Foreign fingers in the pie
Published: 30 Jul 2012
Posted in: Australia
ABC | 30 July 2012
By Anne Delaney
Junee based Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan has been a long time opponent of foreign interests purchasing agricultural land.
He's been calling for more review into transactions involving Australian farmland, suggesting Australia should be exporting food to nations rather than letting foreign investors buy the land for food production.
And the Federal Coalition is at odds over the way the Foreign Investment Review Board should operate.
The Nationals have been raising questions about the makeup of the board.
National's leader Warren Truss is pushing for changes to the national interest test that is used to decide whether proposals should be accepted.
But the Opposition's Liberal treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says those views don't represent the Coalition as a whole.
"Ultimately the decisions are made by the Treasurer and I do not see any need for changes to the national interest test.
"Nor do I see any need for dramatic change to foreign investment rules, the coalition's position is very clear on this."
Mr Hockey has moved to temper comments by the Opposition leader on Chinese investment.
Tony Abbott's speech in Beijing last week has been labelled "dangerously dumb" by the Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
In the speech, Mr Abbott included a warning that a Coalition Government wouldn't regard investment by Chinese Government-owned companies as being in Australia's best interests.
Mr Hockey says there's been no change to the Coalition's policy.
"What we're saying is, we have an in-principle concern about Governments owning businesses in Australia but that's not to say there will not be cases where other Governments will through various State-owned enterprises or partially-related enterprises invest in Australian businesses."
Globalisation commentator, Dr Keith Suter explains how foreign capital fits into the Australian economy, its origins and future direction.