Pudong in Shanghai in January 2014. Photo Contributed
Pudong in Shanghai in January 2014. Photo Contributed Contributed

Crossbencher to push for China inquiry

AN influential Senate crossbencher is pushing for an inquiry into Australia's relationship with China, but faces resistance from the major parties.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said Labor and the coalition's hesitation to support his inquiry was a sign of Chinese "soft power" being exercised.

"I think it's an attack on our parliamentary sovereignty," Senator Patrick told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

He said Australia needed to engage with China, but interactions shouldn't be limited to advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"There's a number of things where we can benefit from our relationship with China, and there's a number of things where we need to be cautious," Senator Patrick said.

"We want other people to be involved in and contributing to how our relationship should look."

On Friday, federal Labor repeated requests to the government for a "detailed and comprehensive" brief on China from government agencies, but said an inquiry was not the best approach.


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