Australia examines modern slavery laws amid concerns over products linked to Uyghur abuse

Original article by Daniel Hurst
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 28-Apr-21

Australian Border Force official Vanessa Holben says the federal government will review the Modern Slavery Act in 2022. The legislation has been criticised over its lack of financial penalties for companies that fail to deal with the use of slave labour in their supply chains. Holben says the government is "deeply concerned" about reports of human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang region. Independent senator Rex Patrick has proposed legislation to ban imports from Xinjiang and other parts of China that are produced by using forced labour. The bill is being scrutinised by a Senate committee.

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AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE

‘We must get real on a possible China war’: Dutton

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 26-Apr-21

Defence Minister Peter Dutton says Australia must continue to be a ‘good neighbour’ in the Asia-Pacific and work with its partners and allies to maintain peace in the region. He adds that China has made it clear that reunification with Taiwan is firmly on its agenda, and he has warned that war over Taiwan cannot be ruled out in the future. Dutton has also indicated that thousands of deals with foreign governments are being reviewed following the Coalition’s decision to terminate Victoria’s deal to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. They include the 2015 deal to lease the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company for 99 years.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF DEFENCE

China talks only if no conditions

Original article by Greg Brown, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 25-Jan-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is happy to meet with China’s leaders to discuss how the strained relationship between the two nations could be improved, as long as there are no conditions attached. The Chinese embassy released in 2020 a list of 14 grievances that China has with Australia; Morrison says that if they are to be the conditions then any meeting will be a long time coming. He says that the relationship between Australia and China has been changing for some years, "not over any one thing but over time". Morrison says he is confident new US president Joe Biden will support Australia in its handling of the China relationship.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Australia demands WHO entry to China without delay

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 7-Jan-21

A delegation from the World Health Organisation was due to depart in early January on a visit to China to investigate the origins of COVID-19. However, there have been delays in China in issuing their permits, which has prompted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu say he was "very disappointed", while Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has called on China to allow the entry of the WHO delegation "without delay". Australia led the call for an independent investigation into the COVID-19, and it has been suggested this was a major factor in China’s ongoing retaliatory trade action against Australia.

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WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE

Business must lead China peace mission, top executives say

Original article by Damon Kitney, Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 : 5-Jan-21

Company directors taking part in a round table discussion organised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors contend business should take the lead in trying to improve Australia’s strained ties with China. Penny Bingham-Hall, who is a director of BlueScope Steel, Fortescue Metals and Dexus, says there are very good personal relationships between Australian businesses and Chinese businesses, while Coles director Wendy Stops said "upfront criticism" is not the way to deal with China. Amcor chair Graeme Liebelt says there is a risk Australia could get "caught up in the crossfire" between the US and China.

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AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, DEXUS – ASX DXS, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

China accuses Australia of playing the victim and politicising trade, says coal ban is responsible act

Original article by
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 16-Dec-20

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to growing criticism of its sanctions against some imports from Australia. Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the ministry, has used a press conference in Beijing to stress that the recent action taken by the nation’s authorities is in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, as well as international practice. He has also described it as a "responsible act" for Chinese industries and consumers. Coal appears to be the latest commodity to be hit by Chinese restrictions, which have also affected products such as wine, beef, timber and barley.

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CHINA. MINISTRY OF COMMERCE

China coal ban an FTA breach

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 16-Dec-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the federal government has received no "official information" from China about restrictions on coal imports from Australia. He says that any such move would be in breach of both the free-trade agreement between the two nations and World Trade Organization rules. China’s state-owned media has reported that Australian thermal coal will be blacklisted in favour of coal from countries such as Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia. Morrison contends that a ban on higher-quality Australian coal would increase China’s carbon emissions. He has also emphasised that Japan and India are bigger markets for Australian thermal and coking coal respectively than China.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Chinese Communist Party insiders infiltrate Western consulates

Original article by Sharri Markson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 7 : 14-Dec-20

Members of the Chinese Communist Party are working in at least 10 foreign consulates in Shanghai, including those of Australia, the US and the UK. This follows the examination of a leaked copy of CCP membership records, which has also found that CCP members are working in companies such as Boeing and AstraZeneca, as well as Western universities. Australia hires local staff for its Shanghai consulate through the Shanghai Foreign Agency Service Department, which is a Chinese government agency, and the leaked database indicates that it has at least 12 active CCP branches

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COMMUNIST PARTY (CHINA), BOEING COMPANY, ASTRAZENECA PLC

China not playing by trade pact rules

Original article by Ben Packham, Will Glasgow
The Australian – Page: 4 : 9-Dec-20

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says the federal government is considering "all dispute settlement options" in response to China’s recent move to ban a range of imports from Australia. He has also suggested that the targeted nature of the import bans raises questions about China’s adherence to the free-trade agreement that the two nations signed in 2015. China has yet to explain why it has banned meat exports from Queensland-based abattoir Meramist, although there is speculation that it is in retaliation to the federal government’s Foreign Relations Bill.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, MERAMIST PTY LTD

80 coal ships in China stand-off

Original article by Perry Williams, Will Glasgow
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 27-Nov-20

Australia’s coal exports to China fell by 96 per cent in the first three weeks of November. Industry sources have indicated that 82 bulk carriers are currently in Chinese waters and awaiting permission to unload 8.8 million tonnes of Australian coal. China’s ban on coal imports from Australia has forced producers to find alternative markets for their coal, often at a discount. Meanwhile, North American coal is now being sold to China at a premium to Australian coal.

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