Anger as Defence gives China port clearance

LABOR is demanding Scott Morrison accept Australian Defence Force advice not to reverse Chinese control of Australia’s most northern sea port. 

While calling for a briefing on the matter, Labor defence spokesman Brendan O’Connor this week warned the government not to act against ADF recommendations regarding Darwin Port. 

If Australia’s government and defence experts can’t see any future security issues for Australia with China’s lease, they are in the wrong job…

“If the government acts unilaterally beyond Defence’s advice and intervenes on the Port of Darwin contract, the associated costs and fallout are in the prime minister’s lap,” he said.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese and his shadow foreign minister Penny Wong, who have both been active supporters of Team China, have also demanded briefings.


The Defence Department on Wednesday advised the National Security Committee of cabinet that it had no formal recommendation for government intervention.

The port was controversially handed to Chinese interests on a 99-year lease in 2015 by the then NT Country-Liberal government ­and without federal approval.

Legislation has since been passed by the Morrison government to prevent State and territory governments acting unilaterally on matters of national security.

Ms Wong incorrectly stated on Wednesday that the lease had been undertaken on Mr Morrison’s watch.

Defence’s decision not to act has raised the ire of concerned Australians.

Online commenter Peter Edwards from WA said the advice of so-called defence experts was naive.

“If Australia’s government and defence experts can’t see any security issues for Australia in the future with China’s lease, they are in the wrong job and have definitely not been watching China over the past decade,” he said.

Evonne Moore from SA has suggested the ADF was under the thumb of China.

“The Defence Department has outsourced its IT management to a Chinese company, I’ve been told,” she wrote.

“No wonder the department has no problems with the Chinese government running the port of Darwin.”PC

4 thoughts on “Anger as Defence gives China port clearance

  1. There is a distinct difference between the Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force [ADF]. Think about it.

  2. Labor Senator and former Labor Cabinet Minister Wong is an expert on propaganda and twisting facts to deceive voters. Some might remember her allegations about newly elected Abbott Government MPs expense claims submitted (and approved) but played down that she was Minister for Finance when those expenses were reimbursed. The expenses bunfight ended when Government MPs retaliated and reminded various Labor MPs about their own claims and circumstances behind the expenses.

    However, it is of course fact that when the Northern Territory Government leased the Port of Darwin to Chinese international shipping firm Landbridge (they lease many ports worldwide) the Federal Government had no say in it. However, consider the Terms & Conditions additional to the up front lease payment;

    * Repairs and maintenance of the Port to the account of the lessee for the duration of the lease.
    * Construction of a new passenger ship terminal at the Port and the lessee’s expense.

    Port of Darwin is a small area within the very large Darwin Harbour, why would it be used by spying when there are satellites and various other modern surveillance technology used?

    And if there was a national emergency the Federal Government could take control of ports, export goods, just about anything deemed to be a security risk and/or essential to the nation.

    Probably with due consideration for the changed attitude displayed by China, not only towards Australia, now the port leases, not only Port of Darwin, would have been blocked or legislation passed to enable that to happen?

  3. China wouldn’t outsource one of its ports to us or anyone else. We should break the lease and let China know that we respect their sovereignty and they ours. By the way, I support a one China policy. Taiwan is not our business. Our role as a disinterested international observer should be simply to insist on a peaceful cross-straits dialogue.

    1. Like or don’t like it China remains a major trading partner and Australia’s exports to China alone are a significant source of revenue and contributor to economic prosperity.

      When the Trade Agreement was signed there was a great expectation that China would continue to become a more democratic country as it appeared to be at the time.


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