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How much has the anti-China rhetoric affected Aussie elections?

Earlier in March, the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age published a series called “Red Alert”. The series claimed to look at the whole “China influence” situation from an objective angle, but essentially it was a one sided “China bad” series, sensationalizing the idea of an imminent invasion of Australia, coordinated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the risk of giving it more airtime, we won’t be quoting from it – if you do want to check it out, you can google it or search on the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age page.

This is the sub title the series used – such a fear and warmongering headline don’t you think?

Australia faces the threat of war with China within three years – and we’re not ready

The series even assembled a group of so called experts to talk about this supposed threat, to get an objective view – but alas the journalists Matthew Knott and Peter Hartcher (he is a known China Hawk) assembled a group who are all known China Hawks. Here is who they are:

  • Lesley Seebeck – ANU, National Security College;
  • Mick Ryan – Author and Retired Australian Major General;
  • Alan Finkel – Australian Neuroscientist;
  • Lavina Lee – Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Senior Lecturer in Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University;
  • Peter Jennings – Executive Director for ASPI.

The majority, if not all are known China Hawks, so any objective discussion is surely out the door. Anyways, before moving away from this, I want to point out that the past few Australian Federal and State elections have showed this type of rhetoric and having the label of being a China Hawk will not win votes among the broader Chinese/Asian Australian community and will probably only appeal to the already converted anti-China/Chinese people.

Image via ABC News YouTube screenshot

Now to the elections. If the 2022 Federal Election was an indication, it demonstrated that the former Government’s anti-China rhetoric lost them votes and seats where the Chinese population was high. Many stronghold Liberal Party seats were lost to Labor and the seats the Liberal Party did hold marginally were also lost. Some of these seats include Bennelong and Reid in NSW, Chisholm in Victoria and Tangney in WA. Labor also was able to form Government with Senator Penny Wong becoming the Foreign Minister and a growth in numbers of Asian Australian MPs were elected.

This resentment towards the former Government also impacted on the recent state elections. Victoria in November 2022, where the Dan Andrews Government won a landslide victory to serve the state a second term – the opposition who were decimated placed the residual blame on the anti-China rhetoric coming from the former Government.

Image via ABC News NSWVotes Coverage YouTube Screenshot

This is the same for the recent NSW State Election, where Chris Minns and Labor won the election. Despite not winning enough seats to form a majority Government they have enough support from the Independent MPs and the Greens MPs elected to form a minority Government. Again seats like Parramatta falling to Labor with the NSW Liberals placing the residual blame on the former Government.

Finally we go to the Aston by election, where Labor had a historic win. As a federal electorate, Aston has one of the biggest Chinese-Australian communities in Victoria, with more than 22,500 Chinese residents, or about 14 per cent of the electorate’s population. It is also the first time a Government has won a seat from the opposition in a by-election since 1920. Labor’s Mary Doyle won the seat from Liberal’s Roshena Campbell. It is disappointing though that the Labor Party in Victoria put a white caucasian candidate instead of an Asian background candidate though. But oh well – one thing at a time. Campbell on the other hand is of South Asian background but the fact that Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was all over her election campaign – it definitely didn’t win any votes from the 14% Chinese Aussie population, for obvious reasons.

ABC 7:30 Report YouTube Screenshot

Anyways, we will end this here, but just say that the Chinese vote in Australia and more broadly the Asian Aussie vote is one powerful and influential block, which can sway the elections. It is time we use this power to change our communities to be more than just voters – what do you all think?

Images via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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