Responding to Michael Sainsbury on the mixed messaging of Australia's proposed free trade deal with Hong Kong -- is the government pro-CCP or anti-CCP? -- Crikey readers were split on how the government (and media) should be signalling on China. Either way, it's not a surprise to see our attitudes towards foreign regimes are a little unbalanced. Elsewhere, readers were similarly at odds about (already nixed) congestion tax being floated for major cities.

On Australia's mixed-messaging on China

Curtis E. Winter writes: Australia is doing the same thing it’s done since the 1980s: essentially being uninterested in whether China is a humane place to live, and putting business relationships far ahead of any other way of engaging with China. That does provoke the question of why Dutton spoke out. Since he’s built his reputation on being an authoritarian (i.e. an identical position to the CCP), it is strange that he would go to the effort. If it wasn’t just a brain fart, is he trying to develop a paleoconservative tendency in the Liberal Party, speaking out for economic and cultural nationalism and against “communism”? He’d have to be trying to appeal to people who are mostly even older than the Liberals’ regular support base.

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