Tag Archives: foreign investment

Barnaby Sells Out?

4 Oct

From the Australian:

BARNABY Joyce, who has built his political career opposing foreign investment, is under fire for hypocrisy after giving his blessing to the sale of two of the Northern Territory’s best known cattle stations to Indonesia’s biggest live cattle importer.

The Agriculture Minister, who two weeks ago asked Australians to “make a big noise” and oppose the Indonesian government’s plan to purchase a million hectares of cattle country, said he supported the latest sale after talking to the Northern Territory cattle industry.

The Santori company – a subsidiary of the Indonesian agribusiness Japfa group – is purchasing two large Northern Territory cattle properties, Riveren and Inverway stations.

Mr Joyce said last night he made the decision to support the sale after talking to northern Australian cattlemen.

“They wanted the sale to go forward,” he said.

The Deputy Nationals Leader said the purchase of the two cattle stations was a joint venture on lease-hold land, that would kick-start the live cattle trade to Indonesia.

He dismissed the charge of hypocrisy, declaring the Greens wanted to “shut down the trade all together” and Labor had created the slump in cattle exports in the first place. “We are just trying to sweep up the dishes they dropped,” he said.

Mr Joyce’s decision to support the sale is a stark departure from his public call – about two weeks ago, before being appointed to the ministry – for Australians to “make a big noise” and oppose a similar plan from the Indonesian government to buy farmland and raise cattle for the domestic market.

“I cannot possibly see how it is in the national interest, what benefit is it to Australian farmers, to Australian taxpayers, if another entity buys our land to breed their cattle, exports them to their own facilities and pays tax in another country,” Mr Joyce said at the time.

The Nationals deputy leader’s about-face received a mixed reception from his party colleagues yesterday. Some of them have flagged a tough fight on the potential sale of Australia’s largest listed agribusiness, GrainCorp, to US firm Archer Daniels Midland if it is approved by Joe Hockey.

NSW Nationals senator John Williams said Australia should own its own farmland, with the profits going back into regional and rural towns.

“Have the owners of those stations had them on the market for a long time?” Senator Williams said. “Are they desperate to get out? If they can’t get a local buyer, then I wouldn’t blame them for selling to a foreign buyer. But I like to see Australians own our farmland. I want to see the profits of those farms spent locally in our regional towns.”

Queensland LNP MP George Christensen said Mr Joyce was only meeting the demands of industry.

“You have to talk to the local industry, and my understanding is that they are all behind it.

“In that case, as Australia’s Agriculture Minister, he is (fulfilling) the wishes of the Australian agricultural industry,” he said.

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Barnaby: People Want A Positive Future

8 Mar

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

One of the useful parts of the obligatory election trudge around the countryside is that meetings, functions and party events become a great barometer of what is worrying people.

Don’t go on the road if you are looking for self-affirmation; voters do not turn up to tell you what they like about government and politicians.

If a summary was given of what is making people talk at the mandatory Q and A session at the local hall/bowling club/RSL you would not be surprised that it is a thousand miles from what seems to be the concern on the ABC’s Q&A. There are four issues that are becoming constants: excessive market power in our retail industry; foreign ownership of strategic Australian assets; the carbon tax; and coal seam gas.

The businesses that go to functions ask, when will anyone seriously deal with excessive market concentration and the resultant exploitation of smaller market players? This was once seen disparagingly as a ”poor bugger farmer” issue by the more enlightened in the corridors of Canberra. Now senior corporates are also starting to ask the same question. The chief executive of Coca-Cola Amatil, Terry Davis, has highlighted his difficulty in finding a margin for Coca-Cola on a shelf controlled by two very dominant retailers and a second-tier wholesaler.

Foreign ownership of key agricultural assets and our ever increasing reliance on foreign borrowings by our government is a two-for-one package. People do not believe that Swan has the debt under control, and he hasn’t, he has borrowed an extra $11 billion over the past four weeks.

They believe that there is a naivety pervading the carte blanche approach to any investment to any area for any reason. They ask when does the government ever say no and the answer is that our Foreign Investment Review Board is like the Venus de Milo acting as wicket keeper for Australia: looks good but stops nothing.

People are surprised to learn that if a foreigner wants to buy any residential land then approval must be sought. However, you can buy any farm in the country without seeking approval if it is worth less than $244 million. There is probably only one farm in Australia over that threshold.

People have a pathological dislike of a policy called a carbon tax. Sections of the left hate it because it is seen as a mechanism to create commissions for major sections of the banking sector. The right hates it because it is a totem for the fallacy that government is better at spending money than you are and has wiser and more noble motives than you have. Everybody in between hates it because it is just so patently absurd. Government policies that make people poorer don’t cool the planet, they just make people very angry.

Rather than help the proponents of the global warming debate the carbon tax has been completely counter-productive for them. The reality is that there is now a strong majority who have a strong scepticism of the global warming narrative and a large number who just don’t believe at all. Many of those who do believe in it, don’t want to pay for it.

Finally, and it is the issue du jour: coal seam gas. This issue is politically remarkable as it has linked the far left and the far right. It is the powerless landholder against the miner and the expectation that the government should act for the powerless. It is the usurping of an individual’s property right, the under pinner of an individual’s security, the seedbed of the individual’s liberty. It is the green issue that links to the shopping trolley.

Unfortunately for the government, it is in so much debt that its political future, based on the delivery of services, cannot be met without the income stream from the royalties and the tax.

What then really angers people is that the topics they see discussed on their TVs, and from their government, do not match these concerns.

People want a more positive future where government talks about the delivery of substantial new infrastructure and a vision of a new horizon of economic opportunity in the north and other undeveloped parts of our nation.

Instead we have a Labor government obsessed with its own machinations and a Treasurer who seems to think his main job is to pick fights with Andrew Forrest, Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer.

Damn!

He sure has his finger on the pulse.

Imagine such a man leading the nation.

The words of the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu spring readily to this blogger’s mind in picturing such a future:

“To lead the people, walk behind them.”

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

China Stops Encouraging Foreign Investment

30 Dec

Riddle me this.

A “developing” nation of 1.3 billion people, a country that is supposedly the “engine of growth” for “a new era” in the world economy, stops encouraging foreign investment in its local car manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, a “developed” nation of 22 million people, a country that survives on digging huge holes and selling its coking coal and iron ore for steel production to said “booming” nation, not only actively encourages foreign “investment in” (read “ownership of”) all its vital industries (agriculture, mining, manufacturing) … it gives $25 million to the world’s biggest (foreign) car maker to build a car it was going to build anyway … sends billions in “stimulus” overseas to buy carcinogenic pink batts and crappy flat screens … and all the while, its Treasurer constantly bleats his continued expectation of a “huge pipeline of investment” to salvage the nation’s savaged finances.

Tell me … which of these two nations’ politicians are best serving the long term interests of their own people?

From Bloomberg:

China will stop encouraging foreign investment in car manufacturing to allow for “healthy development” of a market that saw sales growth plummet to a tenth of last year’s pace.

The change ends seven years of foreign-investor benefits including reduced tariffs on imported plant equipment, said Jenny Gu, a senior market analyst at LMC Automotive in Shanghai…

SAIC Motor Corp., the nation’s largest listed automaker, rose 4.1 percent to 13.88 yuan in Shanghai trading today, it’s biggest gain in almost two weeks…

The nation’s automobile manufacturers association estimated that 2011 deliveries may grow by the least in 13 years as a rollback in policies aimed at encouraging buyers curtailed purchases.

So, China doesn’t want more cars produced? Because a dramatic fall in sales is another red flag that the “China bubble” is bursting?

Or, they just want to guard their own economic destiny?

In either conclusion, by contrast our own politicians are made to look exactly like the short-sighted, self-centred, traitorous sell-outs that they really are.

Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown

18 Aug

Got your attention with that headline?

Good.

Because on the topic of Australia’s last remaining real source of wealth – “our” natural resources – and, on the directly related topic of who should own them, you may be shocked to learn that your humble blogger hangs waaaaaaaay way out there on the so-called “left”.

With the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.

And the government of Norway – which consistently ranks as the happiest nation on earth, and, the most prosperous.

[You see, when you are not beholden to group-think, and the false Left vs Right paradigm, then you can author what the Fairfax media called a “tribute site”, dedicated to supporting the debt-and-deficit views of a so-called “extremist” “far right” politician, and yet, hold “far left” views on other specific issues.  Independent, issue-by-issue critical thinking is a wonderful thing.]

Explanation to follow.

First though, a little background via this media release from Senator Barnaby Joyce, 17 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Some towns are more equal than others

The Queensland Labor party obviously believes that all towns are equal but some towns are more equal than others.

I note that Queensland Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan is already backtracking from the Labor party’s decision to only ban mining within 2 kilometres of towns with more than 1000 people.

Ms Nolan also attacked the Federal Coalition saying that:

This government does not believe that landholders are entitled to the resources beneath the ground. They have never been and to change that now would represent a massive windfall to the agricultural class, to the detriment of those who own the resources now – that is, all of us.*

Ms Nolan is wrong. It is concerning that a Minister does not seem to understand the basic aspects of her portfolio.

Farmers in Queensland owned the petroleum and gas resources under their property until 1915, when the Queensland Government took them off them to protect the resources for the crown during World War I. From my latest investigations I think World War I has finished but the resources were never handed back to farmers.

To quote from section 4 of the Petroleum Act 1915:

… it is hereby declared that petroleum on or below the surface of all land in Queensland, whether alienated in fee simple or not so alienated from the Crown, and if so alienated whensoever alienated, is and always has been the property of the Crown.

Resources have been taken in other states in even more recent times, with the last being the NSW Coal Acquisition Act in 1981.

If Ms Nolan does not believe me, perhaps she would believe former NSW Premier Neville Wran, who stated in his second reading speech on the Coal Acquisition Bill 1981:

The proposal is not without precedent. In 1938 a Tory government in the United Kingdom acquired all coal then in private ownership. In 1953 the Menzies Government resumed all minerals, then in private ownership, in the Northern Territory.

In 1971 South Australia followed suit and acquired privately owned minerals. All petroleum in New South Wales was vested in the Crown without compensation, by the Petroleum Act, 1955 …

* Ludlow, M., Dunckley, M and Kerr, P. 2011, ‘Mining ban expands’, Australian Financial Review, p. 5.

As a fine, upstanding, and outstanding representative of the interests of the rural community, Senator Joyce advocates strongly for the rights of farmers and rural landowners. Especially of late, in their critical challenges with mining interests seeking to explore for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) resources beneath their land, placing our food and water security at risk.

I strongly support the rational, objective, common sense basic position put forward by both Senator Joyce and the Greens – that agricultural land should be very carefully protected against any risks from the mining sector’s activities.

Indeed, I support going even further than either Barnaby or the Greens on this issue.

Why?

There are no “resources” more vital to human existence, than water #1, and food #2.

If proposed mining activities pose any plausible risk to water and/or food security, then protection of our water and ability to grow our own food must always take top priority.

To argue otherwise, you must either be an idiot. A troll. Suicidal. And/or genocidal. There are no other options.

Where I differ with (or perhaps hold a more nuanced position than) Senator Joyce – and most definitely differ with the Australian Greens – is over the question of how best to maximise the benefits for all Australians of our Great South Land’s natural resources.

Senator Joyce is quite rightly concerned with the rights of rural landowners.

The Greens appear to be concerned with the protection of agricultural land – as should we all.  But in truth, the Greens are far more interested in taxing the crap out of the mining companies, whilst paying hypocritical lip service to the quasi-religious notion of “stopping catastrophic climate change”.

I am interested in the national (human) interest.

So, I advocate for nationalisation of Australia’s mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources.

In our world of facile, intellectually-lazy “labelling” of every one and every thing (in lieu of reasoned, nuanced thought), that viewpoint places me right out there on the “extreme left”. Yes, right alongside “evil” socialists like Hugo Chavez.

And the government and people of Norway – the happiest and most prosperous nation (per capita) on earth.

Why is Norway so happy and prosperous?

One very big contributing reason, is that the Norwegian government nationalised their North Sea oil reserves decades ago, and has retained tight control over this vital resource sector ever since, including via the 67% government-owned StatOil. Profits are returned to a now-massive sovereign wealth fund, on behalf of all the citizens of Norway.

(This is used to finance what many would label a “welfare state”; the generally-understood definition of which I do not broadly support – another nuance, for another time).

Beginning in 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved in the same direction. He began an ongoing nationalisation drive, stripping foreign-owned companies of control over vital national resources, especially Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, along with food and key industrial production.

(The fact that it was predominantly US multi-national petroleum companies who lost out as a result of Chavez’s actions goes a very long way towards explaining the true reason why he is painted as an “evil” “insane” “socialist” villain by Western politicians and lapdog mainstream media … and thus, why you probably believe Chavez is all bad, and all wrong. How dare he be more concerned with the national interest of Venezuelans, than with the profits of multi-nationals or the deceitful ideologies of “free trade” and “globalisation”!)

In Australia, we have a ridiculous, unintelligent, ill-considered, short-sighted, shallow, and polarised “debate” over national resources.

Many argue for a mining “super profits” tax, to help “spread the wealth” of our here-today-gone-forever-tomorrow mineral resources, via a sovereign wealth fund.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Many argue for restrictions on foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, including prime agricultural land.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Those who argue against restrictions on foreign ownership of vital Australian resources include the treasonous “independent” Reserve Bank:

The Reserve Bank has warned that the economy’s increasing reliance on mining exports has left it more vulnerable to global downturns but suggests foreign ownership of the sector could help reduce those risks.

A paper co-authored by RBA assistant governor Philip Lowe and presented at the bank’s annual conference highlighted the benefits of foreign investment in mining at a time of intense political scrutiny of the industry’s ownership and profits.

The Greens correctly point out the fact that it is foreign-owned interests who benefit most from our country’s “poor white trash of Asia”, quarry-to-the-world status:

In June, Greens leader Bob Brown used a National Press Club address to slam the size of mining payouts to offshore investors and demand higher taxes on the industry to ensure Australians received their fair share.

He released research showing that $50 billion in mining company dividends would end up in overseas hands over the next five years — far more than the government’s watered-down mining tax would collect for taxpayers over the same period.

“Most of Treasury’s planned super-profits tax is now due to end up in the deep, deep pockets of millionaires in Switzerland, London, Calcutta and Beijing, rather than in Australian schools, hospitals or railways,” Senator Brown said at the time.

The Greens’ solution?

A bigger mining tax.

This sort of small-minded, tax-and-spend idiocy typifies the problems with our country.

Our politicians huff and puff a lot of high-minded hot air. While doing sweet FA, or at best, tinkering around the edges of critical issues.

Because most do not really have the national interest at heart.

They mostly have only their own interest at heart.

It does not have to be this way, dear reader.

Look at the example of Norway.

Then look at Bob Brown’s comment I’ve bolded in the above quote.

And ask yourself a simple question –

“Why dick around with half-arsed ‘solutions’ like mere “bigger taxes” on foreign-owned interests who are profiting off our national resources? If you’re serious about our national interests, then why not go the full monty – just like Norway and so many others – and nationalise our vital national resources?!”

Let us be quite clear.

My views on the topic of foreign “investment” (ie, ownership) of vital Australian natural resources, is far more than just “far Left”.

It is not automatically an anti-capitalist, anti-“free market” (a myth which has never existed, by the way), anti-liberty, anti-democratic, or anti-freedom position.

Instead, it is a nuanced viewpoint.

I strongly support the rights of Aussie landowners to have their livelihoods protected against risks from mining exploration/extraction.

I strongly support the absolute, unequivocal primacy of protecting agricultural land and water resources, over and above the interests of mere mining profits (you can’t eat and drink coal or iron ore, or the profits from them either).

I strongly support just and proper compensation for landowners wherever their property and/or livelihood may be impacted by the activities of other industries.

I strongly support the right of all Australians and their descendants, to enjoy peace of mind thanks to assured, long term water and food security, above all other “economic” considerations.

And, I strongly support the right of Australian citizens and their descendants, to have their interests protected (by their elected government) against the redistribution of wealth from the soil of our land, into the already-bloated bank accounts of foreign interests.

At the end of the day, that is the very heart of the matter.

All the confusion, and rhetoric, and theory, and ideology, and spirit-sapping noise over the relative alleged pros and cons of mining/agriculture/taxes/”free”-markets/socialism/capitalism … is all just a great big load of intellectual onanist #JAFA crap, that only serves to achieve one thing, whether intended or accidental.

It keeps our nation divided into warring tribes, all squabbling over red herrings … while the Big Fish make off with our big fish under the cover of theoretical, ideological, and philosophical darkness.

Why piss about arguing over the merits/demerits of a mere “tax” on foreign-owned mining companies?

Why piss about arguing over how big or small such a “tax” should or should not be?

If you really believe your own rhetoric … that Australia’s natural resources are vital to our national interest … then why not back your conviction with action, put your balls on the block, and simply nationalise the lot?

Despite what you have been led to believe, this is not a far out, “extremist” idea at all.

See for yourself the long list of countries – many of them iconic so-called “capitalist”, “free-market” countries like the USA and the UK – who have all nationalised key resources, infrastructure, and/or industries, for their national interest.

Of course, to do so here in Australia would require a government of adults. Not the current crowd of self-serving, incompetent halfwits … on both sides of the House.

Which is why I also advocate that we change the electoral laws, to only allow real adults to run for public office.

And, it is why I advocate above all for fundamental monetary reform. A complete decentralisation of the power of “money” and “credit”. Thus rendering moot the inane, archaic, 19th century, debunked-by-reality “free market” “capitalist” arguments of the RBA and the banking sector et al that we “need” “foreign investment”. Because when the RBA, the banking industry, #JAFA economists, and/or politicians say that we “need” foreign “investment” “capital”, what they are really saying is this –

You ‘need’ to remain slaves … to foreign credit-suppliers”.

You see, dear reader, the reason why I advocate these “far out” solutions, is because I am Australian.

I believe national sovereignty stands in the way of transnational tyranny.

And I believe that to continue selling the farm, and/or what is under the farm, into the hands of foreign interests (whether ‘national’, ‘multi-national’, or ‘private’) under the guise of “foreign investment”, is both 100% unnecessary, and not in our national interest.

To quote another infamous political figure … “I make no apologies for that.”

UPDATE:

And in timely overnight news, the gold price jumps on revelations that the “evil” “leftist” Mr Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry –

Gold settled at record highs today after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he planned to nationalise the country’s gold industry.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said today he plans to nationalise the country’s gold industry in a move to take over production and grow international reserves.

Speaking on state television via telephone, the leftist leader said he would be introducing a new decree to put exploration and extraction of gold into the government’s hands.

It will be “a decree to take the gold sector,” which still remains in the hands of a “mafia and smugglers,” Mr Chavez said.

“We don’t only have oil wealth, we have here one of the largest reserves of gold in the world … Let’s convert it into our international reserves because gold is increasing in its value.”

Mr Chavez also plans to move the country’s existing gold reserves out of European banks and into vaults owned by the country’s central bank. Venezuela’s official gold reserves, of 365.8 tonnes as of June, make it the 15th largest gold holder in the world according to the World Gold Council. The Latin American country is well behind the US, which leads the pack with 8113.5 tonnes, and second place, Germany, at 3401.0 tonnes.

Vast oil reserves.

A gold industry.

A President with brains and balls.

Lots and lots of pretty women.

Venezuela’s lookin’ better ‘n better all the time 😉

By the way, how does Australia compare with Venezuela for official gold reserves?

Badly.

Less than 80 tonnes, compared with Venezuela’s 365.8 tonnes.

Why?

Yes, all thanks to our stupid/treasonous Reserve Bank, who sold off most of our reserves early this century in a blunder to top all their (many) blunders:

Just over ten years ago, Australia’s central bank the RBA sold off most of the countries gold reserves under the belief that the price of gold would continue to remain flat, and that as an asset, it would no longer play any role in the future financial system, or any crises that may result.

A paper written by the central bank which recommended selling off the gold reserves conceded that that asset whilst the assets served as “insurance against a breakdown in the international financial system”, it was not necessary to hold.

The central bank’s justification for reducing its gold reserves so drastically was that gold represented a poor investment, and Australia had successfully integrated itself into global financial markets, and that it need not worry about access to those markets during a financial crisis.

Since the sale of the gold reserves the global financial systems has experienced severe stress on a number of different occasions, starting with the implosion of the technology bubble at the start of the millennium followed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and more recently the global financial crisis in 2008.

The price of the precious metal over that time frame has risen spectacularly and the asset has begun to play an increasingly important role in the global financial system since the  financial crisis.

The central bank argued that continuing development of financial system meant that circumstances which would require Australia to call upon our gold holdings for economic reasons looked increasingly remote.

Idiots.

Or traitors.

In either case, the RBA should be disbanded.

End the RBA.

Follow the lead of Hugo Chavez.

Foreign Investors Spooked, See Risks Down Under

28 Jun

From the Sunday Telegraph:

Greece isn’t the only country giving investors the jitters.

While Australia’s challenges pale in comparison to those currently plaguing the debt-laden European nation, they are still spooking foreign investors who are taking their money out of our share market and running.

According to the national accounts, released this week, foreign investors sold $1.9 billion of Australian equities in net terms in the March quarter. This compares to the December quarter where they bought $28.5 billion of equities.

Economists believe foreign investors – the bulk of whom come from the US and increasingly Asia – are seeing Australia as a risky option for their cash due to concerns over our minority government, to interest rate rises and the carbon tax.

Concerns about a two-speed economy and the housing market are also scaring off overseas investors, according to AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

“There has been a lot of commentary from overseas that foreign investors are worried house prices here will drop and that that would adversely affect our banks and consumer spending,” he said.

“What also worries them is that a minority government means less certain policymaking. “On the carbon tax, they are concerned it could be implemented in a way that may adversely affect Australian mining or coal companies compared to say mining companies in other countries or that it may be too heavy-handed and adversely affect the economy.”

Mr Oliver said the jitters from foreign investors had contributed to the Australian share market under-performing global markets of late.

“Global shares have had a correction of about 7 per cent whereas our market has had a correction of around 10.5 per cent,” he said.

“You have this messy global backdrop, but because Australia has its own issues our market has come down a bit more than global markets.”

Mr Oliver said investors had been playing Australia more through the high dollar than the share market.

Foreign investors upping sticks was a wake-up call to the federal government, particularly on the carbon tax front, [Commsec economist] Mr James said.

Australia’s Property Bubble: It’s Here

27 Mar

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

It’s official: 60 per cent of investors believe Australia has a property bubble. A confluence of housing shortages, low interest rates, speculative fervour and last year’s move by the Rudd Government to relax foreign ownership rules on real estate have turbo-charged house prices.

This is all scary stuff.  Investors played a key role in expanding the property bubble through the late 90s. In 1990 investment loans represented 16 per cent of Australian mortgages at $13 billion. By 2008 that figure had ballooned 2400 per cent to $310 billion, or 31 per cent of total mortgages. Investor attitudes matter.

The survey revealed, however, that moral hazard may be much larger than investors themselves admit, with 42 per cent expecting the Rudd Government to introduce another round of first home buyer grants if the current boom shows signs of ending.

The increase in foreign purchases also cannot be under estimated, following the decision last March by the federal government to relax its rules on property ownership. This abolished mandatory reporting of such acquisitions in a bid to ”enhance flexibility in the market”.

Before the change, foreign investment in Australian residential property had already started increasing, up 33 per cent to $20.4 billion. It is not known what the figures stand at in 2010 but there are suggestions that more than 30 per cent of homes auctioned are purchased by foreign speculators. If this is the case, it will dramatically add to the property bubble.

It is a potential political time bomb. Numerous readers have written in complaining that they are being priced out of the market by overseas bidders…

Another Investor Pulse reader wrote: “So much for Rudd’s ‘working families’. Australians should get priority over foreign investors for what limited housing we have. How can Australians compete when Chinese borrow at home at 1 per cent? The Australian property market is strong and doesn’t need to be propped up. The Government should act now to stop this misguided and UN-Australian policy. Shame on you, Mr Rudd, for selling out on Working Families.”

Barnaby Joyce is the only Australian politician who has been brave enough to endure smears and criticism, by daring to question the Rudd Government’s relaxing policies on foreign investment.

Here’s just one of Senator Joyce’s press releases on the topic from last year,  “FIRB Changes – Australia’s Sovereignty At Risk“:

Senator Joyce today called on Treasurer Wayne Swan to re think his undermining of the present system of reviewing foreign investments and takeovers.

Mr Swan’s announcement should sound very loud alarm bells to anyone concerned with maintaining Australia’s sovereignty over its resources and business interests given that  Mr Swan plans to remove  Foreign Investment Review Board supervision of over 20 percent of all business applications currently reviewed by the board.

This effective sidelining of the FIRB relating to a substantial number of applications is deeply troubling as it removes a long standing and much needed level of accountability and transparency of foreign investment in Australia particularly by individual investors from countries such as the Peoples Republic of China.

It is astounding Mr Swan would seek to punch such a big hole in Australia’s foreign review processes, leaving the back door wide open for foreign interests to buy Australia paddock by paddock, business by business without any accountability to the Australian people.

Unfortunately for Australia each of the announced measures will allow that hole to get bigger to the detriment of Australia’s sovereignty and its national interest.

Yet again, Barnaby is the only one who is on the ball.

UPDATE:

From The Age:

Foreign buyers inflating market

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says foreign buyers are a factor in rising house prices.

Mr Stevens said the bank was monitoring how much the federal government’s decision last March to relax its rules on foreigners owning property had contributed to surging prices for housing.

He said the role of foreign purchases was ”an important one and it’s one we’re giving some attention to”.

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