When the Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie, rose last week to warn, under parliamentary privilege, of the encroachment on Australian democracy by foreign interests, Labor legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus piously told the media that Hastie had misused privilege to disclose a classified security briefing given him by the Americans, and that he, Dreyfus would never have done such a thing, oh goodness no.
Others in Labor took up the line that an Australian citizen had been deprived of the right to be considered innocent before being proved guilty. Leftist sections of the media adopted the same line, particularly after Labor made it a key front in its question time attacks.
Hastie warned of the threat to freedom of speech by the media posed by an Australian citizen of Chinese background, referred to by the Americans as ‘C3’, Mr Chau Chak Wing, an Australian citizen by naturalisation.
Although an Australian citizen, Chau lives mostly in his fiefdom in Guangzhou, (despite in 2015 paying $70 million for James Packer’s Vaucluse mansion La Mer, only to knock it down) where he allowed Fairfax reporter John Garnaut an interview. According to Clive Hamilton’s book Silent Invasion, Garnaut was offered, post-interview, a family holiday, French wines and a job, but when another of Garnaut’s articles were published in 2016, Chau sued Fairfax Media for defamation, the case now before the courts.
Hamilton tells how Chau was a magnanimous benefactor to Australian universities, donating $20 million to UTS, where his son Eric studied architecture, to build the Frank Gehry-designed new wing; the Vice-Chancellor of UTS discreetly offered Eric the opportunity to fly to Los Angles to a private meeting with Gehry himself.
It wasn’t only universities and the Australian War Memorial that benefitted from Chau’s largesse. Since 2007 he has given some $2.9 million to the Liberals and $1.7 million to Labor, according to Hamilton. In 2015 he donated some $860,000 mainly to the Liberals, including $200,000 to Julie Bishop’s WA branch.
Interestingly, Chau comes from the same Chaozhou region of Guangdong in southern China, as Huang Xiangmo, whose financial assistance to Sam Dastyari brought the former senator into disrepute. Both multi-billionaires have strong links to the Chinese Communist Party.
Hastie’s warning – sensibly he had not revealed to his leader his plans, the best soldiers must sometimes go beyond their orders – came just in time.
Hastie is more trusted by the Americans than Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, who is viewed by some in DC as being too captive to her pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, Departmental chiefs.
Hastie is a stand-out a patriot and soldier, qualities deeply ingrained in the American psyche. So who better to deliver a warning, passed on by an ally, of the danger of foreign interference?
It’s interesting to wonder if, instead of betraying a confidential briefing, as Labor has disingenuously hinted and the leftist media amplified, the opposite was true, and that Hastie was delivering a warning that was best heard in an Australian accent?
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