Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Zizi Averill
Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Zizi Averill

Call for PM to pull Christensen ‘into line’ over China

DAWSON MP George Christensen has been accused of causing "diplomatic incidents" with China amid concerns over coal imports.

Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to pull Mr Christensen "into line" over his "campaign against China" in recent months.

The concerns were raised after it was revealed that throughput volumes of coal at Mackay ports had reduced in recent months, as well as reports that the import of Australian coal to China could be slowed or restricted.

Mr Chisholm said tensions between both countries would have serious implications for mining jobs in regions such as Mackay.

"We've seen the local federal member here, Mr Christensen, run a campaign against China over the last couple of months," he said.

"The Federal Government have been doing nothing about it, they have been standing by letting him do that and refusing to pull him into line.

"We saw the prime minister in North Queensland last week, he flew over Mackay.

"What he should have done is stopped, he should have pulled Mr Christensen into line and he should have detailed to the local community what steps they are taking to fix this relationship."

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Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm with Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm with Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Melanie Whiting

Mr Christensen urged the Labor senator not to "blame-shift" the actions of the Chinese Communist Party.

"Are Labor saying we shouldn't talk about the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses, their interference in Australian politics or any other matter of concern out of fear they might harm us economically?" the Dawson MP said.

"As the Parliament's Trade and Investment Committee chairman, my main push has been to safeguard the nation and protect local jobs from economic coercion by diversifying our export base.

"Labor saying that we can't talk about fixing the problem of economic coercion out of fear there will be economic coercion is akin to them burying their head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away."

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The Daily Mercury contacted Mr Morrison's office for comment, but was referred to statements the Prime Minister made last week.

Mr Morrison said it was "not uncommon" for domestic quotas to be in place in China, particularly for coal.


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