A concerned Australian woman has launched a petition calling for an investigation of Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews and his government’s role in controversial Chinese Belt and Road initiative.
Fiona Hiu is asking for 60,000 signatures to bid the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to launch a full investigation into “Dan Andrews’ wholly inappropriate ties to the Chinese Communist Party and its agents.”
Hiu, a Hong Kong-born Australian citizen, also calls on the state’s Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) to investigate the entire bidding process of the project to ensure there are no improprieties.
The statement on the Change.Org petition reads: “Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has signed a new deal with the Chinese Communist Regime to deepen the state’s engagement with the controversial Belt and Road initiative.
“Australians are already worried about Chinese influence in Australia, but Andrews, who is a frequent visitor to China, has ignored the concerns of many of us and decided to deepen his relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, ignoring China’s Communist Party’s 70 years of continuing massacres, enslaving, organ-harvesting, starving, threatening, oppressing and otherwise abusing their citizens; ignoring China’s killing, torturing, bullying, impersonating and discrediting democracy seeking Hong Kong protesters; ignoring China’s destroying of our planet, and rampantly stealing of Intellectual Properties and assets from companies and governments around the world.”
It continues: “By having such an intimate relationship with China’s communist regime, Daniel Andrews’ ethical leadership quality is in question and many Australians now do not believe he puts Australia’s interest before that of China’s.”
The state government of Victoria is currently the only entity in Australia to have signed up to China’s controversial “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program.
The ambitious project, the brainchild of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, was rolled out in 2013 and aims to establish geopolitical clout for the Chinese Communist Party by financing infrastructure projects throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
Epoch Times writer Chriss Street reported in July that, according to state mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency, Xi’s $1.3 trillion “One Belt, One Road” initiative is also infused with military objectives. China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe made the public remarks during a visit with a group of South Pacific and Caribbean military chiefs on July 10.
Andrews agreed to the global project on Oct. 23 while on a visit to Beijing, branding the deal an “important opportunity.”
“This has been an important opportunity to not only showcase Victoria’s massive pipeline of infrastructure projects, but also highlight the ingenuity and expertise of Victorian companies,” he said.
Andrews added that he was “proud of our close relationship with our largest trading partner and will continue to work closely with China to promote Chinese investment in our state.”
However, the agreement received criticism from Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who accused Andrews of failing to act in the best interest of the nation.
Dutton told reporters in Canberra: “Why does he believe this is in our national interest? Why does he believe it’s in Victoria’s interest?
“I haven’t heard the rationale or the reasoning behind what seemed to be a pretty rushed decision.”
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also criticized the Victorian government for their acceptance of the deal.
During a campaign trip in Queensland, Morrison told reporters he was “surprised that the Victorian government went into that arrangement without any discussions with the commonwealth government at all or taking … any advice … on what is a matter of international relations.”
“They’re the responsibilities of the commonwealth government and I would’ve hoped the Victorian government would’ve taken a more cooperative approach to that process.
“They know full well our policy on those issues and I thought that was not a very cooperative or helpful way to do things on such issues.”
Speaking to 3AW radio, Hiu said she set up the petition to “protect Australia’s interest as well as the people in Hong Kong.”
She told host Neil Mitchell: “I feel like the relationship between Andrews and the Chinese communist regime is very intimate and his ethical leadership qualities are now in question.”