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Australia and How the Corona Crisis Raises Wider Geopolitical Issues

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The coronavirus pandemic that is currently causing enormous social and economic disruption is curious for a number of reasons.

The first controversy is the actual location of the beginning of the virus. It should not be a matter of controversy, much less the outrageous allegations that have been made. Those allegations, naming China as the source of the pandemic, have primarily come from the United States and some loyal allies such as Australia. The more evidence that emerges however, the more dubious that allegation becomes, yet it has not led to any tempering of the criticism of China by United States President Trump and various members of his government, notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

This criticism is loyally repeated in the Australian mainstream media where the anti-China rhetoric is, to put it mildly, highly inflammatory. Given that China is Australia’s largest trading partner (three times the size of the next largest, Japan) and that China is also the largest source of foreign students at Australian universities; the largest source of foreign tourists (supplanting New Zealand in 2019) and the third largest source of foreign investment, to say that such vituperative criticism is counter-productive to Australia’s vital economic interests is an understatement.

This going out on a limb to criticise such a vital partner in trade and much else would appear on the face of it to be counter intuitive. The explanation for such self-defeating conduct must lie in Australia’s extraordinary obeisance to the United States’ worldview, especially as it affects foreign relations.

The explanation for this behaviour is not something that is ever discussed in any depth in the Australian mainstream media. This reticence is only partly explained by the ownership of the mainstream print media, 70% owned by Australian born but United States citizen Rupert Murdoch’s company. That a major country could even allow such a degree of foreign ownership of its media is a topic in itself, but not one that is ever discussed in the Australian media.

Apart from the media ownership structure, and with it the power to influence public access to information and in turn voting habits, there are other influences. In 1975 the then Labor government of Gough Whitlam was displaced in what can only be described as a constitutional coup. Later, evidence revealed that the man who dismissed the government, then Governor........

© New Eastern Outlook

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