In 2020, Labor Senator Murray Watt claimed that the Liberal National Party's "inflammatory" rhetoric on China contributed to them banning our beef, barley and coal.
Labor was happy to politicise our relationship with China when they thought it suited them. Now they are crying foul because there are serious questions arising about Labor's judgement on China.
Labor was wrong about the consequence of China's export bans. Labor implied that we should somehow mute our concerns about China's bullying of other countries, and gross lack of transparency on coronavirus, just so we could keep doing business with them.
The LNP instead knew that it was best to defend our independence, even if it were to cost us some trade. We were also confident that the quality of our products, and the enterprise of our farmers and miners, would mean we would find other countries to do business with on more friendly terms.
Our judgement turned out right. Beef prices have never been higher. Queensland's coal exports have grown by 35 per cent in 2021 as we have found other markets for our high quality coal in India, Japan and South Korea. Coal companies say they are unlikely to return to the Chinese market even if the bans are lifted because the risks of doing business in China are too great.
As Ian Macfarlane, the CEO of the Queensland Resources Council, said "It's all taught them a good lesson but luckily they didn't have to learn it the hard way. There was obviously some pain in that, but they were able to diversify their market quickly."
Blind Freddy can see that we should reduce our dependence on China given their threatening conduct in recent times. We should seek stronger relations with countries that treat others with respect. Whatever the short term benefits that trade with China offers, over the long term doing business with countries that respect our independence will be better for us.
Yet just over two years ago, Labor's deputy leader, Richard Marles, gave a speech in Beijing where he proposed that Australia should explore defence cooperation with China. He said this at the time that China was cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, committing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and threatening the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan and nations in the South China Sea.
Conducting war games with the People's Liberation Army was such a ridiculous suggestion that Richard Marles has not published this speech on his website, even though lots of other innocuous ones are there. Labor is now using the same tactics as communists, they just "disappear" things they do not like.
But we should not just sweep Labor's record under the carpet as we decide who should lead our country in these uncertain times. It is no wonder that China is cheerleading for a Labor government. Labor has taken China's side on export bans, whether we should call for an inquiry on the origins of the coronavirus and on whether China's actions are increasing the risk of war.
China would hardly be backing a return of the LNP Government. We have said no to multiple Chinese foreign investments, the first Australian Government to do so. And we to refuse to let Huawei, China's telecommunications company, to build our 5G network.
Australia is heading into the most uncertain strategic environment since World War II. To protect our independence we must maintain a steely resolve in defence of our beliefs and values. Labor has failed the China character test and would be too risky for our country at this time.