Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong wants sensible discussion between the federal and Victorian governments over the state’s Belt and Road deal with China, but stopped short of saying the agreement should be terminated amid rising tensions between Australia and China.
On Monday, final amendments to the government’s Foreign Relations Bill are expected to be passed in the Senate with Labor’s support. The new laws will give the federal government sweeping powers to veto any agreements states, territories, local governments or universities make with foreign powers if they contradict Australia’s national interest.
One of the first issues in the government’s sights once the bill is law is Victoria’s controversial “Belt and Road Initiative” deal with China.
“I think [the federal government] should try and resolve this in a way that respects engagement with the state government and that recognises that China will observe how this is handled carefully,” Senator Wong said on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday morning.