Liberal MP warns China could threaten Australia's freedoms

Elias Hubbard
August 8, 2019

China has warned comments by a federal government backbencher comparing the nation's rise to Nazi Germany are detrimental to diplomatic relations.

Conservative Liberal Party lawmaker Andrew Hastie's column published on Thursday in The Age newspaper in which he drew parallels between China and Nazi Germany has been described in the media as the strongest condemnation of China by any member of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's coalition.

Andrew Hastie, the chair of parliament's powerful security and intelligence committee, says Australia will face its biggest democratic, economic and security test over the next decade as China and the United States compete for global dominance.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia said in a statement that Australian lawmaker Andrew Hastie had a "Cold-War mentality and ideological bias".

Morrison said that Hastie "is not a minister in the government" and - while he is free to speak as a backbencher - the Australian government will continue to balance its relationship with the U.S. and China.

Australia has also protested the arrest of a Chinese-Australian writer in China and expressed reservations about the expansion of Chinese technology company Huawei and its involvement in the development of 5G technology networks.

"The next decade will test our democratic values, our economy, our alliances and our security like no other time in Australian history".

"It goes against the world trend of peace, cooperation and development", the statement added.

Australia's relationship with its biggest trading partner has been in the spotlight this week, following the Ausmin meeting between U.S. and Australian ministers to discuss security priorities.

Mr Morrison did not support or criticise Mr Hastie's views but noted he was "not a minister" and was free express opinions as a backbench MP.

Beijing said it deplored Mr Hastie's feedback and his "Chilly Battle mentality".

He said, "In World War Two, France had failed to appreciate the "evolution of mobile warfare", believing its defences would guard again the German advance in 1940. Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbor has become".

'This kind of intervention makes that harder, not easier, ' he told ABC Radio National.

Hastie added that Australia has failed to recognize the role of Communist ideology in China's geopolitical strategy of infrastructure building in the Asia-Pacific region, just as Western countries had failed to understand Stalin's Communist motivations.

"We must be intellectually honest and take the Chinese leadership at its word", he wrote of President Xi Jinping's speeches referencing Marxist-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought.

While China and Australia are major trading partners, their relationship has deteriorated in recent years over Australia's concerns that Beijing is influencing its domestic affairs.

"That intellectual failure makes us institutionally weak".

"Our sovereignty, our freedoms, will be diminished".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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