Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has called on Liberal leaders Premier Will Hodgman and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discipline Tasmanian state Liberal Minister Rene Hidding, who inferred yesterday there were racist undertones in her stance against the sale of Van Diemens Land (VDL) Company to a Chinese company.
“Yesterday during the debate surrounding the sale of VDL, we saw the same kind of sly, dishonest, cheap political shots that were leveled at opponents, (including myself) of the China Free Trade Agreement.
"These low personal criticisms from Liberal politicians are simply designed to shut down debate and limit public scrutiny of investment from China, which a ABC Four Corners report found is very different and dangerous from investment from democratic countries like Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and America,” Senator Lambie said.
“Liberal politicians especially, are quick to use the race card and personal attacks in these debates, in order to cover up what the ABC Four Corners report found, namely that:
There are hidden dangers in doing business with China: endemic corruption; a lack of transparency in both business and the legal system, and questions about where the money is coming from and whether ill-gotten gains are being laundered.
“Liberal Politicians like Tasmanian MP Rene Hidding don’t want a critical public debate and investigation of foreign investment money that is linked to China and the Chinese communist government for a couple of important reasons:
"Firstly, the Australian Electoral Commission records and credible media investigations clearly show that since 2007-08 to present day, businessmen with strong links to the Chinese communist government have been responsible for approximately $5 million of political donations to the Liberals, National and Labor Parties,'' Senator Lambie said.
See my speech on trade with China here.
"The Liberals want to cover up and are embarrassed by the influence the Chinese communist government and prominent business people linked to them, have on Liberal’s political policy, ” Senator Lambie said.
"Secondly, the Liberals know that on their watch, the Foreign Investment Review Board system has failed to protect Australian prime agricultural land from improper foreign control and our national interest.
"They also want to cover up the fact that they have failed to fix a dangerous flaw and loophole in our FIRB.
"That flaw was highlighted in an ABC investigation, which said:
Four Corners reports the Foreign Investment Review Board deems the issue of dirty money to be outside its scope of responsibility.
Two former board members have confirmed concerns about offshore corruption are rarely discussed, even though $US1.25 trillion worth of corrupt and criminal proceeds from China is estimated to have been spent around the world in the decade to 2012. And
But Raymond Baker from Washington DC's Global Financial Integrity says ignorance could cost Australia.
RAYMOND BAKER: A lot of governments don't want to ask the questions, they simply want the money flowing in. Well, I'm sorry, you do that and you expose yourself to a great many risks, not only in your own country, but you're also damaging the countries out of which that money is coming. "For the Liberals who accuse me of discrimination – I have this answer – Yes, I am guilty of discrimination! I proudly discriminate on the basis of whether you support democratic values and our rule of law - or not,” Senator Lambie said.
“I’ll discriminate against any company who comes from a country that’s not democratic. It’s wrong for this Liberal Government and their FIRB to treat companies from New Zealand, Japan or South Korea - the same as companies from China.
"Higher standards and more questions have to be asked by our government of Chinese companies, simply because their country is not democratic and doesn’t respect our rule of law, or have our standards, when it comes to corporate accountability or integrity,” Senator Lambie said.