Feds can kill Darwin port deal, says academic

p2301-Rolf-GerritsenBy ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Federal Government has the power to knock on the head the 99 year lease the Territory Government issued over the Port of Darwin to a Chinese firm, Landbridge, which has links with the Chinese military.

 

Professor Rolf Gerritsen (pictured) says “the process would be regulatory powers vested to the Defence Minister [Marise Payne] under the Defence (or other) Acts.

 

“These have been used to prevent some Australian companies from exporting to Iran and fines were imposed on those companies that breached those official sanctions. Last year there was some media reporting on that issue.”

 

Prof Gerritsen is the Principal Scientist, Central Australian Research Group (CARG), Northern Institute Charles Darwin University.

 

In response to questions from the Alice Springs News Online he says: “The Minister has the power to override the lease if she wants to use it.

 

“Her power is only subject to the regulations being ratified in the Senate at its next sitting. From memory, regulations have to be ratified within six weeks of issue. So the next date upon which the Senate is sitting is relevant to this question – the Minister may not be able to issue regulations until six weeks before the next sitting, whenever that is.

 

“So she may be laying doggo until that date?”

 

The News put these questions also Ms Payne. A media adviser to her told us we can expect answers early next week.

 

An adviser to Chief Minister Adam Giles also said we will get replies early next week to questions on these issues we put to him early this week.

 

 

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12 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Jan
    Posted January 26, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I’m more concerned US military wants to establish a military presence in the region. Wherever the Yanks are, terrorists start to pop up, and wars break out.
    It’s like they deliberately destabilise a region so they can profit from arms sales.
    Just look at the Middle East with rumours they’re supplying arms to ISIS. Now they want Australians embroiled in another needless conflict like Vietnam?

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  2. Voter
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Phil Walcott expresses an opinion as a candidate for election while others are doing so as private individuals.
    As candidates for election commonly change their minds on issues once elected voters can find it more reliable to try and assess the kind of person the candidate is in deciding whether to vote for them, especially when the coming election may result in an Independent holding the balance of power.

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  3. Phil Walcott
    Posted January 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    @ ED: This has turned into something like a rugby match … every time one of the other team gets tackled, they pass the ball.
    The other team want me to declare my places of work when they won’t ever declare their names or bona fides … how does that work?
    Let’s just make it clear: I am against the process undertaken to secure the 99 year lease. Lack of transparency nor open and honest governance are my points of contention. Who else bid BTW? What was the selection criteria? Let’s focus on the issue not some extrapolation.
    Just for the record: I have never sought pre-selection for nor been granted nomination for a Labor seat in the NT or anywhere else in Australia. Open Port’s “understanding” is misinformed. Please check your “understanding” next time.
    I’ll leave others to make a determination on the essence of my contributions.

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  4. Bruce Francais
    Posted January 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Hey Voter, whoever you are, if you wish to criticise an individual publicly, have enough guts to put your name to your criticism.
    Regardless of whether Phil Wallcott is right or wrong in respect to his views on the lease of the Darwin port to Landbridge (he is correct, as far as I am concerned), he has been been respectful enough to express his views openly.
    You have been an anonymous critic, hence you cannot be taken seriously.

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  5. Voter
    Posted January 15, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Hal Duell makes a valid point when he points out the inconsistency of those objecting to Chinese ownership of Darwin port but not to American troops and bases in Australia.
    Lucy Chang rightly points out the inconsistency in us being open to importation of goods from China (as well as other countries) with very poor worker safety and labour laws when we want cheap product to keep our own cost of living low.
    Unfortunately I am not surprised that Phil Walcott has shown such lack of understanding that his views could be hurtful to people like Lucy and her sister.
    Nor am I surprised that he reveals himself to be just like so many other politicians who treat those who disagree with their views with language that is demeaning and disrespectful.
    I felt reading his post that he was not only contemptuous of what Lucy and her sister were trying to say but was also attempting to intimidate and bully her with a veiled threat of legal action.
    Was this also meant to intimidate others from publicly disagreeing with him too? Considering Phil Walcott is calling for “transparency” perhaps he could explain what kind of private practice he operates so his behaviour and views can be put in context?
    Phil Walcott has not said which educational institution he works for … and anyone else wanting to protect themselves, their family or their employer should be able to contribute respectfully with whatever degree of anonymity they feel is prudent.

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  6. Phil Walcott
    Posted January 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    @ Lucy Chang. Where is your evidence (not supposition or innuendo) that I ever sought pre-selection for the Labor Party?
    Be very careful of what you accuse people of based on “he said … she said” fabrications. You won’t find any evidence because your lame assertion is incorrect. You should refrain from making statements that could attract a libel suit. I welcome your apology via this medium over the course of the next week.
    For the record, I work very hard in my private practice and in a public education institution to provide funding in my endeavour to be elected as the next Braitling MLA.
    As an Independent who has to fund their own campaign, I pride myself on what I’m learning along the way and look forward to delivering what I can to achieve for the people in the electorate.

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  7. Lucy Chang
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 6:20 am

    @ Phil Walcott: Open Port is my sister and she has said everything she wants to say to you; she also works very hard and doesn’t spend her time on social media hoping someone will give her a job … unlike you.
    You sound very desperate to get on the gravy train and get a well paid government job. However, you do not sound sincere to me as I understand you once stood for pre-selection for a political party and that was the Labor Party – that makes you a Labor Party person.
    It is you who is therefore insincere with a lack of transparency and diminished integrity. If you were a business selling yourself as product I think consumer affairs would be looking at you.
    There are many verbal attacks on Asian people in this country for absolutely no reason whatsoever. We are not spies, nor here to undermine the country – or to attach a tugboat to the Port of Darwin and tow it back to China. Get some perspective and have a bit of respect for other countries, imperfect though they might be.

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  8. Hal Duell
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    And if the Feds kill this deal, won’t we just go to the top of the list of desirable, dependable, trustworthy and man-of-their-word trading partners?
    When those objecting to the lease of Darwin Port to a Chinese company object just as loudly to a US Marine base in Darwin, then I will stop imagining their reasoning is not a throwback to that old “Yellow Peril”.
    China is knitting together an interconnected central, south-east and north Asia through road, rail, maritime and pipeline infrastructure. Why wouldn’t we want to be part of that? It is where we live.

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  9. Phil Walcott
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    It’s an indication of insincerity, lack of transparency and diminished integrity when “Open Port” doesn’t have the courage of their convictions to leave their real name on their contribution.
    All we know about them (from said letter) is that they are Chinese in origin (as are many Centralians spanning the past 150 years).
    The only other thing we might espouse from their contribution is that they view my Independent status with some disdain, they don’t like the Labor Party and probably support the CLP.
    Then again, they might support the new player purported to be coming onto the field. They certainly don’t sound like a Greens supporter.
    My concern with this trade deal goes to the lack of consultation with the people of the NT about how the deal that was negotiated (never mind the “commercial-in-confidence” rubbish) and what it might mean for our national security over the next century.
    I wonder what the NT will look like in 2115 when / if 80% of Darwin Port is handed back? Will the NT even exist? My concerns go to the corrupt political regime that runs China (and its businesses) along with human rights abuses that are perpetrated against its people on a daily basis.
    Look at how the Olympic Games attempted to cover up the reality of poverty in the country.
    I have no problem with the Chinese people. What I do have a problem with is the Chinese Government. Chinese people are a long-established, intricate and embodied presence woven into the fabric that is Alice Springs, Central Australia and the Northern Territory. May it long continue.

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  10. The Barkly Magpie
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    It must be an election year again – the knuckle-dragging mouth breathers are back on the keyboards.
    It doesn’t matter how logical or sensible a discussion is, just jump on the blog and scream xenophobia, racism, mysogeny or whatever else you think of, distort the truth as much as possible then scream “Labor”.
    We will be getting all the old favourites – can’t be trusted, soft on crime, Labor in independent clothing, union mates, socialists, communists, heathens, pagans, bestial innuendo – anything except reasonable discussion.
    By the way, happy new year Phil – you are not included in the preceding rant.

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  11. Open Port
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    The Feds no doubt can do this as the NT is not a state and Canberra rules. However, wasn’t it Canberra that approved the deal in the first place, so are they likely to pull the plug?
    If China is so offensive to us, is it not hypocritical to deal with them at all? Let’s have no more cheap goods. When Bunnings, Woolies, Coles, K-Mart, Target and all the clothing retails have been reduced to the level of the 1950s corner shops selling goods at many, many times the present price, then can we all sit back and sigh … good job – got rid of the Chinese.
    However, China is not an enemy of Australia – it is a very important trade partner and it is suggested the property market here would not be doing so well without Chinese investment.
    Also, do not underestimate the insult to Asians living in China or here (such as myself) if that plug is pulled. We often receive bad press, some deserved but mostly not.
    I can say one thing with certainty and that is – hell will freeze over before you get my vote Mr Labor Party man standing as an “Independent” Phil Walcott.

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  12. Phil Walcott
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Good on Rolf … ever the balanced and perceptive perspective. If the good Minister is in a position to do so, she should overturn this inferior dash for cash by the incumbent inept and incompetent minority government to add to their election warchest as soon as possible. I have a feeling the Senate would endorse her decision.
    Let’s hope next week brings some good news.
    Phil Walcott
    IndependeNT Candidate for Braitling

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