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Basic logic versus clearly defined national interest

Comments on comments by hc on Peter Drysdale’s “Australia needs to get its act together on China, and fast", 7/06/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/06/07/australia-needs-to-get-its-act-together-on-china-and-fast/

It is not clear to me that your point that this outcome was not politics but basic economics, in conjunction with your other statements. Those statements include: the Rudd Government on this occasion seems to have moved behind the scenes to limit the deal; that deal would have been advantageous to Rio but disastrous for Australia; Rio could have extracted more from Chinalco than BHP.

What your statements mean that the Rudd government played a role in deal the death blow to the Chinalco - Rio deal, against Rio's own interest. If that is not politics but economics, what is politics but not economics? Your arguments seem to defy basic logic, even though they started with a suggestion that Peter Drysdale's analysis seems miss some basic things. I am really puzzled by your construction of an interesting logic.

Very few objective minded people will disagree with you on the point that Australia's foreign investment policy is to safeguard its national interest. But the real questions are: how you define national interest? how you make sure it is non-discriminatory; how transparent your review processes are? whether your review has been used as a political issue rather than done by clearly define national interest criteria?

You say we should make it clear that we won’t allow major Australian resource suppliers to be owned by major consumers of these resources. What is your definition of ownership? None at all, 10%, 15%, 20%, 49% as the QANTAS case, 50% or more, or what? Is it good enough just say no foreign country ownership if there are also customers from that country? Please be more specific and clearer, because that is important and often missed, as in your case.

Further, how do you distinguish an investor from a customer country that is independent of those customers from that country from other investors from non-customer countries? Should they be treated differently or in the same way? Is Telstra the same as or different from Optus in Australia, the same country?

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