A royal commission into Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence is needed if Australia is to protect its sovereignty, Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi and Victorian Senate candidate Kevin Bailey told the Australian Conservatives Victorian State Conference last weekend.
The Epoch Times reports, Senator Bernardi expressed deep concerns regarding the CCP’s influence in Australia’s domestic affairs, “We do know that Chinese Communist Party agents are trying to work within our electorate system, work within our political system, our education system, and within our business system to have influence on Australia’s domestic affairs. Now we need to get to the bottom of it, quite frankly,” he said.
Australia’s new foreign interference laws, which took effect this year, have placed restrictions and enforced transparency for people and organisations that have links to a foreign state. These range from a public register for people and organisations acting on behalf of a foreign agent, to the banning of foreign political donations.
However, obvious organisations of concern, such as the Confucius Institutes that are run under the CCP’s Ministry of Education as a Chinese culture and language program, have yet to register as required by the new legislation.
“Their position sets up a potential showdown with the government, which could seek to use newfound powers to probe the centres and forcibly register them,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Kevin Bailey said: “[The BRI] seems to have the tentacles of the Communist Party of China reaching out into a whole range of other countries, and debt, and providing credit and facilities.
Mr Bailey added that Australia, much like other countries, is headed towards acquiring massive debts with China. He said that if Australia loses hold of its security, then by default, it “would lose a part of its sovereignty.”
“One of the things we don’t want in this region is for Australia to become a patronage stage of China.”
Other concerns regarding foreign control and ownership include Darwin Port (formerly known as the Port of Darwin), with its 99-year-lease to Landbridge, owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng who is also a member of the National Chinese People’s Consultative Committee that seeks to advance the CCP’s BRI policy.
Additionally, China-based companies and their control over Australia’s energy grids, communication networks, and farming land are likely to have long term implications for Australia’s sovereignty.
“… there are literally thousands and thousands of Australians who are concerned about these very real issues,” Mr Bailey said.
“[Australians] need to be awakened to the real and present danger of the destruction of our sovereignty, if we allow this to continue on. We just don’t know how deep these tentacles go. The only way to get to the bottom of this is to have a Royal Commission,” he concluded.
Last August, Senator Bernardi told the Senate of the urgency of calling a royal commission into Chinese Communist Government influence in Australia.