What are we to make of this: Labor Treasurer Tim Pallas lashes out at Morrison government as China deal deadline looms? Where is our economy heading?
Victoria is locked in critical final-stage negotiations with Beijing over investments worth billions of dollars at the same time as its Treasurer has savaged the Morrison government’s “vilification” of China over trade and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tim Pallas’s pro-China intervention comes as the deadline for Victoria to sign an “investment road map”, which ties the state to the communist giant with extraordinarily cosy language, is just weeks away.
Under Victoria’s decision to sign-up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative — in defiance of federal government security advice — key investment details are meant to be signed by the middle of 2020 following completion of a draft road map in March.
The looming deadline emerged as the Andrews government dodged parliamentary questions on Wednesday about whether any of the state’s $24bn coronavirus rescue package would be borrowed from China.
The “framework agreement” underpinning the Victoria-China deal was signed by Premier Daniel Andrews and Vice-Chairman Ning Jizhe of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on October 23 last year.
The document raises the possibility that Mr Pallas’s unprecedented backing of Beijing in its row with the Morrison government over the global coronavirus pandemic investigation was motivated by protecting the Belt and Road Initiative.
What’s in it for Australia? What is the quid pro quo? I thought such deals had to be approved by the Federal Government? Have they? Will they? Should they?