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the special relationship

7 January, 2014

MR W.J. JOHNSTON (Cannington) [4.07 pm]: […] The Premier often comments in this house about how Western Australia should have a special relationship with China, which it does. Fortunately, it was the former Labor government that created that special relationship with China. When I was state secretary of the Labor Party, I met with a series of visiting delegations. Interestingly, when delegations of the Chinese Communist Party visit Australia, they always catch up with the secretary of the Labor Party.

Mr T.R. Buswell: They probably thought you were running the show.

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: The Vietnamese did; I do not know that the Chinese did. The Chinese are sophisticated and understand these distinctions; but sometimes when the Vietnamese delegations visited, they treated me with far greater respect than I deserved.

The point I make is that the Labor Party is the only party in Australia with a special strategic relationship with the Communist Party of China. This was entered into when Simon Crean was the federal leader of the Labor Party.

Mr M. McGowan: What does that mean?

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: That is the real question. I was on the national executive at the time, and we were a little surprised it happened.

Mr T.R. Buswell: Do you have a five-year plan for your relationship?

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: I never went on any of the junkets, but perhaps that is what the relationship was focussed on.

Mr J.H.D. Day: You have the right coloured tie anyway.

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: They look good with dark suits.

Mr T.R. Buswell: Maybe Simon Crean’s implosion was part of some plan.

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: Ha, ha! That was 10 years ago, so I do not think he contemplated that at the time.

Ms M.M. Quirk: They still haven’t cottoned on to where Harold Holt is, though.

Mr M. McGowan: He’s going to go on the submarine shortly.

Mr W.J. JOHNSTON: It is great, is it not, that the Harold Holt memorial in Melbourne is a swimming pool? Anyway, we are getting away from what I should be talking about.

Subject: Supply Bill 2013 [Legislative Assembly – Second Reading]

Date: 14 May 2013

Hansard reference: pp. 476-477 [online (pdf)]

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