Even as Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers warn against the rising tide of protectionism, his government is rapidly becoming the most protectionist since the Fraser era, with the way being prepared to hand a $900 million concessional loan to the corrupt, tax-dodging Indian company Adani for its unviable Carmichael coal mine project.

The cheap loan to fund the rail line needed to connect the mine with port facilities would come from the government's National Party boondoggle fund, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which lacks even the most basic accountability mechanisms and has minimal staff. There would be no assessment role for Infrastructure Australia, which is expressly designed to assess major infrastructure projects on a national and regional basis, and certainly no role for a body like the Productivity Commission.