The university as nursery for espionage? Nah. Couldn’t happen.

MICHELLE Grattan asks if the Feds have the legal authority to oversee state agreements with foreign governments like China’s. The short answer: yes. “Universities, however, are another matter,” she insists. A professorial fellow at the University of Canberra, Grattan characterises as a “step too far” the “seizing” of the external affairs power to judge arrangements that universities make with foreign powers. Their leaders are true-blue, after all.

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27 Responses to The university as nursery for espionage? Nah. Couldn’t happen.

  1. Clam Chowdah

    So, just as people shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless they pay more in taxes than they receive from the state, so too no one should be allowed to be a journalist until they have had some other career until the age of 40.

  2. Tim Neilson

    Does anyone recall even one single instance when they’ve been better informed about anything as a result of reading anything by Michelle Grattan? No doubt there are other “journalists” as useless as her, but there can’t be anyone actually worse.
    Remember that while Hawkie was knobbing her she was part of his cheer squad but the moment he dumped her she started vilifying him. She’s never had the slightest degree of credibility with anyone in possession of a brain cell.

  3. HT

    Universities are well known infiltration point for FIA’s. They have been subjected to counter-intel for many, many years. Suppose the Federal government just got tired of doing it quietly, and maybe there’s a bit of “Look over there! Forget about how we totally fucked up the Covid response by a massive over-reach”

    Is anyone really surprised by Sharri Markison’s recent scoop about China’s “A Thousand Flower program” or whatever it’s called, just before this legislation is spruiked? Really, your surprised by either, the spying, the counter spying, the purchase of academics and/or burnishing their egos in exchange for technology, or a deliberate drop by a government seeking to explain an otherwise inexplicable policy announcement. Ummm…

  4. Professor Fred Lenin

    Spies in universities ? Spying for communist China by local university communists ,nah ,no way .
    I remember reading about Cambridge University in the 1930s ,Philby ,Burgess Mclean ,Blunt ,Cairncross etc etc a nest of indoctrinted Soviet communist spies ,taught by marxist lecturers and professors ,a branch of the KGB in England .
    It couldnt happen here could it ! Not with 1000s ofChinese national s i the universities .

  5. Snoopy

    FFS, someone give Michelle Gratten a cat.

  6. a reader

    I have a vague recollection of the Petrov Affair revelations including something about ANU staffers. If it wasn’t Petrov is was one of the ASIO cases of the 50s or 60s.

    If it could happen at Cambridge, it could easily happen here. In fact I’m sure it did.

  7. Squirrel

    Yes, it’s shockingly dangerous over-reach for the commonwealth government to use its external affairs power to deal with external affairs issues, but it’s quite OK to use the external affairs power to venture deeply into areas not assigned to the commonwealth under the constitution.

  8. HT

    Squirrel
    #3564530, posted on August 29, 2020 at 9:13 pm
    Yes, it’s shockingly dangerous over-reach for the commonwealth government to use its external affairs power to deal with external affairs issues, but it’s quite OK to use the external affairs power to venture deeply into areas not assigned to the commonwealth under the constitution.

    The collection and denial of Foreign Intelligence is an external affair, University or kindergarten, hell, it’s the one time where your bedroom peccadilloes can be a “foreign affair” (not your bedroom “moves”, but an affair itself can be used, for example, to blackmail people). Srsly.

    If its foreign intelligence, it’s the Federal Governments business. States may only have domestic intelligence collection and analysis powers. As a general rule, states may only develop criminal / law enforcement intelligence capabilities whereas Federal Government deals with trans-national issues, and are (generally) prohibited from engaging in a domestic law enforcement action.

    See, Constitutional separation works just fine 😉

  9. candy

    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence.

  10. mareeS

    MG is approaching Bidenesque in her dotage.

  11. HT

    candy
    #3564569, posted on August 29, 2020 at 9:55 pm
    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence.

    I don’t know what colour government leased the port for 99 years, but whichever it was, it was a State/Territory government. State and Territories aren’t involved or briefed on foreign affairs, and they were probably just too stupid to see the risk. The Fed govt at the time was Labor, right (I don’t know), but whoever it was wasn’t watching a minor actor sell out a major asset. They won’t make that mistake again.

  12. jupes

    Scott Morrison is starting to talk the talk but he is a long way from walking the walk.

    When he bans Confuscious centres from our unis. I’ll start to take him seriously. I won’t hold my breath.

  13. John A

    HT #3564588, posted on August 29, 2020, at 10:30 pm

    candy #3564569, posted on August 29, 2020, at 9:55 pm

    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence?

    I don’t know what colour government leased the port for 99 years, but whichever it was, it was a State/Territory government. State and Territories aren’t involved or briefed on foreign affairs, and they were probably just too stupid to see the risk. The Fed govt at the time was Labor, right (I don’t know), but whoever it was wasn’t watching a minor actor sell out a major asset. They won’t make that mistake again.

    If you look at Wikipedia you will find that Newcastle was also sold to Chinese interests (in a consortium) by the NSW Baird government.

    Apparently same flavour (ie not-ALP).

    The so-called conservative side of politics keeps reminding me of this, often attributed to Albert Einstein:
    “I believe there to be two infinite substances in the Universe – hydrogen and stupidity. However, I am less confident about the first.”

  14. HT

    I’m no fan of any flavour government ATM John. They are absorbed by being in power as opposed to governing maturely and/or in Australian interest. We can’t even have a debate about very important, pressing issues.

    But, a democracy gets the democracy they vote for, so ultimately it’s our own collective fault.

    There is however an important strategic difference between a port in Newcastle and a port in Darwin though. Wouldn’t surprise me if no one cared about Newcastle from defence perspective any more than say, selling a water right to a Chinese consortium. Deeply unpopular with Australians, but they can’t actually take the water to China.

  15. Crossie

    Only an educated idiot like Michelle Grattan can think the federal government cannot rein in universities which it funds.

    I think the Chinese communist government may be regretting unleashing the Wuhan flu on the world. Some of the side effects have been the unmasking of their most nefarious activities and a growth in animosity from world populations. Unintended consequences will get them where it hurts.

  16. Herodotus

    ANU the Labor Grey Havens.

  17. Herodotus

    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence.

    Why do the Libs persist with idiotic wind and solar favouritism and bow to the climate madness if they have our interests at heart?

  18. H B Bear

    Mrs Magoo, the original frightbat.

  19. H B Bear

    Perhaps the ALPBC is so used to being funded without any government oversight they think more institutions should enjoy that freedom?

  20. H B Bear

    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence.

    Why do the Lieborals even exist?

  21. Hay Stockard

    Our Universities have gone to the dogs some time ago. Stop funding them. That will settle this problem.

  22. Geezus, if any country is worried about FIA infiltration, the first places, the very first places you look into are universities. Every time and all the time.

    After journalists and politicians, perfessers are the lowest form of life (not all not all not all, there are always exceptions).

  23. old bloke

    HT
    #3564588, posted on August 29, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    candy
    #3564569, posted on August 29, 2020 at 9:55 pm
    Why did the Libs sell the Port of Darwin to a Chinese group then if they are so worried about Chinese influence.

    I don’t know what colour government leased the port for 99 years, but whichever it was, it was a State/Territory government.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s Federal Liberal Government, Andrew Robb was the Trade Minister who was responsible, then he resigned his seat and took up a “consultancy” for $880,000 pa with the Chinese.

  24. Alex

    Has to be Quote of the Week
    Snoopy
    #3564494, posted on August 29, 2020 at 8:26 pm
    FFS, someone give Michelle Gratten a cat.
    Yes, but you would feel sorry for the cat.

    But seriously this woman? is teaching the next wave of journalists, sorry twitters or do I mean twits, how to be leftist, opinion setting, narcissistic, brain dead idiots.

  25. IRFM

    Darwin and Newcastle ports were sold under the LNP to a China that was somewhat more benevolent (if that is the right word) and well before the Belt and Road initiative. Times have changed – move with the times. The push back is well underway if anyone had noticed.

  26. Snoopy:

    FFS, someone give Michelle Gratten a cat.

    I’m surprised no one has said it – “But she already has a pussy!”

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