Contributed by Adam Carlton
The has been a lot of carry on about Chinese business activities and political donations in Australia that has a strong racist undertone. The implication has been that being Chinese is more important than the actual act. The tone is that Australia is threatened by a Chinese takeover.
This is the veneer that has overlain the Sam Dastyari affair. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of his actions, the media attack has been based on being associated with the Chinese. This is telling when the corridors of the Australian parliament are filled with lobbyists, private business donations are flowing into party bank accounts and Australia has been dependent on investment coming from overseas.
The Chinese component is only a small part of the whole and insignificant in comparison to the investment, including political donations, sourcing form the United Kingdom, United States and a few other countries.
When this reality is ignored, it means that what is really being said is that the money trail isn’t important, unless it’s Chinese.
Australia has a history of racism being directed against the Chinese. This is not the whole story, but the part that has become more pronounced in recent times. The fabricated threat includes whole Chinese Diaspora, including the Chinese community in Australia.
Aside from the Dastayari affair there is the supposed funding of Adani’s activities in Australia.
The man and his people have been casting around the world to borrow the money denied to them in Australia. They have been to the United States, Europe and other places. This has not been reported on. Only the Chinese approach has made the news.
All investment should be considered on its merits wherever it comes from. If it does not fit in with Australia’s interests, it should not be supported. An investment with Adani is such a case. It is wrong because of its nature, not because of where it comes from.
As it happens, the two most likely lenders, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the China Construction Bank have both come out and publicly denied any intention to take part in Adani’s projects. They have gone further and said that their policy is to become involved in the development of renewable energy sources and to move away from fossil fuels.
Even if they had shown an inclination to hand over the money, it would have to get the approval from the Chinese government. This would be difficult, given the Chinese government policy expresses more commitment to acting on lowering dependency on fossil fuels than any other country. As it is, most of Australia’s coal is exported there. The prospect for the future is that as China turns increasingly away from this energy source, the demand for coal will diminish accordingly.
Even without these hurdles, Adani’s Carmichael mine has developed a reputation for being a bad investment that will most probably not get off the ground. Big investors around the world, do not want to get their fingers burnt.
For Adani, it means being left with being dependent on securing public money from the Australian government. Whether this is going to eventuate, remains to be seen. But given the scale of the public opposition that now exists, this would be a foolish move for the government to make.