Australia slams opposition's China speech

2012-07-26 11:05


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - The Australian government hit back at criticism of Chinese investment in its economy by opposition leader Tony Abbott, condemning his remarks as "dangerously dumb" on Thursday.

Abbott, who is on track to become prime minister next year, described Chinese business ownership this week as a "complicated" issue due to the prevalence of state-owned corporations in the world's second-largest economy.

He said it was "rarely" in Australia's interest to allow acquisitions by foreign governments, triggering anger from the centre-left Labour government which stressed the importance of China, the country's top trading partner.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr rounded on Abbott's remarks, made during a speech in Beijing this week, as diplomatically careless.

"The things he said about China can only be seen, and will be seen by them I think, as an adversarial approach with China, and I think that is reckless," Carr told ABC television.

"I think it is really dangerously dumb for this country's interests."

5 000 mining jobs

Carr said Abbott had indicated that he favoured a "blanket prohibition on Chinese investment by state-owned companies", which he described as "crazy" given the potential benefits for Australia of the Asian giant's economic boom.

"You've got farm communities of Australia that are guaranteed prosperity because Chinese urbanisation is seeing people buy their foodstuff from supermarkets stocked with Australian produce," said Carr.

"You've got 5 000 mining jobs in Australia directly dependent on Chinese investment."

China currently gets half its iron ore from Australia, with firms "encouraged" by the fact that they could buy shares in the mines themselves, he added.

Treasurer Wayne Swan had earlier condemned Abbott for casting Australia's foreign investment guidelines into question for the sake of politicking, describing the speech as "unhelpful" and saying it generated uncertainty.

Australia has emerged recession-free from the global financial crisis, helped by huge Chinese demand for its natural resources, but Chinese takeover moves on industries from telecoms to mining to agriculture have caused unease.

Earlier this year Australia excluded Chinese telecoms company Huawei from tendering for broadband contracts, citing national security concerns about critical infrastructure.

Several mining takeover bids have failed on similar grounds.

Read more on:    china  |  australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.