Sunday, June 11, 2017


Apart  from  the Indian billionaire  Adani  family   angling for a  billion  bucks from the  $5billion  Northern Australian  Infrastructure  Facility, perhaps getting a special   royalties  deal , a  massive free  water  draw off  from  the  artesian  aquifer  for  the  proposed    Carmichael  mega   coalmine in Queensland , it now   seems  the    Chinese  company , Landbridge ,  in  which a   billionaire is a   key player ,  which was   incredibly  given  a  99-year lease  of  Port Darwin , much to the disbelief and anger  of the Pentagon ,  is also   rattling  a  begging  bowl   for  a  slice  of  the  same  kitty .
It is not the same  smelly  kitty  served up to  Senator  Sam Dastyari  in the  revelations about  Chinese  influence  in  politics  in   Australia ?  The superb Four Corners-Fairfax   report about the   Chinese  influence and manipulation  raised  the fact that  former Trade Minister  Andrew  Robb , who, soon after leaving  politics , landed a  job  as  a high level economic consultant with Landbridge , getting a  cool $73,000 a month , including GST . Or  nearly $900,000 a  year  !!!!!!!!  
 It has been  likened to  having a  winning  pak-a-pu Chinese lottery   ticket  every month  or 12 Chinese  New  Year   celebrations  all  in  one ,  year  after  year .  
As you would expect , this  astonishingly well  paid  job   is the subject of much  discussion in Darwin  drinking establishments ,  where Mick Dundee and his uncouth  mates conduct  lurid , outrageous conversations , sprinkled with  many WTFs . How much each month  ???? WTF!!!!!!!Of course, there is no suggestion Robb did  anything  untoward in taking  up  this  job . 
That  devilish  Australian Finance Review  cartoonist, David Rowe, whom many  politicians would  like to  insert   bamboo shoots  under   his  fingernails  and  subject   him to Chinese  water torture , or  acceptable free world  US  waterboarding , included   Robb   and   Senator  Dastyari  in  the great  piece below ,  shown on the ABC Insiders,  which caused  an  outbreak  of  mirth  across  the  angry  nation  .
For  those with  poor eyesight  , no television  and  only get what passes for news in regional  Murdoch  papers  that  span  the  nation  ,  the  scene  shows The Long (Chinese) March from  the  Australian Parliament to  a  remunerative   job   with  China.
  Senator Dastyari  is depicted  hanging like an albino  Peking Duck in the window of Sammy's Kitchen , next  to the  Parliament House exit  door,  outside which  is a coin operated kangaroo automaton with  a Chinese panda  bear in its pouch; nearby is a traffic parking   sign   which  states  parking between the  ministerial guidelines  operates  from nine to  five , Monday to Friday ;    footprints  lead  from  Parliament  House  to   Robb  knocking on the  red door marked  China , a box  of   bits and pieces  from when he was  a minister  under his arm; is that a Commonwealth car  parked nearby , a flying  pig  its mascot ? ; what could be taken as the  eyes of  an ASIO  officer  are  in the drain   ???  WTF  does this  all this mean  ????  
The  glug, glug heard all the way to  Washington .  Former Chief Minister Giles celebrating with  Ye Cheng  when the Landbridge  deal for  the lease of the port   was  announced . All of  Canberra  was out  to  a  long lunch  at  the  time . 
The  Country Liberal  Party government in the Territory  , headed  by Chief  Minister Adam Giles ,   tossed out on its ear at  the  last  election,  signed the port  deal with  Landbridge   and in  doing so  took a  20  per cent  holding  in the venture .

The share would  not result in any  profit for the NT Government-it would simply have a  say-and  an attempt would  be made to transfer  it to an Australian company .

 The former NT Chief Minister Adam  Giles  now  rides  the range  for  mining  magnate  Gina Rinehart ,  Australia's answer   to  the cattle  queen   Barbara  Stanwyck  in the  l960s TV series , The Big Valley ,  buying  up  pastoral properties , with  links  to   China  on  several  fronts.

Now Landbridge has  been reported  as  saying it  has  asked  NAIF for some funding for the port development .  Some  cynics  say the company , like  Adani , may  be  having difficulty getting  finance  from  conventional sources due to the fact that  the US government is against the lease , especially as  an increasing number of  US  Marines are using  Darwin  and  there is talk of  even  basing  bombers  there  to  keep a  check  on  Chinese  expansion .

Like Adani , Landbridge is saying it has already spent a lot of money ,  $10 million ,  and that  if  the NT retained  its  20 percent  share  it would be a  win-win situation ... It could also be seen as a lever  to  justify  a loan  from  NAIF  as  the   Territory  is   facing  tough   times .   

Interestingly , the June 7 edition of  the Financial Review  said  Landbridge, in difficulties with "  its  ailing Australian" operations,  had applied    to the  Chinese  Export-Import Bank (EXIM) for a  $500 million  loan , using the  port  lease  as  an asset . The report  said that in  the event   that  Landbridge defaulted on such a loan, the  port  could  revert  back to  Territory ownership, the  Foreign Investment  Review Board  also could step in . 
In  respect of  Landbridge's   proposed  hotel  project, a  group  long active  in protecting Darwin from  building and planning excesses , the Planning Action Network (PLAN ) , has  lodged  a  protest about  the  first subdivision  stage of the  proposed  hotel  project .
PLAN convenor Margaret Clinch wrote  to the Development   Consent Authority saying  further    time  was  needed   for greater  public  consultation to examine  the development's implications , including security issues related  to Chinese investment  raised  by Four Corners.

The application had been  quickly withdrawn 14  days  after exhibition so that   her organisation  and   the general public were no  longer  able to see it . Furthermore, the  planning  notice had  not been   placed in a position where many  members of the general public would   have seen it , the implications realised . 

Ms  Clinch was  quoted on the ABC as  saying  the Planning Institute, the City of Darwin, and an unidentified business person also had concerns regarding the consideration  scheduling  of the application. The development , she added, was at odds with  the  Waterfront Area  Plan.