May 30th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Why success has eluded our automotive industry

EDITORIAL Will survival instincts drive new industry policies?

CANBERRA OBSERVED What's China's beef with our barley?

MANUFACTURING Reversing a bad trend

PUBLIC HEALTH Inquiries needed into major covid19 outbreaks

NATIONAL AFFAIRS ABS makes employment figures bend over backwards

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Green 'charities' continue to undermine development

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Royal commission denies Principle of fairness to Cardinal Pell

REFLECTION Woman is ... the answer to a question

ECONOMICS Breaking the shackles of deep globalisation

TRADE AND INDUSTRY Alarm bell is ringing loud on China's trade threats

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan an island of sanity in a sea of contagion

COVID19 LOCKDOWN Should churches be the first to reopen?

HUMOUR Troubling sino-signs at batflu press conference

MUSIC Let's be thankful for small mercies: No Eurovision!

CINEMA Onward: Recovering the everyday magic




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What's China's beef with our barley?

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, May 30, 2020

China’s aggressive retaliation against Australia for daring to demand an independent inquiry into the source and subsequent handling of the covid19 outbreak is testing the resolve of the Australian Government.

Powerful business leaders, the universities, and Australia’s left intelligentsia are urging the Morrison Government to soften its stance or risk inflicting serious damage to the Australian economy.

China has already banned imports from four of our abattoirs, one of which is actually Chinese owned, hiked tariffs on our barley over spurious trade transgressions, and flagged further damage to our wine, tourism and university sectors.

Crucially Australia is not alone; hypersensitive China has also lashed out at other countries that called for an inquiry, and is of course also involved in a massive trade standoff with the United States. Furthermore, Australia’s relationship with China has been tense for some time, including from our decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network on security advice.

But this is not preventing sections of the left taking the non-Australian position.

As The Australian’s Chris Kenny wrote recently: “The predisposition to take the foreign side against Australia has become a defining characteristic of the left. For much of last century, this might have been explained in ideological terms, fuelled by anti-American fervour.

“Now, we can see the Cold War hangover but it is infused with a dose of 21st-century identity politics. This is the self-loathing of those who prefer shame about a white, Christian and Anglo nation in the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than pride in a multicultural success story, founded through British institutions in a land of indigenous heritage, that helps to forge a better world.”

In other words, how dare we challenge our largest trading partner with some home truths over the source of the pandemic?

Covid19 has debilitated the international economy, causing in many cases irreparable damage to businesses and livelihoods, as well as inflicting much human suffering and death.

Setting aside investigating the actual origin of the virus in Wuhan Province (wet market or adjacent laboratory), which, unlike the United States, Australia is not buying into, China is yet to answer why it covered up for so many weeks, and why it took so long to warn the world of the virulence of the outbreak. Instead, Chinese authorities suppressed, denied, obfuscated and misinformed.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been pilloried in the media for his mishandling of the pandemic in the United States, but to what degree have China’s early misinformation and deceptions contributed to that mishandling?

Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Michael Schoebridge said: “The fault here is with Beijing and the Chinese government. … China repressed information, prevented action and didn’t ask for international help, and they inflicted suffering and death on their own people and the rest of the world – that’s why they don’t want this inquiry. But that’s exactly why the Prime Minister was right to call for it.”

The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly has also written extensively on the issue.

“Beneath the surface, Morrison is drawing a line against China with his inquiry proposal – the calculation is that, if Australia doesn’t push back against China now, even at a price, it will only need to push back later and pay an even higher price,” Kelly wrote.

“The dilemma arises from China’s nature as a flawed giant – an economic superpower with an authoritarian system and mindset. It has lied before the world over the virus and engages in naked bullying of Australia and other countries in the quest for submission.”

Australia’s actual infringement was to go out on its own in demanding an inquiry early rather than wait for the international community to do so.

Yet even the European Union resolution to the World Health Assembly is soft and not China-specific, calling for an “evaluation” to be conducted “in consultation with member states” on “lessons learnt” to establish a global initiative on pandemic preparedness.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison argues that certain principles and policies “are not to be traded ever”.

“We have always been independent,” Mr Morrison said. “We will always stand our ground when it comes to the things that we believe in and the values that we uphold.”

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm