The Baby Boomer generation remembers well the distressing legacy of Macarthyism that harried and bullied anyone from Hollywood stars to Australian politicians who had any friendships or ties with Russia throughout the 1950’s and 60’s.
The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy and to his brutal, evil politics rooted in the spreading of unwarranted fear and the destruction of people’s characters for political goals.
It is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.
Duncan Calder, former National President of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC), is scared for Australians and Chinese Australians in particular that we are seeing the revival of McCarthyism - but this time with China rather than Russia as its victim. The strategy is driven by the far right and fed by the defence industry and US media moguls like Rupert Murdoch.
“This fearmongering trend is potentially disastrous for Australia” Calder warns. ”Whilst Australia had negligible links with Russia, we rely massively on China to buy our resources and to keep our education and tourism sectors alive”.
We are seeing the Western media seek to demonise any politician who has any ties or friendships with China and Chinese people. The article in today’s Murdoch owned The Australian is a case in point. It seeks to cast Western Australian MLA Pierre Yang as some sort of a Chinese Communist party mole, notwithstanding the massive weight of evidence to the contrary. The message of fear is clear – “Don’t get too close to China or be too positive about China or we will get you.”
This is crazy. What is in Australia’s best interests is that more (not less!) Australians build friendships with people from China and better understand China and its culture and values.
One famous quote used by President John F Kennedy was “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” As Australian businessmen, when we see the unjustified and over the top efforts to cast China as a baddie in a James Bond movie, we need to react. We should not stay silent.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan deserves great credit for staring down this bullying agenda and praising Mr Yang as an Australian of great character who has served his country well, including in the Australian Army Reserve. The Premier hasn’t stood by and done nothing in the face of this agenda driven nonsense, but spoke up as he should.
Calder, who is the Managing Director of Contour Capital, an advisory house that promotes Sino-Australian collaboration, notes that people can and do forget that the origins of many Australia China community and bilateral business council organisations were in the battleground of toxic racism targeting Chinese businesses under the likes of Jack Van Tongeren and his fire-bombing Australian terrorist comrades. These bilateral organisations like WACCC have made an invaluable contribution to Australia’s society and economy and we should be supporting them and their members to the hilt. Current media agendas are fuelling the far right and creating apprehension and fear.
As many already know, Chinese people have made an enormous contribution to the development and prosperity of Australia. Those who deal regularly with the Chinese see them to be hard working, loyal and committed to family, friends and education of the next generation. All attributes that we should embrace.
“It is critically important at this time as Chinese people are becoming increasingly fearful in the face of this sustained, aggressive far right anti-China agenda that right minded Australians show loyalty and friendship and make it clear that the negative rabble rousing rhetoric is not representative of the true Australia”, Calder stated.
Duncan Calder, based in Australia, sees that the role of Sino-Australian specialists, like Contour Capital, is to promote free trade, open communication and increased and deeper bilateral relationships to deliver win-win outcomes.