Morrison turns table on China threat

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has outmanoeuvred China’s trade threats by securing alternate markets for discretionary items – strengthening Australia’s hand dealing with Beijing’s “structural” trade needs. 

In a move described as “smart”, the Prime Minister has made Australia a harder target for Beijing according to defence and security expert Michael Shoebridge. 

Mr Shoebridge, the Director of Defence and National Security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Mr Morrison was attracting international support from countries who faced similar challenges from China. 


“More importantly, he’s making Australia a harder target for China to coerce and pressure,” Mr Shoebridge told Sky News anchor Chris Smith on Wednesday.

Mr Shoebridge.

“This is about finding different kinds of markets. Think about iron ore and other energy & natural resource products. China keeps needing those even more than we want to sell them to them.

“So there is a structural need the Chinese economy has – that’s the last thing Beijing is going to coerce or damage Australia over.”

Mr Shoebridge said it was the non-structural “other things” that China was threatening to hurt Australian trade with.


“Things like barley, dairy products, wine, anything that’s discretionary for Beijing and not something they need to keep themselves running they will coerce us over,” he said.

“As we have already seen, things like foreign students.”

He said it was smart of the Prime Minister to shift away from Chinese markets in those areas and to realise the upper hand Australia has with structural trade such as iron ore and energy.

Mr Shoebridge said he didn’t expect the China/Australia relationship to return to pre-Coronavirus arrangements.

“I think there is a long term difference in our systems of government and the way we run our societies,” he said.

“And unless we want to change our society to look more authoritarian, China’s coercion is going to stay

“European nations are facing the same issue engaging with China – you can hear the Germans and the French talk in very similar ways to the way our government is talking.


“The Japanese, South Koreans and Indians are also thinking this way.”

Mr Shoebridge said the formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue [India, Japan, Australia and America] was quickly seeing closer economic and security ties.

“Any reluctance that these four countries had of working together is evaporating given Beijing’s behaviour,” he said.

“South Korea is part of this picture and remember there is 600m people in South East Asia and most of those live in strong, vibrant democracies including Indonesia.

“So there is a lot of company for us on this pushback on Beijing.”


He said China’s behaviour was pure interference.

“This is all about China reaching in to other countries like we see them interfering in our universities.

“Our universities are censoring free speech just because of Chinese officials’ and state media complaints.

“That kind of reach-in is exactly the problem. If Beijing wasn’t doing that we’d get on much better.”PC

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (courtesy Voice of Action)
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8 thoughts on “Morrison turns table on China threat

  1. Dear Mark F,
    Nobody is blaming Chinese International Students for anything. They are always welcome and they work very hard.
    However, what is worrying, is that our presently high ranking Universities are lowering course pass standards to accommodate those students from many Countries, whose grasp of the English language is not good enough to successfully undertake a particular Course or Degree.
    This does not bode well for our Universities or for any students!

  2. No Steven, Dictator Dan sold it some time ago and signed up to the Communist Chinese Party’s Belts and Roads ‘Initiative’!

  3. AND I forgot to mention our own further horrible example of Chinese influence and political intervention, – Dictator Dan signing up to the insidious Chinese ‘Belts and Roads’ Initiative, a plan essentially to leave third-world Countries economically in debt to China. And with our massive Government handouts still flowing out like the Ganges in full flood, – who can tell where our economic future is headed?

    Dan has enough stuff-ups on his plate. I’d suggest he quietly pulls out of this further one before the 2018 Laws are applied to his hugely inept Government!

  4. The U.S. and Australia have painfully woken up and Britain is now having a tortuous awakening, ‘to the fact that large chunks of their societies have fallen under the sway of a foreign force with truly malicious intentions’ (Spectator, 1/8, ‘The influence Game’), by sending a million spying, dominating tentacles snaking into every sphere of influence in these societies.

    Britain is now wondering what can be done about the thousands of high-profile elites, politicians, academics and business leaders who have been so comprehensively brought by the highly successful Chinese Communist Party programme called the ‘United Front’ which, as well as suppressing minorities, transfers technology from abroad and recruits supporters for the CCP’s strategic aims through cash, free trips to China, persuasion and blackmail the world over, including of course Australia. Beijing’s ‘Thousand Talents Plan’ is similarly spreading its tentacles by recruiting and ‘buying’ foreign researchers and scientists world-wide.

    It’s great our now fully awake and aware Federal Government passed laws in 2018, defining foreign interference and criminalising covert and coercive activities, but for full and urgent disclosure to occur, we MUST devote SERIOUS RESOURCES to this problem of taking on such programmes and plans as the United Front and Thousand Talents.

    Every thinking Australian must now be aware and loudly protest that we CANNOT allow the CCP’s truly rampant infiltration of our UNIVERSITIES, or of our technology, research or security, it must STOP. Also, our Government must now STOP further takeover of our precious farming land; I’m already sickened by the fact that the CCP have now purchased huge interests in our vital water resources.

    However, while rapidly diversifying our trade links, we must still maintain our vital trade with China and maintain strictly polite, mature relations with this adolescent giant. Of course we must condemn their shocking bullying, their flagrant, illegal expansions and repugnant human rights abuses, but we can show great respect for their huge economic progress, while always demonstrating an immovable resolve to protect OUR interests, OUR Students, OUR Citizens, OUR Resources, OUR Country.

    Scott Morrison and his Team are getting so much right, but we Citizens MUST keep a vigilant watch and forcefully and frequently remind our Government to step it up!

  5. I admire Australia for finally standing up to the bully. There are economic costs but it will pay off in the long run.

  6. I don’t think The Chinese international students can actually force universities to lower their standards, to me its more likely the universities are been Greedy and lowered their standards themselves so that they can attract more students and more money, don’t simply use China or Chinese people as an easy blame of Australia’s problems, that’s true racism at play.

  7. The Prime Minister is a realist. He knows getting around China is a far better strategy than a full frontal attack. It’s a serious situation that requires wisdom not nonsense.

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