oligarchy.

“After decades of stupidly pro-cyclical policy-making Australia is now little more than a southern province of Chinese economic policy. With the flick of a pen in an obscure public service department, China delivers tens of billions to our shores in coal revenues and our monumental trade deficit evaporates overnight.

“There is no other economy on earth that I know of that works with this dependence. We call it lucky. And it is. But it also comes with strings attached and they have been on display for a decade or more.

“Indeed, with the current crop of money-grubbing mock-libertarian ideologues in charge, we are a complete bloody pushover. “

The idiosyncratic crossbencher Bob Katter, from the far north Queensland seat of Kennedy, said he felt “absolute rage and disgust” over the sale and the government was “selling their country out and selling their country off”.

“I would not describe the people in the major political parties as Australians — who knows what they are? — but they are not Australians,” he said. “These low bastards are sneaking through the approval two weeks prior to Christmas, when the public are looking elsewhere.

“Fifty-one per cent of Australia’s land mass is registered as desert lands, 21 per cent is Aboriginal lands without title deeds, precluding pastoral activity, and 7 per cent is national parks, leaving only 25 per cent available for agriculture. Australia’s five biggest farming operations — the Ord Stage 2, Van Diemen’s dairies, Cubbie, Nicoletti grains and Terra Firma — are all foreign-owned. They gave, not sold, the Ord River to the Chinese. Stage 3 along with Stage 2 will easily be the biggest farming operation in Australian history.

“The country continues to be sold out. When you’ve been a member of parliament for 42 years you can smell a rat from a mile away and this rat is very, very smelly indeed,” Katter complained.

The Foreign Investment Review Board approved the sale.

Fat cats hunkered down in their air-conditioned streets as they passed fashionable city restaurants, a glowing air of satisfaction wreathing their outsized bodies.

“What is the use of the Foreign Investment Review Board?” Old Alex asked. “They stand in the way of nothing. They approve the sale of the country to foreign interests.”

“Madness,” Boris said.

“They’ve sold off most of the electricity infrastructure, including light-poles, for Christ’s sake. China now has the capacity to shut down our electricity grid. Much of the prime rural and urban real estate has been sold to China. They’ve sold off most of the country’s major ports — Melbourne, the biggest, Darwin, the most strategic.”

At the time the new owner, billionaire Ye Cheng, claimed the Darwin port deal was “our involvement in One Belt, One Road”. This was discounted by some commentators as hyperbole, an attempt to curry favour with the Chinese Government.

But now, by design or not, the Darwin port deal increasingly looks like a blueprint for how Chinese interests can take control of foreign ports — as it is doing by various means around the world — without arousing local opposition. Quite the reverse. All levels of Australian government have encouraged it.

As John Garrick, a senior lecturer at Charles Darwin University, wrote in the news outlet Crikey, Landbridge Australia, a subsidiary of Shandong Landbridge, won the 99-year lease with its bid of $A506 million in November 2015. Shandong Landbridge has substantial and varied interests including port logistics and petrochemicals. Though privately owned, like many Chinese companies it has strong ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The company knows how to cultivate political connections. In Australia it gave influential Liberal Party figure and former trade minister Andrew Robb an $880,000 job just months after he retired from parliament.

Weaknesses in Australian governments at all levels have been revealed. They have been reactive, readily accepting the lure of pearls cast on our shores.

It was hard to believe just how bastardised Australian politics had become, just how great the betrayal of the country, how blatantly corrupt the greed of the conservatives. Masquerading as representatives of the people while feathering your own and your mates’ nests at the cost of the nation’s sovereignty, that’s not just dishonest, that’s corruption.

“It’s become so blatant, they don’t even bother to hide it any more,” an old mate observed.

“We’re becoming a southern province of China,” Old Alex said, repeating an article he had just read, as Boris, Bruce and he drank their lamentable coffee. Even at eight in the morning gusts of heat were descending on the street. “What sort of country does this, allows this to happen?”

“Madness,” Boris said again. “What can you do?”

Powerless. Ennui. Nothing stuck. Nobody cared. Nobody had a stake in their own country any more. It had all been flogged off to the highest bidder; and the locals made peasants in their own country. They despaired, left the country, retreated into their own parochial lives. Paid no attention whatsoever to the daily news.

With the recession already cutting in these canary towns, there was nothing you could do about such a profoundly mismanaged country.

Within months that fat cat of fat cats, David Irvine, the former director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service took over as head of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

On magnificent salaries, their paid man always sang from the institutional song sheet as he swung from one magnificent bureaucratic post to the next.

“That’s what these people do,” a retired spook told him. “They pass these plum jobs between themselves.”

Irvine had left ASIO singing the bureaucratic myths, the value of multiculturalism, the value of the government’s solid relationship with the Islamic community. It was all a lie. Multiculturalism, cultural Marxism by any other name, was an academic theory aimed at destroying the hegemony of the mainstream culture. It had been imposed on the populace by useful idiots. The Australian Government had profoundly mismanaged immigration. The billions of dollars ripped off the backs of the working poor to propagandise the theory had turned a successful immigrant country into a floundering, soulless, polyglot nation without a core, a unifying history or a common identity. And therefore without national pride.

In the process standards of living and social cohesion had been destroyed.

All to benefit the rich.

The country had never been more ethnically divided or demoralised. And as for the relationship with the Islamic community, it could not have been worse.

But the myths rolled on.

Irvine entered the Foreign Investment Review Board once again singing from the song sheet:

“Australia welcomes foreign investment, foreign investment in the national interest … and I don’t see that changing,” Irvine said on his appointment.

The people were robbed on a daily basis, their country sold out from under them.

While the useful fools sang and sang and sang.

Western NSW. Image courtesy Camplify