Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien challenged the Victorian Premier to speak to federal Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong who said on Sunday: “We have said we would not sign up to the BRI. We have made clear our position on that. Our position is different from that of the Victorian Labor government.”
Mr O’Brien asked Mr Andrews what information he had that Senator Wong didn’t during a heated question time on Tuesday.
But the Premier said he was in “no position to attest to what information Ssenator Wong does or does not have”.
On a supplementary question, Mr O’Brien then put views from the director of defence strategy and national security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute to Mr Andrews that his stance on China was “naive and dated”.
To which the Premier accused the Opposition Leader of political point scoring.
“There are many different views, opinions on Australia’s relationship with China – one view and opinion and fact indeed … is that this relationship is not in a good place,” Mr Andrews told parliament.
“That is not good for any Victorian worker, any Victorian business or for our state – it’s not good news for any Victorian unless of course your only motivation, not jobs not exports not wealth, not prosperity, but politics.
“If that‘s your only motivation and who may I be referring to … stand up and take a bow.”
Tensions between China and Australia have reached a boiling point with the Chinese government publishing a series of offensive tweets in recent weeks.
In the latest inflammatory tweet, Beijing accused Australia of being a front for the US.
The new cartoon published by Chinese state-owned media showed a kangaroo’s shadow on a wall as being portrayed as the US eagle.
Australia last week condemned China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian for posting a doctored image showing an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan boy.
Beijing has also slapped tariffs on Aussie wine imports.
In May, China threatened to boycott Australian beef, wine and international student markets.
By mid-August it had announced imported wines in two-litre containers or less were subject to anti-dumping investigations for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2019.