A nationwide poll conducted last year found that 90% of Australians think it is risky to lease the Port of Darwin to Chinese interests.
In 2015 the government sparked concern in Washington DC by signing a controversial 99-year lease to China’s Landbridge Group.
The poll, carried out by the US State Department, found that half of Australians thought there was “a lot of risk” attached to the deal, while 9 out 10 thought it posed at least “some risk”.
The US regularly rotates its marines through Darwin, and the region is also home to two thirds of Australia’s fighting strength. Security experts have suggested that if the international situation deteriorated in future decades, China could exploit the port for sabotage or espionage purposes.
Earlier this month Chinese warships were spotted conducting naval drills close to Australia’s Christmas Island, in another sign of the China’s assertiveness.
And the battle for our ports isn’t even over. Now a Chinese state-owned company is trying to buy a massive stake in Newcastle Port: the world’s biggest coal export terminal and a completely unique Australian asset.
The question remains, why does the government continue to sell our ports to China?