A Daniel Andrews China trip has drawn criticism for ‘secrecy’ after no journalists were invited. The Victorian Premier is visiting China this week to discuss cultural and economic ties.
However, Andrews’ trip has attracted controversy over its relative secrecy. Here’s what you need to know.
Australia’s ties with China
China is Australia’s largest trading partner.
The relationship has become strained in the past few years and China has imposed a number of restrictions on Australian exports.
However, there have been recent signs of greater engagement. PM Anthony Albanese met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last year, the first leaders meeting since 2016, and Albanese has said he will visit China if invited.
Victoria’s ties with China
China is also Victoria’s largest trading partner and the Andrews Government has a record of seeking to engage with China.
In 2018, Andrews announced an agreement to accept Chinese Government funding for Victorian infrastructure projects under a Chinese global investment program known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. The Morrison Government intervened to cancel this arrangement in 2021 arguing it was against Australia’s national interests.
Daniel Andrews China trip
Andrews’ trip to China – his seventh as Premier, but his first since 2019 – was announced on Sunday.
A Victorian Government statement said Andrews would meet with officials “to discuss our long-held trade and cultural ties”.
No Australian journalists were invited to accompany Andrews on the trip and minimal details were provided.
Trip draws criticism
The Victorian Opposition has not criticised the trip itself but has criticised Andrews for being “secretive” about the details and not inviting Victorian business or university leaders.
Karen Percy, Media President of the journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said it was “deeply disappointing” no journalists were invited. “A visit to a crucial trading partner at a crucial time needs media scrutiny.”