Nov 30, 2017

Dastyari’s demotion puts increasingly exposed China lobby on notice

Sam Dastyari's fate is a warning from Australia's intelligence agencies to the China Lobby: get too close to Beijing and you'll be exposed.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australia’s intelligence agencies, with the encouragement and facilitation of the government, have sent a clear signal to the China lobby active in Australian public affairs: you and your connections to the Chinese regime are being monitored and you will publicly exposed if you embrace Beijing too closely.

The savaging of Labor’s Sam Dastyari, who was sacked from his Senate committee and deputy whip positions overnight by Bill Shorten, is serving as an exemplary punishment for any figures in politics who are close to mainland Chinese figures. And especially those tempted to take an overly Sinophilic approach to key issues of policy, as Dastyari did — and appeared to do quite deliberately, not as a kind of misspeaking accident he portrayed it as.

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68 thoughts on “Dastyari’s demotion puts increasingly exposed China lobby on notice

  1. lloydois

    Thanks Bernard, that’s a useful summary. It’s been interesting to watch the medial pile on with this one. The timing ever so useful for the LNP and not much analysis of why now and who’s leaking.

  2. [email protected]

    A great summary article.

    The problem is that the Libs desperately need Chinese money and votes to win in the Bennelong by-election. John Alexander got $80,000 via Sam’s CCP-linked donor, too.

    Our Foreign minister is also corrupted. This was barely reported:
    Chinese businessmen linked to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop donated $500,000 to her Liberal Party branch.
    * Chinese businessmen have donated $500,000 to the WA Liberal Party
    * Businesses have no apparent business interests in Western Australia
    * Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has previously praised key donors at events
    * Some key donors have donated millions to both sides of government
    * Bishop also received $400,000 from South Australian-linked CCP donors via her “Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation”.

    1. SQuinny1

      I tend to think it’ll all settle down after Barnaby is returned today until after Bennelong. This was the government showing the Opposition its intentions by throwing the dead cat on the table. They’ve got their Dastardly Sam, Bill Shorten has been forced into moving because he’s sensitive to the fact that he is the leader of a party that is much more popular than he is. The government will want to look all governmenty until Bennelong’s votes are counted.

  3. old greybearded one

    So where was all this concern when Robb, Abbott and Blunderby were flogging off Darwin and the right to decide who works here? Nopt to mention when the Chinese started buying our infrastructure.

  4. Grumpy Old Sod

    How he can remain in parliament is a mystery given that he warned his companion in so many words to be careful as ASIO could be monitoring them. This displays a foreknowledge from Dastyari that he knew that what he was doing was sailing very close to the wind. In other words, the appearance is given that his interest’s transcended the country’s interest and as such, he has displayed a total lack of commitment to Australia and thus should not be in parliament.

    1. klewso

      I’d love to see Dastyari make way for someone more deserving – he’s long been a bunger looking for a light.
      But how’d that conversation come to light?
      Was he briefed by ‘ASIO’?
      And as if Huang never suspected he was being “monitored” – given his “connections”?

      1. MJM

        I agree Klewso. I have friends who visit China regularly and are watched closely by both ASIO and the Chinese. It does not need a rocket scientist to work out that authorities in both countries do what they do. I doubt that Huang is so naive as to think otherwise.

  5. klewso

    Dastyari is just one morish loose petard and Turnbull needs a distraction, while just 40 grand (to the Qld LNP) will get you dinner and a show with Malfoy? But that doesn’t count in a game like this?
    ….. Then there were those thousands of dollars worth of watches for Robert, Abbott and their wives and Macfarlane?
    And where’s Andrew Robb these daze – after stitching up that “great trade deal” with China?

    1. Norm

      Where’s Andrew Robb? According to the SMH, he is reportedly topping up his paltry parliamentary pension with an $800K per annum sinecure with some Chinese company. Thirty pieces of silver.

    2. klewso

      Thanks to the “Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation” Lady Penelope can show up at a kid’s birthday party?

  6. The Curmudgeon

    Great distraction for the government, with focus away from the royal commission capitulation. Dastyari may not be a Chinese agent, but he’s doing a good imitation of a Liberal Party one- he’s the gift that keeps on giving. And, his term lasts till 2022, so no early exit- unless Packer can offer him one of those cushy jobs which seem available for certain Labor types.

  7. bref

    I was stuck in the car this morning, so listened to the ‘debate’ over Dastyari, which was obviously instigated, as it turned out, to stop debate over workers wages.
    It was fascinating with both sides slagging each other over all the others wrongdoings over the years. With all the dirty linen being aired, it brought it home to me why I dislike both parties so much. Frankly the only contribution worthy of note was from the Greens senator. Short, relevant and to the point, he quietly showed Dastyari the door and why he should step through it.

  8. Graeme Dunstan

    Does not the normalisation process of US alliance lobby, which seems to include the Australian security establishment, also obscure the astonishing brutality of the US regime?

    I am thinking of its 2 million plus jail population, its regime change efforts in Iraq, Libya and Syria, its torture practices as revealed at Abu Grahib, its training and arming of the Daesh in Syria and its ongoing drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.

  9. Itsarort

    Not a big fan of Dastyari but it’s still a storm in a teacup and just more evidence that the media will make both sides of parliament jump through their hoops at a whim.
    For those who have ever sent emails from China back to Australia, at the top of the page there is/was a neatly written blurb in English that basically said, ‘all your correspondence is being monitored’. Big deal, and Australia’s no better in that department; how else did they tape the conversation about the taping of the conversation?

  10. Will

    There’s something very weird about this article. On the one hand, Bernard takes it that Chinese interference is so widespread in Australian politics that intelligence agencies are using Dastyari to set an example; but on the other, that a CCP-led China can be no friend to Australia whatsoever. If the latter is true though, aren’t intelligence agencies beholden to pursue the prosecution of Dastyari, and any other politicians they suspect of subverting Australia’s security interests? Or is Bernard just furious at China for illustrating that capitalism works so much better without democracy?

    1. Norm

      Uhm, kleptocracy is not capitalism.

      1. Will

        I get your point, Norm. China’s not capitalism as we know it. But what I’m say is, what if China has aced it? What if China has actually nailed capitalism (with a regime that looks like kleptocracy, autocracy and total bureaucracy combined), and we in the West have been stumbling about for a 200-odd years foolishly trying to marry capitalism with a democracy that could never love it? What if Bernard’s hope that China even has an intrinsic national interest that could prevail is a total liberal delusion? What if no-one in China agrees with Bernard, and nothing in our liberal-fairytales political culture stops us joining them?

        1. AR

          Ouch. You pinged it.
          Blast you.

      2. kyle Hargraves

        We really do need to do some research! I accept that kleptocracy exists in many parts of the world; most of Africa in fact along with Russia and a few other usual suspects are encumbered with the condition. Of late Zimbabwe would qualify as the quintessential example. Improvements will remain to be seen.

        However, both Hu and Xi, recognising the debilitating effects of corruption have, especially in the case of the latter individual, – over the last five years – applied significant quantities of disinfectant to the problem. So-thought neo gods are now “doing porridge” and will be consuming the staple for some period of time.

        Capitalism, as any useful textbook will convey, depends completely upon a mode of production where the majority (95%) have no option but to work or a wage or a salary; otherwise it is inoperative – e.g self-sustaining communities. What the workers are paid is reflective of the costs to keep them in good order – witness the stagnating wage/salary growth for those under $60,000 p.a. The income of the workers has no association with the “value” of the product produced. For that reason Gillard etc. (taking one example) could squander millions of dollars on Quixote‎-like international womens’ programmes. Ditto for other examples of government waste.

        For that it is worth I have been teaching the English syllabus A-Level STEM subjects (AS/2) in China for some number of years (which trash any lower grade (e.g. VCE) “quasi-equivalent” in Australia. A major difference is that in China the Education Bureaus give a damn about the “top” students whereas in Australia the bulk of the budget is directed towards the cretins – and the able students have to fend for themselves – which, happily, they can do; but with no thanks to any given political party.

        I don’t believe in all that much : just (1) that the truth will ultimately win and in (2) free (completely free – not the PC sanitised versions) speech. Otherwise, I would be rather annoyed with the quality of many of the submissions of late. Might I suggest that some of my fellow contributors make something of an effort to “get out more”.

        Lastly, confining the remark to a sentence, there is a LARGE component of private and public enterprise in China but the neo-capitalist model is not western-based; something which Gottliebsen (citing an example rather than a personality) down doesn’t understand at all.

        1. Will

          English? What the fuck do you know about English?

          1. kyle Hargraves

            I wrote “English syllabus A-Level STEM subjects (AS/2)”. Great Britain comprises England, Wales and Scotland. The United Kingdom refers to Great Britain and Northern Island. The point is relevant because EACH have their OWN education system. The A-Level system is English inasmuch as the A-Level programme comprises a system administered and by various Boards in England.

            The A-Level Boards (there are four main Boards) offer an extensive range (over 100) of subjects. There are numerous STEM-type subjects in addition to the traditional Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, IT (ICT) etc.

            As to what I know with regard to the English language – may I conjecture rather more than my correspondent and my knowledge of systems of education in other English-speaking countries may well exceed that of my correspondent also.

          2. Will

            Hmm. Does ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ feel somewhat autobiographical for you?

          3. lykurgus

            Will, correct spelling is “fukka”. It’s Norsk, not English.

          4. Richard

            More than you by my reading, that is certain.

        2. bref

          Lighten up Kyle, I thought Will wrote the word fuck very eloquently.
          I imagine him as a bow legged wannabe cowboy in some outback pub, his trusty 4-wheel drive tied up outside, with his mates, all saying fuck together very often.

          1. kyle Hargraves

            As it happens I am more familiar with American literature from the South than from any other region in the USA and more familiar with female writers than male writers. Although, in general, anyone to “tops” themselves in their mid 30s (as Toole did) are interesting people.

            As to Ignatius J. at least I have been to New Orleans whereas I.J.
            could not get himself to Batton Rouge on Greyhound without freaking-out. I’ve done both on Greyhound (without freaking-out).
            Ignatius J. certainly didn’t get to Australia or New Zealand.

            Frankly the novel by John Toole (it has been 35 years since I read it) is not the least autobiographical. There is not a single
            character (again, appealing to memory) that is representative of family, friends or associates.

            Regarding the comment from Bref, I am surprised that I was interpreted as being “heavy”. As conveyed, I only care about two
            things. As to Mr Will I harbour not the least doubt that his vocabulary of nouns of Anglo Saxon origin is extensive; might one say “awe-inspiring”.

          2. Richard

            And with access to Crikey?? How does he manage that?

    2. John Hall

      With you Will. China is an important power and will be the premier power in my lifetime. It’s a lesson on capitalism we & the US needs heeding. As far as donations go – the ALP should out the coalitions contradictory behaviour. Andrew Robb is shameful but Bob Hawke was worse representing Myanmar when it was ruled by a repressive junta. Retired politicians on a full pension should have it with withdrawn while working on behalf of non-Australian government or business.

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