China’s state-owned media outlet Global Times has released an editorial saying it is “far from optimistic again” about Chinese-Australian relations after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s unexpected election win.
- Chinese state media says China-Australia relations have deteriorated in recent years
- A Global Times editorial described the shock election result as “far from optimistic” for foreign relations
- Former prime minister Paul Keating said spy chiefs were “nutters” and sacking them would improve relations
In an editorial posted to the newspaper’s official WeChat account just after midnight following the election, the newspaper said Chinese people were concerned about the impact Mr Morrison’s election would have on foreign relations.
“This election result also means that China-Australia relations, which have deteriorated in recent years under the leadership of the ruling Coalition formed by the Australian Liberal Party and the National Party, will continue to have uncertain prospects,” the editorial read.
“According to the statements made by the Australian media and some Labor Party politicians before the election, it seemed that if the Labor Party wins the election, the party will bring some positive changes to the China-Australia relations.”
The editorial pointed to comments from former prime minister and Labor leader Paul Keating, who said Australia’s spy chiefs are “nutters” who should be sacked in order to improve relations with China.
“Paul Keating, the former prime minister of the Labor Party who used to be friendly to China, publicly urged the Labor Party to expel the head of ASIO immediately, after the party wins the election. He said that the madman had destroyed the China-Australian relations,” the editorial read.
Former Labor leader Bill Shorten said he disagreed with Mr Keating’s comments, however, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese — who has tossed his hat in the ring for the Labor leadership after Mr Shorten’s resignation — said Mr Keating’s comments reflected broader concerns about attitudes towards China and said Australia needed to be careful not to be “xenophobic when it comes to China and the role of China in the region”.
The Coalition called Mr Keating’s comments “appalling”, “incredibly reckless” and “completely outrageous”.
Global Times also pointed to comments made by former Australian ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, who wrote in the Australian Financial Review to re-evaluate a ban on Huawei.
Read analysis about the federal election:
- With Morrison’s enemies vanquished, he has an opportunity for something new
- See how the Coalition defied the polls to remain in power
- How Morrison used Shorten’s big mistake to steal the election
- Abbott didn’t want to be a quitter, but that made the Liberals the loser in Warringah
- Canberra is still safe as houses for Labor despite the Coalition’s victory
“As a priority, a Labor government should instruct the bureaucracy to identify which parts of a 5G network can be opened to tendering,” he wrote.
The editorial noted some felt that even with a Labor victory, “Australia-China relations were unlikely to improve significantly in the short term”.
“No matter which party is in power, Australia’s next Government still has a long way to go if they want to repair China-Australian relations.”
The Liberal party has been approached for comment.
Chinese commentators took to social media to react to the election.
“We should impose comprehensive sanctions against Australia for ten years without change,” wrote one.
“China should choose its own ways to develop the country,” another said. “Good China-Australia relations is a benefit, otherwise China and Australia should go for their own interests. Easy.”
Politicians appealed heavily to Australia’s Chinese communities during the campaign, vying for votes on social media platform WeChat.