After it was reported in the Daily Telegraph that embattled Labor Senator Sam Dastyari had questioned Australian Defence officials 115 times in Senate Estimates over matters relating to China it has renewed pressure on Labor leader Bill Shorten to rule out the possibility that Dastyari can ever return to the frontbench.
Shorten refused to do so only saying that Dastyari’s career was ‘going nowhere fast’. The Turnbull Government has now taken the step of referring Dastyari to the Senate privileges committee over the latest relations about his dealings with Chinese government aligned businessman Huang Xiangmo. They reiterated their call for Dastyari to resign from parliament altogether.
However Bill Shorten added a new dimension to his defence of Sam Dastyari by playing the race card, claiming that in the government’s pursuit of Dastyari displayed Chinaphobia “I just caution the government: make your political points about Sam Dastyari, but let us not (harm) our relationship with China and start engaging in Chinaphobia.”
It should be noted that the Chinaphobia Bill Shorten refers to is not related to the fact that the government of China is made up of Chinese people but is made up of communists. Last time I checked communism is not race and we are entitled to fear communism given its bloody and brutal history. Communismphobia is well founded.
China’s recent actions in the South China Sea are proving a threat to freedom of navigation of neighbouring nations. Many minorities are still persecuted by the Chinese government and we know through our security agencies that China is seeking to influence the domestic policy of Australia. Therefore it is certainly appropriate that our federal government maintain a level of suspicion about the actions and motives of the Chinese government.
It is also interesting to note that Bill Shorten made these remarks on the campaign trial in Bennelong with Labor’s candidate Kristina Kennelly. Bennelong is a seat which has a high Chinese population, he was basically subtly stating to these voters that the Turnbull Government is being racist against you.
This takes the Chinese voters in Bennelong for mugs, just because they are members of the Chinese race does not automatically mean that they are sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party. In fact, quite the contrary, many have chosen Australia as their home to escape the tyranny of the Chinese Government and in fact frown upon our governments having a close relationship with China.
You know that when someone plays the race card it means they are getting pretty desperate. How long and Bill Shorten willing to continue to defend Sam Dastyari? As today’s revelations demonstrated the damning evidence of Dastyari’s improper conduct keeps growing.
Maybe Bill Shorten does want to cut Dastyari loose, anyone with sound political judgement would but he is too hamstrung by Labor’s factional arrangements. But Bill Shorten will have to make a better defence than the made-up term of Chinaphobia.