SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCES
MEMBER FOR HUNTER
MADELEINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE
MEMBER FOR BRAND
Labor is deeply concerned by reports that Chinese authorities are planning to halt imports of Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, coal, copper, barley and timber.
Scott Morrison must stand up for Australian exporters. If any country, including China, unreasonably blocks our exports we must call them out.
Mr Morrison must explain to the Australian people what these new restrictions mean for jobs, what he is going to do to help our exporters.
Labor understands the relationship with China is increasingly complex. It is a relationship that must be managed in the national interest and not for partisan political interests.
Mr Morrison has failed to deliver leadership on the China relationship and has failed to admonish inflammatory behaviour by his backbenchers that has made a bad situation worse.
It’s hard-working Australians who pay the price.
The most recent example of Mr Morrison failing to provide leadership was when Liberal Senator Eric Abetz questioned the loyalty of Australians of Chinese heritage.
At the same time, the Government has downgraded the importance of the Trade portfolio.
Australia needs a Trade Minister who can devote the requisite time and energy to find solutions for our trade problems with China.
Under this Government, Australia has become more reliant on China as an export market.
Despite ongoing and foreseeable bilateral tensions, Scott Morrison still has no plan to support Australian exporters or to make trade diversification a national priority.
Instead, Mr Morrison is leaving Australian exporters to go it alone.