It seems Comrade Dan is now writing foreign policy instead of the Federal Government. Operating as a lone sharp dealer, Comrade Dan has done a deal with a Chinese company blacklisted by the US over security fears, Dan’s friends at CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles won bid to build trains for Melbourne in 2016 and he also made a deal with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and is now part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative to build Melbourne’s new trains
Mr Andrews then went on to strike a deal with the communist country under the Belt and Road Initiative, which allows China to invest in huge infrastructure projects around the world.
According to The Age, Manufacturing company CRRC has been identified as a potential cyber-security threat by the US Defence Department because of its involvement in critical infrastructure. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in March additionally found the manufacturer is one of 82 companies benefiting from the use of slave labour, Oh sorry, I mean Uighur workers.
CRRC was launched in 2015 and employs about 180,000 workers at more than 40 subsidiaries. The company made more than $44billion in 2018.
The train program, more than 18 months behind schedule, was selected ahead of Australian manufacturers.
Mr Andrews maintains Victoria’s Belt and Road deal, along with many others the state has with China, is ‘all about jobs’.
Chinese companies which have been investing in Victorian projects such as the Metro Tunnel have been employing tens of thousands of local workers, he said.
The leader stressed that doesn’t mean he is turning a blind eye to China’s human rights record.
‘We don’t agree with China on everything,’ Mr Andrews told reporters in June. But he DOES seem happy with slave labor building his trains.
The manufacturer was identified on a list of Chinese companies working in the US with close links to the Chinese government created by the US Defence Department so those on the list could face emergency economic powers and sanctions by the US president. Although, Australia being the fifty first state of the US might escape that.
According to the Daily Mail, Federal Liberal MP Andrew Hastie told Daily Mail Australia that Mr
Andrews had ‘gone off the reservation by conducting his own foreign policy with China’.
As trade tensions with China mount, Mr Andrews has been urged to scrap the agreement, which he claims creates jobs for Victorians. These are contrary facts, If the trains are built in China with ‘labour’ there, how does that create jobs for Victorians? Are Victorians going to be sent to China to build trains?.
‘The Victorian government’s BRI activities are simply out of step with the new international and economic environment, including the now openly coercive directions that Beijing is taking with Canberra over trade and in government relations.’ Stated Michael Schoebridge of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Even the Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade References Committee is uncomfortable with this. ‘The Victorian government should not have entered into an agreement with the Chinese government on the Belt and Road Initiative – it is bad policy and bad optics.’ She said.
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