Keating: Intelligence chiefs are “nutters”, clean them out

Published in The Daily Telegraph, May 7 2018

When U.S. intelligence chiefs presented Donald Trump with information that made him uncomfortable, he flew into a rage, accusing them of leaking “fake news” and acting like “Nazi Germany”.

Now Paul Keating has done the same. Australia’s intelligence chiefs are “nutters”, he said on Sunday. They’ve “gone berko” and he expects a Shorten Labor government will clean them out.

Bill Shorten was forced into saying that he does not share Keating’s concerns about the mental health of our spy chiefs.

Keating believes our intelligence agencies are responsible for the federal government calling out Beijing for interfering in Australia, and passing a new law that has turned Beijing’s subversive meddling into a criminal offense.

He says we shouldn’t be upsetting the Communist Party bosses in Beijing.

But why?

Ernest Wong is part of the answer. Ernest Wong was a close confidant of Huang Xiangmo, the Chinese property developer who donated shedloads of money to NSW Labor. It was Sam Dastyari’s association with Huang Xiangmo that led to Sam’s disgrace and exit from the Senate.

Huang himself has now been denied entry to Australia because ASIO suspects him of being too close to the Chinese Communist Party. But Ernest Wong’s association with Huang Xiangmo did not stop the NSW Labor Party in 2013 appointing him to a plum job in the NSW Legislative Council.

However, the Labor Party was forced to demote Wong to an unwinnable position on its ticket at the last NSW election. The hard men of the NSW Right blame ASIO and they are fuming. That’s what Keating meant when he attacked ASIO for “knocking on MPs’ doors.”

“Best government in the world”

For well over a decade, Beijing has been working hard at winning over powerful members of Australia’s political, business and university elites. They have agencies whose sole task is to do just that, and they are very good at it.

Beijing appointed Keating to a lucrative position on the international advisory board of the China Development Bank, and he gets the royal treatment when he’s in China. Since then he has been a reliable champion of the Communist Party government.

America is finished, he says, and we should detach ourselves. He often echoes the messages coming from the Party’s Propaganda Department, like China was once the world’s dominant economic power and we should accept that it’s natural for it to return to that position.

Our former prime minister tells us that when China annexes islands in the South China Sea then it’s none of our concern, even if China is violating international law. Worst of all, he defends the Communist Party’s rejection of universal human rights, which Keating dismisses as “East Coast American values”.

Those “East Coast American values” include free speech, democratic elections and freedom from arbitrary arrest. They are Australian values too, and values that millions of Chinese people dream of enjoying one day.

Whenever he gets the opportunity, Keating waxes lyrical about the wonders of the Communist Party government. In 2017 he said it’s been “the best government in the world in the last 30 years. Full stop.”

Whose values?

Tell that to the one million Uyghur people thrown into detention camps in China’s Xinjiang province, which has been called “the largest mass incarceration of a racial or religious group since the Holocaust.” In the camps they are forced to renounce their religious and cultural beliefs and chant Communist Party slogans.

It’s sad to see Anthony Albanese backing Keating by suggesting the security concerns are partly motivated by anti-Chinese xenophobia. This is not about Chinese people; it’s about the Chinese Communist Party, and when Albanese mistakes the Party for the people he’s falling into the trap set by the Party, which insists the two are one.

Some senior Labor figures are seething over Keating’s attack on our intelligence agencies. They have worked hard to establish bipartisan support for national security measures, so it damages Labor when one of its elders tells the world that an ALP government will go soft on China. It’s natural to ask: Does he know something Bill Shorten isn’t telling us?

Share :
© Copyright Clive Hamilton