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Why Malcolm Turnbull is nearly right

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, December 12th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, International, Japan - Tags:

Last Friday, China’s foreign ministry in Beijing issued the strongest rebuke yet of the Australian Prime Minister’s view that Chinese interference was the justification for its tough new security laws.

“This kind of statement caters to the irresponsible reports by the Australian media that are biased against China, absolutely clutching at straws, purely fabricated and poisoning the atmosphere of China Australian relations”, said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

It seems that China’s leaders have now forsaken Deng Xiaoping’s advice to tao guang yang hui (“keep a low profile”). In declaring a “new era” for China during October’s 19th National Congress in Beijing, President Xi Jinping presented the Chinese system of governance as a model for other countries to emulate. Leaders who “want to speed up their development while preserving their independence,” Xi said, should look to China as a new option.

Prime Minister Turnbull responded forthrightly:

Modern China was founded in 1949 with these words, ‘The Chinese people have stood up’. It was an assertion of sovereignty, it was an assertion of pride. And we stand up and so we say, the Australian people stand up.”

Under Turnbull’s proposed law, it would become a crime for a person to act on behalf of a foreign principal to influence a political or governmental process in a manner that is either covert or involves deception.

Yet Australia should pay just as much attention to authoritarian economic development. And so should New Zealand. New Zealand’s international relations cannot simply bob from China to Europe and back like the over-sprung head of a porcelain dog grinning from the back of a car.

It’s only worth worrying about China for its influence over our media or our politics or our economy if we are also going to do a root-and-branch reassessment of the full influence of British and U.S.A. influence over New Zealand foreign policy, military engagement policies, military bases, aid policy in the Pacific, intelligence sharing, trade policy, foreign direct investment, etc, over the past century including now. Which would be only fair.

No, the reason we need to be worried about China is the temptation to adopt its authoritarian development model.

China’s leaders believe their version of economic and political organisation is superior to Western systems, and have been advocating for a “new era” of non-democratic governance. We need to fight this model together with Australia, head on. But Australia too needs to broaden its emphasis.

China is trying to assert its own version of non-democratic governance on the region, but flatly denies it and consistently asserts its own version. Developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, seem awestruck by this possibility. China’s official news agency, Xinhua, has even suggested that as the West’s democracies falter, “enlightened Chinese democracy” could offer a path forward.

China’s model comprises a number of key characteristics, including authoritarian governance buttressed by the perception of stability; state-guided industrial policy and finance; massive infrastructure investments; rural industrialization backed by small-scale agriculture; and openness to foreign trade and technology. This model has, no doubt, produced rapid economic growth in China over the last three decades, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

But the implication that the first ingredient – authoritarianism – is necessary for rapid development is the characteristic of the Chinese system that should give us the greatest pause.

Consider China’s East Asian neighbors – in particular, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Each has achieved high growth through state-guided industrial policy, rural industrialization, and openness to trade. See in particular Kohli’s State Directed Development.

Japan achieved these objectives within the framework of its postwar democracy, and South Korea and Taiwan have been (largely) democracies for three decades. Anti-democratic authoritarianism, in other words, served no necessary modernizing role, although those countries and others like Singapore had periods of weak democracy and very strong single party regimes.

Democracy, particularly New Zealand’s MMP variant and Australia’s intensely layered public governance – is exasperatingly slow and often contentious. It also amplifies many public issues often well beyond their actual worth. But it enables issues to be heard in public and considered. Compare New Zealand’s recent settlement of Uruwera lands to the Chinese handling of Tibetans and Uighurs. Not only did the New Zealand Police apologise fulsomely for their offences, the entire Uruwera National Park was handed back. You can’t design perfect process through democratic instruments alone, but China’s approach is simply cruel.

We might also like to think that crises need massive executive power to be dealt with. Premier Xi brought to bear all he could in 2015 to stop a run on the sharemarket, and it was a complete fail costing the state hundreds of billions of dollars. Once foreign reserves held by the People’s Bank of China stopped flowing to struggling SOE’s, the market fell to the same low levels as before intervention.

Both New Zealand and Japan have recently dealt with massive civil defence emergencies, with minimal democratic concern, and reached for pure executive power only in highly proscribed moments.

Absence of democratic sunlight in China has also led to rampant corruption that has taken over a decade to root out, food safety scares that have cost Fonterra dearly, toxic pollution, and efforts to combat them all under Xi merely cover for utterly destroying his rivals.

As China’s economy becomes more complex, the absence of transparent and accountable governance processes, combined with frequent crackdowns on civil society and efforts to enforce conformity and discipline, will ultimately stifle entrepreneurship and innovation. You can’t get Google or Facebook in China, and there is no way we could debate like this in an open Chinese site without risk of arrest.

China will remain as self-righteous as the United States in its unwillingness to reform, but that should not stop us for one moment telling them why our public institutions are superior than theirs, and our reflexive and gradual democracy is also in their interests. In the face of a global retreat in democracy, the remaining strong democracies need to be a lot more assertive about why they are right and the rest are wrong.

Democratic governments, for all their messiness, are less fragile, as they draw their legitimacy from pluralism and political contestation, rather than from high economic growth or nationalist appeals. Judicial decisions overturning President Donald Trump’s arbitrary travel bans in the United States, or similar rebukes of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to criminalize dissent, are examples of how institutional autonomy strengthens the resilience of democratic political systems. China on the other hand is simply brittle.

In other words, for all its allure, the Chinese model is deficient in some basic respects and is not easily reproducible in others. Malcolm Turnbull is nearly right. The full Chinese authoritarian model should be at the core of the resistance that Turnbull has started and Ardern needs to consider.

27 comments on “Why Malcolm Turnbull is nearly right ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    From the “Turnbull’s Proposed Law” article.

    the high court had upheld a state-wide ban on political donations from property developers

    That sounds delicious! Can I have one too?

    The National Party is also an authoritarian and corrupt tool for developers. We may need to solve that problem first.

    • Zorb6 1.1

      I guess property developers will just have to change the name of their vocation then.At least here, we have an ex Chinese spy trainer in Parliament to caution us against Chinese interference in NZ.

  2. cleangreen 2

    “In the face of a global retreat in democracy, the remaining strong democracies need to be a lot more assertive about why they are right and the rest are wrong.”

    Yes China is an expansionist dictatorial power that we need to be take with caution seriously now!!!

    Since we have seen them buying into many countries; – as they “print their own money” to buy the world!!!!!

    While we pay them interest to rent their fake printed money; – what a dumb bunch we are.

    We should now be printing our own money to bpay for our badly needed homes, rail and health issues.

    • Unicus 2.1

      Absolutely true – China’s government is comparable to a stand-over racketeer .

      By introducing statutory barriers to Chinese imperialisim Turnbull takes New Zealands anti- forign ownership policy’s to a new and urgently required level .

      Under Andrew Littles leadership the Labour Party courageously introduced its Policy while English and the National Party behaved like like spineless quisling’s

      We stood up to the US over our nuclear free policy and the French over Muroroa
      New Zealand and Australia must certainly stand up to the Bejing hoodlums in defence of our precious democratic system of government

  3. Ed 3

    The National Party has become a branch office for the Chinese communist party.

    • Stunned Mullet 3.1

      Congratulations Ed you have taken DTBs crown as the most fatuous commenter at The Standard.

      You give me great laugh on a daily basis.

    • Sanctuary 3.2

      I hear you. The thing is, the Nats only worship money. They’d sell their granny to a pet food processing plant in China if they thought it would get them a seat on the board. They certainly don’t care about our culture and people (how quaint, valuing local culture and ethnic identity in the globalised era they think!) and they sure as hell can’t imagine being loyal to an idea over taking the filthy lucre from Beijing.

      But then, every country has a significant class of potential collaborators. Here, they mostly join National.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    “…China’s model comprises a number of key characteristics, including authoritarian governance buttressed by the perception of stability; state-guided industrial policy and finance; massive infrastructure investments; rural industrialization backed by small-scale agriculture; and openness to foreign trade and technology…”

    You forgot to add, the planned cultural genocide of any subject peoples unfortunate enough to fall under the none-to-tender mercies of the murderous Chinese Communist party. The fate of the Uighur and Tibetan peoples and their cultures should be a salutary warning to us as to the fate of cultural minorities that China can get control of.

  5. Grafton Gully 5

    Te Urewera

  6. Bill 6

    Well, I guess if you can’t peddle nonsense about a “troll army” (numbering 400) being a threat to your “democracy”, then you have to find other stories – like a China as “yellow Peril”. ‘Cause gotta weave that ever tighter net around thems little fishes.

    What exactly was the accusation Australia made (or Australian media made) re Chinese interference Ad? I can’t see any specifics in the post or through the links.

    State directed economic develop certainly seems to work, but it’s anathema from the perspective of western corporations. All those walled off areas of social provision that (in the case of health service) could be bled out quite nicely – if only they could be pried open to competition.

    I can’t see China going down any perestoika route. Given the experience of the USSR, that’s understandable. And a quick look at the fate of countries who had state directed economic development, and who resisted opening their markets to western corporations is instructive – Libya, Iraq and Syria are the more obvious recent examples.

    I’d quite welcome NZ adopting social democratic economic priorities in lieu of liberal ones. I’ve argued for it, but can’t see it happening in NZ any time soon for reasons I won’t re-hash here. But yes, the idea that state directed economic activity requires authoritarianism doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Though, as already mentioned, the circling vultures of free market financiers are waiting to glide down and feast on newly opened markets, whether those markets have opened by way of a political shift (as USSR and others) or been blown open by war (Iraq etc)

    You assert that democracy is on the retreat. Well the reaction of media and other establishment institutions to the seemingly ever growing popularity of Corbyn is definitely worth noting in any conversation about democracy and/or the retreat of democracy. Who knows? It might even lead one to suspect that the “democracy” one is anxious to preserve is actually the barrier to democracy flourishing.

    • Ad 6.1

      Our own experience of state-directed corporations is mixed at best. Some great and enduring like ACC, some like Solid Energy just royal fuckups.

      I’ll give you just a taste of the contest in play over in Australia right now.

      Here’s Turnbull outlining exactly what is in the proposed legislation, and spells out why:

      https://www.sbs.com.au/news/what-is-really-in-australia-s-new-foreign-interference-laws

      This ASIO assessment is where a lot of Turnbull’s concern has come from. It was tabled in the Australian Parliament in October.
      https://www.asio.gov.au/sites/default/files/Annual%20Report%202016-17.pdf

      ABC has itself been tracking the influence:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-04/the-chinese-communist-partys-power-and-influence-in-australia/8584270

      There’s some coverage of the response to that influence here:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-15/chinese-intrusion-on-western-universities-sparks-action/9048456

      For more direct democratic influence, see Labor’s Dayastri recently on warning specific Chinese staff that they may be tapped, and on his receiving payments:

      http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/screws-tighten-on-sam-dastyari-as-labor-elders-weigh-in-20171211-h02ly9.html

      The Sydney Morning Herald has a useful three part series that details Chinese payments to their politicians in a fair amount of detail, and links it to the ASIO assessment:

      …outlines the soft power policy and intent of China to Australia here…
      http://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2017/chinas-operation-australia/soft-power.html

      …details the payments to some of their politicians here…

      http://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2017/chinas-operation-australia/hard-power.html

      …and all the local compradors you could wish for detailed here:

      http://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2017/chinas-operation-australia/the-go-betweens.html

      There’s plenty more where that came from, but that should give you a taster.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Bar the 154 page report from ASIO that I’m not trawling through, all those other links give the impression of media and government blowing smoke out its arse.

        There is the alleged harassment of Chinese students/dissidents in Australia. Which crap though it may be, isn’t interference in internal Australian affairs.

        Most of the rest adds up to tittle tattle running in parallel with this tosh which includes reference to all the expected bullshit and nonsense

        He (Turnbull) added that the laws were “not all about China”, citing Russia’s reported meddling in the Brexit vote and US and French elections; as well as alleged overseas operations by Iran and North Korea.

        He said the laws are not about the loyalties of Australians born elsewhere, and “there is no place for racism or xenophobia in our country.”

        You gotta laugh at the last bit, aye? Well, after you’ve picked yourself up off the floor from reading the first bit that is.

        Now, given the gagging of academics and the civil service (at least in NZ, and I suspect in Australia too), this bit might split your sides if the last bit failed to hit home.

        The silencing of anyone in our society from students to lecturers to politicians is an affront to our values,” Ms Adamson told the Confucius Institute at Adelaide University.

        What the fck has that got to do with China, you may well ask? Well, you won’t find out from reading the rest of the article, and you won’t be any the wiser for reading links connected to it either. But rest assured…

        Her contribution has been noted by senior government figures and the diplomatic community as a deliberate and important acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation.

        To reiterate, no “situation” grave or otherwise is presented or explained. But ijust remember that it’s grave…and the government’s on to it.

        Then we have Senator Dastyari who has the audacity to have a different view to the Labor Party on the South China Sea and suggested that meeting pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong might be a bad idea . So he’s being silenced (re-read quote above, aye?) and accused of being a “double agent” by Peter Dutton and (it seems) pushed out of politics. And yes..or maybe…anyway, he apparently told someone who is not named that their phone may be tapped. I guess it was, seeing as how we’re hearing about it! And sure, lets all throw our arms in the air…because the unnamed person is apparently a very rich Chinese national with links to the CPC!

        Then we have Sheri Yan who networked between Chinese and Australian businesses and people and something about bribery in the UN. And to cap it off we have Australian links back to China Gate.

        That’s 1996 we’re talking about btw.

        So in all of that, there may be something around a Labor Senator who doesn’t toe the party line (Oh! The irony!) who has some independent thoughts/opinions.

        The sky. is falling. in.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          I read the relevant part of ASIO’s report.

          During this reporting period, we continued to identify and investigate harmful espionage and foreign interference directed against Australia.

          Due to the scale of the activities directed at Australia, we could not investigate all activities of potential concern. We rigorously prioritised our efforts, pursuing activities that represented the greatest potential harm to Australian interests.

          Our analysis of reports received through the whole-of-government Contact Reporting Scheme (CRS) generated new leads into potential foreign intelligence activity.

          So that’s as clear as mud.

          Frankly I’d be astonished if the People’s Liberation Army weren’t conducting ‘intelligence’ operations in Australia, and vice-versa. And doing their best to disrupt said operations.

          Spying being a humanitarian act, after all.

          It must be easier for China’s rivals, though, given the nature of the internal dissent they can exploit.

  7. Grafton Gully 7

    “As China’s economy becomes more complex, the absence of transparent and accountable governance processes, combined with frequent crackdowns on civil society and efforts to enforce conformity and discipline, will ultimately stifle entrepreneurship and innovation.”

    In this year’s Deloitte AsiaPac Technology Fast 500 China is a top performer under the current regime.
    “Awardees are selected for the Technology Fast 500 ranking based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth over three years. Of the companies ranked, China continues to dominate in the region, claiming five companies in the top 10 and 119 in the top 500”

    https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/technology-fast-500-apac.html

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    The extent to which the apparatus of a notionally democratic society can be perverted to private or corporate ends, as became apparent under the Key kleptocracy, somewhat subverts the objections to an authoritarian state as such.

    If a muscular new administration were to propose to audit public office holders of the last thirty years and to free them of their burdens of misappropriated public wealth we might find we could tolerate a surprising degree of benign autocracy.

    The objection to Chinese state influence, from my perspective, is that it is not benign. Like the equally despicable TPPA, it works in the interests of persons or corporations outside New Zealand, and not infrequently against our interests. And we should not tolerate it for a moment.

  9. Philg 9

    Turnbull has major survival issues within his own government and is finding other issues to distract. The MSM in Oz are giving him a few months, 6 tops.

  10. It’s only worth worrying about China for its influence over our media or our politics or our economy if we are also going to do a root-and-branch reassessment of the full influence of British and U.S.A. influence over New Zealand foreign policy, military engagement policies, military bases, aid policy in the Pacific, intelligence sharing, trade policy, foreign direct investment, etc, over the past century including now. Which would be only fair.

    And which we should actually be doing.

    No, the reason we need to be worried about China is the temptation to adopt its authoritarian development model.

    We already have an authoritarian development model it’s just hidden behind the rhetoric of competition and I doubt the people who benefit from it want to change that.

    China’s model comprises a number of key characteristics, including authoritarian governance buttressed by the perception of stability; state-guided industrial policy and finance; massive infrastructure investments; rural industrialization backed by small-scale agriculture; and openness to foreign trade and technology. This model has, no doubt, produced rapid economic growth in China over the last three decades, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

    And is very similar to what the Western democracies used to push development until the neo-liberal takeover that has seen our development stagnate to a large degree. We really should be manufacturing TVs and other stuff here in NZ.

    But the implication that the first ingredient – authoritarianism – is necessary for rapid development is the characteristic of the Chinese system that should give us the greatest pause.

    You seem to be getting confused about just what authoritarianism is. A dictatorial system, like China, is authoritarian but so is our capitalist system that has a representative democracy that mostly represents the desires of business while ignoring the public wishes.

    Absence of democratic sunlight in China has also led to rampant corruption that has taken over a decade to root out…

    Meanwhile, our previous government didn’t even want to do anything about the corruption that is becoming more and more apparent in our own system. In fact, they seemed determined to increase the amount of corruption.

    China will remain as self-righteous as the United States in its unwillingness to reform, but that should not stop us for one moment telling them why our public institutions are superior than theirs, and our reflexive and gradual democracy is also in their interests.

    True, that is what should happen but our own authoritarian government will kowtow to the Chinese. We’ve already seen it time and time again as they try to keep the flow of goods flowing.

    Democratic governments, for all their messiness, are less fragile, as they draw their legitimacy from pluralism and political contestation, rather than from high economic growth or nationalist appeals.

    Did you actually pay attention to what National has been doing over the last nine years? Proclaiming high economic growth and appeals to nationalist rugby and yachting.

    In other words, for all its allure, the Chinese model is deficient in some basic respects and is not easily reproducible in others.

    Actually, authoritarian and dictatorial models are easy to reproduce. That’s why they crop up so much and why National forced it upon Canterbury after ECan didn’t give them what they wanted and then again after the Earthquakes.

    The problem with authoritarian, top down dictatorial models is that the results are almost always bad and usually even fail to address the problems that they were instituted to address. Can make a few people rich and make them feel special though.

    Malcolm Turnbull is nearly right. The full Chinese authoritarian model should be at the core of the resistance that Turnbull has started and Ardern needs to consider.

    Yes and where they should be starting is discussions on stopping trade with China if they don’t become a democracy in short order.

    • Ad 10.1

      Go ahead and spell out why New Zealand is an authoritarian state.

      Thanks I have noticed what the National-led government did over 9 years. They were in a coalition government, of four parties. They were kicked out a few weeks ago by election, when another coalition came in.

      And a little cathode-ray nostalgia for you from Waihi:

      • Go ahead and spell out why New Zealand is an authoritarian state.

        Selling of state assets against the wishes of the people.
        Signing of FTAs – against the wishes of the people.
        The imposition of neo-liberalism – against the wishes of the people.
        The closing down of rail lines – against the wishes of the people.

        The list is long and the thing is this was all done because the capitalists wanted it.

        Thanks I have noticed what the National-led government did over 9 years.

        Then you must have ignored it to make the statement that you did. You said that what National did didn’t happen here despite it actually happening here under National and, to a lesser extent, under Labour as well.

        And a little cathode-ray nostalgia for you from Waihi:

        Yes, we used to do it but then we stopped the development. Some of it’s starting to pick up again but at a much slower pace than necessary and we’re not getting the full infrastructure needed. The two places where government needs to step in and direct development. Just like the US did and does.

        • Ad 10.1.1.1

          You just have a really bad case of confusing “authoritarian” with “I don’t agree with it”. I’ll spell out the differences for you.

          The Oxford English dictionary defines authoritarian as “favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom” or “Showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; dictatorial”. That’s a pretty shallow definition.

          The good old Encyclopedia Britannica has a richer one. It’s defined as:

          “A principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law, and they usually cannot be replaced by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections. The freedom to create opposition political parties or other alternative political groupings with which to compete for power with the ruling group is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.

          So authoritarianism stands in fundamental contrast to democracy.
          It also differs from totalitarianism, since authoritarian governments usually have no highly developed guiding ideology, tolerate some pluralism in social organization, lack the power to mobilize the entire population in pursuit of national goals, and exercise that power within relatively predictable limits.”

          So, apart from all the references I’ve given you in my post, it’s the Britannica definition that gets further towards understanding what constitutes an authoritarian state. China’s political model fits into this definition in a number of key issues.

          Firstly there is clear evidence that China does not have freedom of thought and action as seen among thousands of examples to choose from, in the case of Liu Xiaobo, the political activist who has been a vocal critic of the Chinese regime and who has been imprisoned since 2008 for “inciting subversion of state power”, the fact that Chinese citizens were “detained, interrogated and harassed” in the run up to Human Rights Day in 2008 and famously the Tiananmen Square massacre.

          Secondly, The highest parts of the Chinese leadership cannot be chosen by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections as the system outlined by the Chinese constitution only has citizens voting at the lowest levels of government, with the members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress being elected by the National People’s congress, this is “the highest organ of state power” and Chinese citizens have no control over its members or its decisions.

          The Chinese single party political system is another way in which China falls within the bounds of an authoritarian state, since the freedom to create opposition political parties does not exist, while in the second amendment of the constitution it is implied that China has a multi-party system the rest of the document clearly outlines a system where the Communist Party of China is firmly in charge.

          The next part of the definition that “authoritarian governments usually have no highly developed guiding ideology“ clearly China does not fall into this category as the unique ideology of “socialism with Chinese Characteristics” developed from Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought is a very highly developed guiding ideology.

          The other departure from the encyclopaedia Britannica’s definition is the statement that authoritarian governments lack the power to mobilize the entire population in pursuit of national goals, this clearly does not apply to China as communist China has always been able to mobilise its population, notably during the long march and throughout the Cultural Revolution.
          From the point of view of this definition China is clearly an authoritarian state – however the situation is much more complex and in order to understand China, you need to understand ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’.

          According to the Chinese Government socialism with Chinese characteristics refers to three distinct fronts; the economic fronts where “China sticks to a multi-ownership-oriented basic market economic system, with the public ownership in the dominance.”; its “political fronts, China upholds a system of the People’s Congress, a system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and a system of regional ethnic autonomy.“; and culturally “China keeps its socialist value system at the core of social trends, while respecting differences and expanding common grounds.”

          See: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, 30 September 2007, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90002/92169/92211/6275043.html

          The stuff you listed was in no way authoritarian. It was occasionally deceitful, sure, but then those being deceived still get the chance to vote them in and vote them out from the local board to the health board to the regional councillor to your local MP to the actual party. Which they do.

          China is authoritarian, New Zealand is not.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1

            The stuff you listed was in no way authoritarian.

            Yeah, they actually are because even if we do vote them out and vote for change things don’t change. The present government is still TPPA. That’s the point about a Representative Democracy – it’s still a top down dictatorship. It’s not as authoritarian as China but it’s still authoritarian.

            And then there’s the capitalist business where, if you don’t do as the boss tells you, you get fired even if what he tells you is wrong. Yes, I’m aware that you can then take him to court – if you can afford it.

            We have an authoritarian model which makes some concessions to democracy and freedom.

          • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.1.2

            It really depends which part of the NZ state you encounter. If WINZ is part of your life you might find it very authoritarian indeed – up to and including trying to control your love life – right up there with the one child policy. As the Key government and its media lackeys made abundantly clear, we are only a pro-forma democracy. The entitled few that find their way into parliament have little or no authentic intention to represent us or our interests. It’s a career move for them, or a portfolio one. Justice does not reach down to the street, and enlightened planning is conspicuously absent.

          • D'Esterre 10.1.1.1.3

            Ad: “in order to understand China, you need to understand ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’.”

            In order to understand modern China, my view is that an understanding of Chinese history is more pointful.

  11. NewsFlash 11

    The reason Turnbull MADE THAT STATEMENT was completely political to get at Labor and in particular Sam Dastiary, who resigned today after allegations of trying to influence the Australian Govt for the Chinese, but Mal received a $40k donation only 4 weeks ago from the same Chinese developer that Dastiary was supposedly being influenced by.

    Nothing that Turnbull says at the present time bears any relationship to the truth, he’s pretty much screwed, his Govt has been a total failure on nearly every front.

    The most recent F***up was when the Indigenous ppl asked for recognition and the Govt gave them the opportunity to decide on and then rejected their response, the term Doofus doesn’t even come close to describing him, he then abused a young Aboriginal girl for holding him to account on the ABCs Q+A program last night, twitter went wild with negative responses, the ABC shut down it’s twitter account, it was overloaded.

    Its not the first time the Chinese hierarchy have critisised Turnbull, his comments a few months ago about N Korea, telling Beijing that they must take action immediately and cut off the oil supply, China was not happy with him interfering in their local politics and responded with a damning statement towards him.

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