02 Sep Dan’s deal is belted
Tom Minnear, James Campbell – Herald Sun – Wednesday 2 September 2020
Victorians reject China pact VICTORIANS have overwhelmingly rejected Daniel Andrews’ controversial Belt and Road deal with the Chinese government in a series of new opinion polls.
A survey of 1040 Victorians, commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, found just 12 per cent wanted the state government to keep its agreement with the Chinese government.
That was compared to 54 per cent who agreed the government should ditch the deal, while 34 per cent did not have a view either way.
Internal Liberal Party polling data of key state seats, obtained by the Herald Sun, also reveals widespread opposition to Victoria’s involvement in the Chinese Communist Party’s $1 trillion soft power effort.
A survey of 7632 people across eight electorates found 67.5 per cent of voters did not support the deal, compared to 14.4 per cent who backed it. Only a third of Labor voters were in favour.
Scott Morrison last week unveiled sweeping new laws which would enable the federal government to rip up the Premier’s deal, signed in the days before the 2018 state election.
The Prime Minister has said the agreement is not in the national interest and is inconsistent with the commonwealth’s foreign affairs policy.
Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson said there was “still time for the Andrews government to see sense and dump this bad deal and back the national interest”.
IPA research director Daniel Wild warned the agreement had “provided the Chinese Communist Party with significant political and economic leverage over Daniel Andrews which is a threat to our freedoms, way of life, and to democracy itself”.
He welcomed the federal government’s new laws to tackle communist party interference.
Liberal Party polling found opposition to Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement was as high as 72 per cent in June in the western suburbs seat of Melton.
In the south-eastern electorate of Bass, 71.3 per cent rejected the deal, and it was only supported by 24.1 per cent of Labor voters.
Out of the seats that were surveyed – also including Bayswater, Bendigo East, Box Hill, Frankston, Hawthorn and Wyndham – support only reached 17.9 per cent in Frankston.
Mr Andrews last week questioned Mr Morrison’s priorities and described Belt and Road as part of a “passport to export” to support Victorian jobs.
But some Labor MPs welcomed the Prime Minister’s intervention, amid growing internal concern about the political damage the agreement was causing for the state government.