Chines demanded Darvin Port from Australia

Victoria’s Belt and Road deals with the communist superpower, Chines Senator Jacqui Lambie has demanded to rip up an agreement to lease Darwin Port to a Chines company from Australia.
In November 2015, the Northern Territory government leased Darwin Port to Land bridge Australia, a subsidiary of Shandong Land bridge, for 99 years for $506 million.
The surrender of a key strategic asset next to a major military base caught then prime minster Malcolm Turnbull off guard and enraged US president Barack Obama whose administration said it was ‘blindsided’.
Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie said the deal should be scrapped because it threatens the national interest.
‘I’m beyond why you would do that, I actually believe that should be torn up,’ Senator Lambie told Sky News on Thursday morning.
‘It is in our national interest to do something about that Port of Darwin, it is the top end of Australia, if we’re going to be attacked … that’s the first place it’s going to hit it.
‘We have a couple of thousand marines up there, the US is sitting up there, it is in our national interest to do something about that port.
‘All of our military resources should be up that Top End of Australia. We’re not doing that either,’ she added.
The senator’s comments came a day after foreign minister Marise Payne used a new law to cancel Victoria’s two Belt and Road infrastructure construction deals with China, sparking outrage from Beijing.
The Foreign Relations Act, which came into force in December, allows the federal government to scrap agreements made with foreign governments by states, local governments and universities if they are contrary to the national interest.
The act does not apply to deals with commercial corporations and state-owned enterprises, meaning it would have to be amended if the government wanted to end the Darwin Port deal.
When the port was leased, executive director of the Australia Defence Association Neil James called the move a ‘seriously dumb idea’.
The federal Labor MP for Spence in Adelaide, Nick Champion, has also called for the lease to be scrapped so the port can be returned to Australian control.
‘There was not enough consideration of the national interest in that particular privatisation of this port,’ he told the ABC in August 2019.
‘It’s a very important port because we have significant defence facilities in the Northern Territory and that’s the part of the world, I guess we have to pay a great deal of attention to.
‘We should look pretty clearly at making sure that that port is in government hands. It’s for those reasons, it should be nationalised.’
Darwin Port was leased as Chinese investment in Australia ramped up over the past decade, with Beijing-backed companies snapping up land, real estate and even higher education institutions.
China is now the largest foreign owner of land in Australia with Chinese companies in control of 2.4 per cent of the nation’s soil.
Investors from the the United Kingdom own more with 2.1 per cent and buyers from the US are joint third with 0.7 per cent, according to the 2020 Register of Foreign Ownership.
Most of the foreign-owned land is in Western Australia and the Northern Territory and is used for cattle farming.
Between 2017 and 2018, Chinese companies added 50,000 hectares to their Australian property portfolio which total more than 9.1million hectares.
In 2019, one of the biggest Chinese landowners in Australia was accused of illegally clearing Aboriginal land in north Western Australia.
Zenith Australia Group, owned by Shanghai Cred, owns seven properties in Western Australia including Yakka Munga and Mount Elizabeth Stations in the Kimberley, Marvel Loch Station and Goldfields Station.
The WA government issued a stop-work order after Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation, the custodians of the land, claimed the company breached a lease agreement by clearing 120 hectares without permission.
Locals say important flora including boab trees had been ripped up.
Shanghai Cred, which also owns a third of Gina Rineheart’s company Australian Outback Beef, lost an appeal against the stop-work order.