Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
25 September 2020
The Australian Values Alliance (AVA) is an advocacy NGO aspiring to safeguard and promote Australian core values which are universal values including freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, equality and tolerance.
We wholeheartedly support the proposed Australia’s Foreign Relations (States and Territory Agreements) Bill 2020. We firmly believe this is timely legislation to deal with some serious challenges facing Australia.
Over the past three decades Australia’s Foreign Relations have been exposed to excessive liabilities where state, territory, local councils and public universities reached agreements detrimental to Australian national interests and foreign policies with foreign government entities. Some foreign powers, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in particular, have taken advantage of the democratic federal system and open society of Australia to damage Australian national interests and undermine the core democratic values and institutional integrity of Australia. Through its United Front operations, which rely on proven divide and conquer tactics to split up opponents and achieve desirable political outcomes, the Chinese communist regime has established extensive networks in government, business, education and media in Australia to advance its interests and political agendas at the expense of Australian human rights standards, democratic values, fair rules and social cohesion. It is absolutely necessary for Australia to take a consistent approach to foreign engagement across all levels of Australian government at this critical time of great uncertainty.
We strongly recommend:
· To revoke The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the State of Victoria of Australia and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, signed in October 2018. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multifaceted economic, diplomatic and geopolitical undertaking to shape the international order and international narrative about the Chinese communist regime by controlling infrastructure, deepening economic dependence, weaponising business partnerships and silencing voices critical of the CCP’s human rights violation at home and its bullying policies abroad.
· To cancel the contract signed by the Northern Territory government in 2015 to lease the Port of Darwin (now known as Darwin Port) for 99 years to Landbridge Australia, a subsidiary of Shandong Landbridge which has strong ties to the CCP and substantial interests including port logistics and petrochemicals. This business deal is also part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
· To terminate all agreements with and to close down all Confucius Institutes in Australia. Confucius Institutes are set up through partnerships between an Australian university, and Chinese university which is accountable to the Propaganda Department of the CCP in ideological affairs, and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), an organisation directly under China’s Ministry of Education. Under Chinese laws and regulations, Confucius Institutes are obligated to carry out political tasks of the CCP in support of its United Front operations. Allowing CCP propaganda and United Front institutions to operate on Australian university campuses has done great damages to the basic principle of academic freedom and institutional integrity of education in Australia.
——The Australian Values Alliance (AVA)