It’s unclear how much voter backlash Labor will face in Victoria’s upcoming elections. But Labor Premier Daniel Andrews’ secret infrastructure deal with the Chinese government has raised hackles in Canberra.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has upped the political ante against Andrews for forging ahead without consulting the federal government, or apparently even many of his own Labor colleagues.
Morrison says foreign policy is the Commonwealth’s domain and the premier should have checked with him first.
‘I mean, I’d like to give him a few tips on how he should be running his police force down there, because if you’re living in Victoria, he hasn’t been doing a pretty crash hot job on that,’ he told Sydney radio station 2GB.
‘If he wants to start going over each other’s lines and giving advice about how we should run each other’s shows, how about having a police force in Victoria like the one we have in NSW?
‘That might do a lot to give safety to people in Victoria.’
The prime minister said Australia had for years maintained a consistent policy on the Belt and Road Initiative, and did not have a memorandum of understanding with China on the global infrastructure project.
‘We’ve always had a very consistent position on this and we’ve always been clear about it,’ he said.
‘When these things happen then that creates mixed messages, and it would’ve been helpful if they (Victoria) had been a bit more engaging on that.’
The Victorian premier has refused to release details of the confidential deal.
‘He should be upfront with the Victorian electors, I mean, he’s in the middle of an election at the moment and he doesn’t seem to have even explained it to his own Labor colleagues,’ Mr Morrison said.
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The Australian Tribune with AAP