Opinion: Tariffs, Toxic Tweets & Tough Talk

11 Dec 2020

The People’s Republic of China has tested Australia’s resolve over the last few weeks. Tariffs, toxic tweets and tough talk from so-called wolf warrior diplomats are designed to make us blink. We haven’t. 

Our Prime Minister has resisted economic coercion and diplomatic bullying. He has stood up for Australian sovereignty, values and interests. This week, Parliament reinforced that resolve with important legislation. First, the Foreign Relations Bill.

We’ve made sure the Commonwealth government retains primacy over Australia’s foreign affairs.   It means the Commonwealth can veto agreements that aren’t in our national interest, such as the Victorian Government’s unilateral Belt and Road deal with the CCP.

Second is the Foreign Investment Reform Bill. This protects us from geo-strategic moves dressed up as legitimate foreign investment.  Since European settlement, foreign investment has always contributed to Australia’s economic prosperity. However, any investment must be on our terms and in the national interest. These reforms introduce a national security test and an array of tough powers to deal with shady investors. 

Finally, the ASIO Amendment Bill. This Bill modernises ASIO’s questioning framework, giving them the tools to combat terrorism and espionage in a high threat security environment.   

We have taken these concrete steps to harden Australia in a more dangerous and uncertain world. We’ve done it to protect your family, your prosperity and Australia’s national interest.  

Andrew Hastie MP