We should be worried about Huawei – not playing down their role in China

While trashing Labor’s Digital Industry Act, the federal Liberals need to remember what they promised when they won government. They promised that corporations would have to adhere to Australian law, to human rights laws,…

We should be worried about Huawei – not playing down their role in China

While trashing Labor’s Digital Industry Act, the federal Liberals need to remember what they promised when they won government.

They promised that corporations would have to adhere to Australian law, to human rights laws, and to internationally recognised security requirements.

They promised to address and roll back the harmful practice of foreign political interference, through the creation of a new counter-intelligence agency and robust global telecommunications standards. They pledged that our journalism and media would be free from government threats to access and control data.

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They promised to strengthen the Privacy Act in order to prevent hackers, the business of industrial espionage and industrial sabotage, and other forms of cyber-crime. And they promised that the Turnbull government would lead the fight against violent extremism.

The Liberal party’s big social and economic reforms would create jobs, fix the economy, and keep people safe. They promised to put the poorest people in society at the heart of Australia’s economy and politics.

What they couldn’t do, as revealed in the hard-hitting Fairfax Media Crikey story earlier this week, was follow through on promised action against Big Tech’s use of Australian citizens and Australians’ data.

To add insult to injury, when one senior government figure expressed concerns about the role of Singapore’s state-owned internet firm in driving smaller Australian startups to the negotiating table – and sending a signal that Australia may now be the “get out of jail free” card for the Chinese investor – and when another government figure said that we should withdraw from APEC discussions to send a strong message to China about growing tension in the South China Sea – Malcolm Turnbull replied by saying that he was “not overly concerned” about the technology giant Huawei being involved in the Bay Area tech hub.

This Australia government treats Chinese Chinese tech firms with kid gloves, clearly believing their presence would ease tensions between China and the west.

Which, as John Oliver recently pointed out in a remarkable satirical polemic, would be a blatant misreading of history.

Since the end of the cold war, there has been a sprawling fight over the future of humanity. Each side is painting the other as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as if collective international decision-making will turn out the lights and set you free.

We have moved from a situation where great power states looked to one another as partners, to a world where one nation is expanding and coercing lesser nations and other power sources to pay up, or be destroyed.

Recently there has been a massive push by the Chinese government to gain legitimacy as an empire state. Attempts to increase control and power over resources and technologies have been made and expanded.

With increasing ambitions to be number one, China is banking its future on the assumption that all people want to live in a communist paradise.

This means that the new Party line is to make their manufacturing factories look as modern as possible. It means there will be no electric cars, hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell cars. Instead, they will continue to manufacture gasoline engines as long as they can. It means they will keep manipulating the global reserve currency, the dollar, in order to boost the value of their goods, and to control and monetise the growth of their debt.

The Chinese model of capitalism seems less and less a model for prosperity for a global economy, and more and more a model for the unchecked dominance of the one percent.

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It will always require human sacrifice to suppress and protect the interests of the 1%. It will always require war.

It requires what it calls “decisive force” to crush potential enemies.

It requires a solution of wide-ranging economic advantages to further consolidate its global economic dominance.

Australia has a choice. On August 1, 2020, the Turnbull government will come to power for a third term. Can it uphold the values of its own newly constructed Liberal party, or does it play them down in the pursuit of its own ambitions and amends to the policies that worked so well to give it a second term in 2015?

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