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‘Acting against our own interests’: WA Premier fires up on Australia-China relationship

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“I have been very clear with the Commonwealth. I’m a Premier of the state that actually carries the nation’s economy.”

Mr McGowan said recent language from politicians and other senior government officials talking about potential wars with China was “insane”.

“It is absolutely off the planet and I don’t get it and I wish they would stop because it is not in our national interest in any way shape or form,” he said.

“WA continues to trade through COVID with countries who buy our products, particularly when iron ore is over $200 a tonne, that’s what’s supporting the national economy and yet we have politicians who want to destroy that.

“All I’d say to the Commonwealth government is they need to rethink this language. If we lose our trading relationship with China, the economic consequences for Australia will be absolutely catastrophic.”

Mr Morrison told Radio 6PR’s Mornings program in Perth on Thursday morning that trade issues had to be called out.

“I spoke with the Premier yesterday … we often meet when I’m in town and we had a good chat about these issues yesterday. I mean, barley producers in Australia, wine growers in Australia, have been targeted with trade sanctions that we believe are completely unconscionable,” he said.

“And we are seeking to take those up in the World Trade Organisation to see them resolved there.

“You’ve got to call trade issues out if you believe in an open trading system. If you don’t have an open trading system backed by an international rule of law, well, it’s very hard to be a trading country in this world.”

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Mr Morrison said Australia could never trade away its values or its sovereign integrity.

But Mr McGowan said tempering language was not a trading off of values.

“We will continue to be a democracy, we will continue to be a free independent country that believes in equality and fairness and decency,” he said.

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