The Australian Government first discussed the need for a second airport in Sydney in 1969. A decision to locate it at Badgerys Creek was made by the Hawke Labor Government in 1986. Twenty-five years later the first earth works were being undertaken, amidst the usual allegations of corruption and dirty dealing.
In China eight new airports are being opened every year, with time from decision to final construction averaging two years. The Chinese look at us askance. Australia simply doesn’t cut it and it knows it. Why can’t Australia get it’s act together? Easy money from minerals, wheat, meat, tourism and students. Sound Chinese investment knocked back to please the US, who laugh at us behind closed doors.
Hedonism and corruption dominate the LNP, which Morrison encapsulates. Australia has never had a lazier Prime Minister and for him money grows on trees. He along with many of his contemporaries have no idea about real work or the real economy. Posed photos of Morrison building chook and cubby houses says it all.
The LNP fears the dynamism of China. They fear the Chinese work ethic, particularly when observed amongst the Chinese who live in Australia. The answer of the LNP and those they mix with has been to embrace industrial scale corruption. To use their political power to make hay while the sun shines, place themselves across the money trail. The dominant Murdoch media lets them off the hook, as long as the LNP gives the equally corrupt Murdoch what he wants, which they have, including tax payers unreceipted dollars.
The Chinese observe this. The staff at their Embassy in Canberra are highly trained. More literate and intelligent than most members of Morrison’s cabinet, they read what is published as news, listen to radio and watch TV. They have come to the same conclusions that I have along with other Embassies in Canberra. Like minded embassies talk amongst themselves. In addition, China monitors all news services reporting on Australia and in order that we should not feel too important they do it for every country in the world. The point being they know us better than we know ourselves.
They also spy on us, as we do them, but they do it more effectively. And we also get information from the US which is tainted. They put spin on their intelligence to try and lock us into their view of China. And they have been successful, just as they were with Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? An overwhelming desire amongst Australian policy makers not to take responsibility for foreign and defence policy, founded in an inferiority complex grounded in not believing in the unique and innate worth of the country they represent.
China is aware of this in spades. They know us a lot better than we know them and ourselves. They knew exactly what was behind Morrison’s ill-considered Wuhan, Covid accusation. They have watched and listened and lost respect. As have many thoughtful and considered Australians. Inept, thoughtless, crude and indeed arrogant attempts to bridge Morrison stupidity by Australian politicians and officials have only made matters worse.
From everything I have been able to glean Xi Jinping thinks Morrison a fool and has written him off. He sees no hope of reviving the relationship while Morrison is in power, so the Chinese will not bother. But they will take further punitive trade measures were Australia to make sillier and more thoughtless ASPI inspired anti-China statements and undertakings such as giving asylum to CIA backed dissidents from Hong Kong.
The Australian government has no idea of what is happening. China is cutting us loose. We will hang below Asia as neither fish nor fowl. Asia will cut us loose. We have no understanding that China is the major power in the region, if not the world, and to put it crudely, in the absence of getting our own act together we have to acknowledge them as we acknowledge the US. China seeks the same respect we give to the US. Is that hard? Yes, given the racism of the LNP.
Kurt Campbell, yet another US special representative, this time for the Indo-Pacific has said the Biden Administration will not resume normal relations with the Chinese until they treat Australia better. How humiliating and what rubbish. We do not need the US to conduct our foreign policy and the fact they think they can, demonstrates how weak and ineffectual Morrison appears to them.
The Morrison government has dragged us out of Asia and the Pacific, just as Vorster, the Apartheid Prime Minister dragged South Africa out of Africa. The reality is soon to hit.
Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and former diplomat.