For years, ordinary Australians have watched in helpless disbelief as growing swathes of the Australian economy have been gobbled up by China. As they will, the political class have carried on with blind indifference. Even the mind-boggling stupidity of leasing the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company for 99 years was passed by a supposedly conservative government.

Australian senator Pauline Hanson is echoing the fury of ordinary Australians – and, for once, the government seems to be listening.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, insisting he immediately suspends sale approvals by the Foreign Investment Review Board and safeguards Australians against a mass foreign buy-up.

Pauline Hanson is well aware of the impending outcome of the crippling of the global economy by the gross negligence of China: a wave of Chinese economic predation.

The Queensland Senator said, “Australian’s [sic] want rapid safeguards put in place to ensure China and other opportunistic countries are prevented from buying up housing stock, prime agricultural land, businesses, and corporations affected by this Chinese virus.”

“Our unemployment numbers are surging, our stocks have been knee-capped, housing prices are set to fall, and our dollar is weakened which places Australia in the most vulnerable position we have seen for a very long time.

“I won’t tolerate China or any other country coming in here and buying Australia up for a song, leaving our people without a say.”

[…]“The faith the Liberal and Labor parties have placed in globalisation has been shown up as a failure off the back of this pandemic.

“What’s happening right now in this country and right across the globe should be a wake-up call to all politicians, stop allowing the sell-off of our industries and manufacturing and start investing in ourselves. Water, manufacturing, industry, agriculture, and jobs for Australians.”

The Australian government seems to be listening. They just can’t come out and say as much.

Australia will now scrutinise all proposed foreign investments and extend a time frame for a decision on approval to up to six months, as it prepares for a deepening economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the changes were needed to protect the national interest and the measures would remain in place until the current crisis is over.

He also denied the move was directed at China.

Even more importantly, the government is removing the threshold for foreign investment reviews.

For example, bids of less than $1.192 billion for businesses deemed non-sensitive typically won’t attract scrutiny if originating from a country with a free-trade deal with Australia.

Now, the threshold has been reset temporarily to zero across the board, Mr Frydenberg said[…]

The Foreign Investment Review Board, the agency responsible for screening offshore takeover bids, has extended time frames for reviewing applications to up to six months from 30 days.

This is all well and good, of course – as long as the FIRB stops acting as just another deep state, rubber-stamping bureaucracy.

Senator Hanson said, “Between 2007/08 and 2017/18, the Foreign Investment Review Board reviewed almost 12,000 applications and rejected just five.”

“How can the FIRB, which has one permanent employee and a handful of part-time members, give proper consideration to the sale of so many Australian assets? It can’t and therefore they aren’t looking out for the best interest of all Australians and need to be stopped.

As Trump is showing in the U.S., the government can stand up to the deep state and win. It’s high time Australian governments realised the same.

Until then, we can only rely on mavericks like Pauline Hanson to keep the pressure on.

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