Federal MP Pushes for ‘China Inquiry’ on Australian Trade Relations

May 13, 2020 Updated: May 17, 2020

Queensland-based member of Parliament, George Christensen, has allegedly bypassed colleagues to send a letter to the Canberra-based Chinese ambassador on May 13, inviting the embassy to make submissions to the recently established “China Inquiry.”

The federal member for Dawson, Christensen was a major driver for establishing the Inquiry into Diversifying Australia’s Trade and Investment Profile, dubbed the “China Inquiry” which will look into whether Australia is too reliant on one trading partner for exports and whether it relies too heavily on foreign investment.

Federal colleagues allegedly did not approve the letter being sent; however, Christensen later sent the letter on his own behalf, addressing it to ambassador Cheng Jingye.

His letter made note of the ambassador’s comments regarding a boycott of Australian goods by Chinese people, and the regime’s actions affecting local barley and beef exports.

“Given this, you may consider appearing before a future hearing of the inquiry to explain the current policies and attitude of the PRC regarding its economic relationship with Australia,” he wrote in the letter.

Epoch Times Photo
Member for Dawson George Christensen speaks in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on Feb. 18, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

The deadline for public submissions is April 9, 2020.

Christensen has been an outspoken critic of Australia’s economic reliance on China. In a May 12 sitting of Parliament, he said Australia was at a “crossroads” and it could either give in to the communist regime’s “threats,” or it could stand up for its “sovereignty and economic independence.”

He emphasised the inquiry was designed to give the Australian public an opportunity to have their say on the matter.

“With more than 36 percent of our exports being sold to China, representing 7.9 percent of GDP, it’s clear we have put too many eggs in the one basket,” he said.

“China now owns over 9.1 million hectares of our country: farms, factories, airports, resort islands, seaports, wind farms, solar farms and coalmines.”

“They own more water than there is in Sydney Harbour—water that should be in the hands of Aussie farmers,” he said.

Christensen said being “entangled” with the regime has left Australia open to “economic blackmail and boycotts.”

His calls echo fellow Liberal Party colleague, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells who told The Epoch Times, Australia’s “over-reliance” on the Chinese economy would be “weaponised” by the Chinese communist regime to influence the nation’s long-term interests.

She said on May 11, Australia needed to rely less on China and develop its own manufacturing base for “strategic goods and services” including medical and pharmaceutical equipment.

She said Australia imported from China—telecom equipment, computers, furniture, refined petroleum, children’s goods, sporting goods, and textiles, demonstrating the country’s dependence on China, however it also highlighted “the enormous scope for greater self–reliance” in the future.