Andrew Twiggy Forrest mining bushfire
Mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Yesterday the government learnt the same lesson Malcolm Turnbull learnt in politics: sections of Australian business will back Beijing rather than Canberra in any dispute between China and Australia because of the economic benefits.

"If an Australian government quite reasonably stands its ground," Turnbull wrote in A Bigger Picture, "and China quite unreasonably overreacts negatively (as it often does), Australian business will inevitably blame their own government."

The government under Turnbull was perfectly happy to demonise Labor's Sam Dastyari for his links with China while downplaying its equally extensive links with Chinese donors like Huang Xiangmo.