Monday, 21 October 2019
Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019, Customs Tariff Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019; Consideration in Detail
I come from North Queensland. About quarter of our population have Chinese somewhere in their family tree. Our KAP member of parliament, Nick Dametto, in Townsville in fact falls into that category. The wife of my best friend Robbie Gough, a famous country music singer, is similar. I could go on. We are not anti-China, but we don't grovel or bend the knee.
For those who read history books, the Order of the Knights of St John on Malta said, 'We're going to stop the Ottoman Empire.' Seven hundred knights are going to stop the Ottoman Empire, which had 245,000 of the best armed troops the world has ever seen! They dragged in 8,000 Maltese, gave them a sword and tried to teach them how to do something with a sword. The history books read that the Knights of St John won. They beat those 245,000. Little England faced off against the combined might of Italy and effectively Spain and most certainly France, Germany and Russia. Were they going to bend the knee? No. They said, 'We're going to stand up strong, and we will defend our island.' We all know who won that one. There is also a little country called Israel. You don't have to grovel if you stand strong. If you stand strong, then you will be respected and you will help those people in China get a better deal than they are getting at the moment.
The member for Melbourne is dead right on this. Do we have any moral principles in this place? Clearly there are people being persecuted by a country who has, for the first time in recent history, a leader for life. The boss of the Chinese government has declared himself leader forever, for life. Do we applaud this? Do we stand aside and say, 'We're not going to make a moral stand here'? If you're standing up strong, then what about the VIP countries? We keep forgetting about them—Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. They're going to stand up strong if they know some other people are going to stand up strong. We're not being aggressive, but we want the people of China to get a fair go and to be progressive and get the right to be progressive. I applaud the stand taken by the member for Melbourne.