Gang of Four

Gang of Four – An opinion piece by Tshung Chang

“Should China one day become a superpower that bullies, invades and exploits people everywhere, then the world should expose it, oppose it and defeat it.” former paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) speech at the UN, 1974.

More recently former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) in April 2011 reiterated Deng’s promise that China would never seek hegemony. “We are not yet a developed country,” he said on the eve of a visit to Malaysia and Indonesia. “And even when China becomes a developed country one day, China will never seek hegemony.”

Yet in Australia we have the Gang of Four (Julie Bishop, Mathias Cormann, Malcolm Turnbull and Andrew Robb) who are hell bent on aiding and abetting bullies. The Gang of Four has plenty of reserve members including Dan Andrews, John Brumby, Bob Carr, Sam Dastyari, Alexander Downer, John Hewson, Gladys Liu (廖嬋娥), Eric Roozendaal, Penny Wong (黄英賢) and Pierre Yang (楊帅). Special mention is deserved by Kevin Rudd (陸克文) who in 1996 in his employed capacity as Secretary of the Australia Taiwan Business Council visited Taiwan with Council President Maurice Newman AC and Nationals Leader John Anderson. Kevin was quick to jump ship when it suited him politically.

Julie Bishop

I have written previously about Ms. Bishop’s appalling record as Foreign Minister – see my post 15 May 2020 “We are all at risk”. She was close to Chinese national Xiangmo Huang (黄向墨) and managed to elicit a large share of Mr. Huang’s gigantic influence-buying political donations. In total, Mr. Huang had donated $1.7 million to Liberal, Labor and the Nationals before having his Australian visa cancelled on “character grounds”.

Another Chinese citizen and donor Sally Zou (邹莎) famously established the “Glorious Foundation” in Ms. Bishop’s honour and was at one time the largest donor to the South Australian Liberal Party.

Shortly before Ms Bishop’s announcement that she would not contest the 2019 Federal Election, a $50,000 donation was made to the WA Liberal Party by elderly Chinese industrialist and manufacturing mogul Sun Kin Chao (孫建超). Days later one of his Australian business associates was appointed to a powerful diplomatic advisory board (Australia-China Council) by Julie Bishop.

Ms Bishop’s “calm and considered diplomacy” also prolonged by many months the time four Crown Resorts’ Australian employees spent in detention in China. By contrast a Crown Resorts American employee was let out on immediate bail after intervention by the US Secretary of State.

Mathias Cormann

Mathias Cormann had criticised as “clumsy and inappropriate” Andrew Hastie’s comments that compared the west’s response to China with inadequate defences against Nazi Germany.

Hastie had warned that Australia had “failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become”, comparing the belief that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China to France’s defences against Germany in the 1930s, which “failed catastrophically”.

When records surfaced that Liberal backbencher Gladys Liu (廖嬋娥) was a member of two provincial chapters of the China Overseas Exchange Association between 2003 and 2015, Mathias Cormann said Ms. Liu had the Government’s full support despite her alleged links to the Chinese Government.

Having initially said she “cannot recall” being a member of either group, Ms Liu later confirmed she held an honorary role with Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association in 2011. ASIO had earlier advised then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull not to attend an event, based on the guest list, which Ms Liu had arranged in Melbourne.

Malcolm Turnbull

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was the champion pusher of a Australia-China Extradition Treaty. Mr. Turnbull described the treaty as an important part of Australia’s co-operation with China on law enforcement.

One of Turnbull biggest regrets during his prime ministerships 2015-2018 was never getting a red carpet invitation to visit China. He did everything to kowtow to the Chinese. President Trump on the other hand held his ground, put USA first and scored the most extravagant state visit ever.

Andrew Robb

Former trade minister Andrew Robb sold out Australia when he negotiated the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). His sole objective was to get “one crumb” more than what New Zealand had achieved in their FTA with China. This gave China a massive advantage. Shockingly Mr. Robb received $100,000 in a political donation from Chinese national Xiangmo Huang (黄向墨) the day the FTA was inked. After quitting as trade minister, he walked straight in to a $880,000 per annum consultancy with Chinese firm Landgate who had just acquired the Port of Darwin lease.

All members of the gang of four are highly paid by the Australian taxpayer or have lucrative parliamentary pensions.

It’s about time that they started acting in Australia’s best interest?

West Australians, please write today to your State and Federal parliamentarians. Ask for a commitment to put the interests of our State and our Nation ahead of the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. And please send to me at a copy of each parliamentarian’s reply. This is a battle we need to win.

Picture (Clockwise top left): Mathias Cormann, Malcolm Turnbull, Andrew Robb & Julie Bishop — feeling thoughtful.