Liberal Senator James Paterson says there is sometimes a “very silly debate” in Australia that “if only we changed our tone a little bit,” and if only we had a little bit more nuance, suddenly our relationship with China would dramatically improve.
“That theory, that nuance school of international relations has been absolutely blown apart the other week when the Chinese embassy handed over that list of 14 grievances,” Mr Paterson told Sky News host Sharri Markson.
The Chinese embassy in Canberra recently released a list of 14 grievances with Australia which included attempts to “torpedo” Victoria’s involvement in Belt and Road Initiative and calling for an independent inquiry into COVID-19.
“The test for the ‘nuance brigade’ is to go through that list of 14 grievances and say which if any of those things they would be willing to sacrifice in the quest of a ‘better relationship’ with China,” Mr Paterson said.
“Is it a free press that they’d be willing to sacrifice?”
“Is it control over our own foreign investment framework?”
“Unless they can go through that list and nominate which things they’d be willing to do to improve the relationship with China, then they shouldn’t be listened to as serious participants in the debate,” he said.
“Because the reality is, what we’re being asked to do by the Chinese Communist Party, no self-respecting government, Labor or Liberal, left or right could ever agree to and that is just the reality of where we are at the moment”.