Christensen: Time to reset our China relationship
ALARM bells rang throughout Canberra and Australian industry in late April, when communist China's ambassador to Australia Jingye Cheng raised the spectre of a Chinese boycott of Australian exports.
Sadly, some of those alarm bells were sounding to warn off further criticism of the so-called People's Republic of China.
But alarm bells have also been sounding about Australia's exposed weakness in the face of Chinese Communist Party threats due to our entangled economic relationship with that regime.
Suggesting that an international inquiry should be conducted to get to the bottom of a global pandemic, such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne have done, should not have been seen as a controversial call … unless of course you're an insular authoritarian regime with a secret you don't want exposed.
The latest threats from China are those of imposing duties on the importation of Australian barley and banning beef exports from a number of Australian abattoirs.
There is no basis to China's claims that we were dumping barley on to foreign markets, but it now appears this excuse is being used as a threat to our trade relations.
What's worse is the fact that the CCP breached international health regulations.
The most horrendous crime, though, was the CCP allowing millions of potentially infected Wuhan residents to travel to the four corners of the Earth, after having stopped travel from Wuhan to any other place in mainland China.
There is no other way to say this: the CCP knowingly and deliberately allowed these ''ambassadors of death'' to infect the rest of the world.
Despite all of this, apparently any suggestion of an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 is, according to the CCP, just playing politics and is fair game to be met by a boycott of our exports into China.
In fact, this sort of bullying by the CCP has happened before.
After Australia said "no way" to Huawei being part of its 5G network, it just so happened that coal exports were slowed down and stopped from being shipped into certain Chinese ports.
Nonetheless, in February, as the outbreak began to organically impact upon Australian exports, the Commonwealth Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment growth voted to establish an inquiry which could reset the economic relationship between Australia and communist China.
The innocuously named Inquiry Into Diversifying Australia's Trade and Investment Profile should really be called the China Inquiry.
Dr John Coyne, who heads up the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's The North and Australia's Security research program, provided one of the initial submissions to the China Inquiry which explicitly states that from ''a national security perspective Australia is too reliant on the Chinese export market and foreign investment''.
Dr Coyne writes that the economic over-reliance we have with communist China is leaving us vulnerable to Chinese economic policy manipulation.
Further, he posits that without the development of a new strategy, and associated economic policy, an assertive Chinese Government could well apply external influences on Australia to force it to make a binary choice or choices between economic and national security.
We must reset the economic relationship with China or bells may toll in quite another way for our sovereignty as a nation.
George Christensen is the federal Member for Dawson
Originally published as Christensen: Time to reset our China relationship