Pauline Hanson calls for boycott on Chinese products for Christmas
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has renewed calls for Australians to boycott Chinese products this Christmas, as relations between the two countries plunge to new lows.
“You might think it’s awfully hard, yes it is hard, I get it,” Ms Hanson said in a Facebook video on Monday night. “We all have our part to play in this. Think about it when you buy that furniture, that toy, that food, whatever you buy, have a look where it comes from, and if it’s China, let it sit on the shelf.”
Senator Hanson first proposed a boycott last week in response to “China’s recent economic attacks against Australia” – including a devastating 200 per cent tariff on Australian wine.
On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a doctored image on Twitter depicting an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child, in reference to allegations in the Brereton war crimes report.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the image as “repugnant” and demanded an apology from the Chinese government. “It is deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform, every Australian who serves in that uniform today,” he said at an unscheduled press conference.
In her Facebook video, Ms Hanson said it “absolutely disgusts me”. “This is why I am so anti-China – they are a country that says they want to grow to a stage where they will control and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” she said.
She said 20 per cent of products Australia imports “we can’t buy from anywhere else but China”. “Our shelves are full of Chinese products because we’ve stopped our manufacturing industry,” she said.
“We used to produce 40 per cent of our products here in Australia through manufacturing. Guess what, it’s only 6 per cent now, because we have allowed this through consecutive governments, Liberal and Labor, to bring products into Australia from other countries which has destroyed our own manufacturing industries.”
Ms Hanson urged Australians “in every little way” to try to avoid Chinese products, “whether it’s the wrapping paper – I know you can actually go and buy it online from an Australian manufacturing company here”.
She argued that would “put pressure on the Australian government” to support local manufacturing. “That’s the only way we can get out of this bloody mess, if not we’re going to allow China dictate to us every step of the way what we do because we’ve become so reliant on them,” she said.
Asked in the Senate on Monday whether the government would support her call for a consumer boycott of Chinese products, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Australian consumers would make their own decisions.
“I think there are a range of implications that China faces from a number of its actions that it’s been taking of late,” Mr Birmingham said.
“The fact that China has created such a high-risk environment for businesses trading and working with them doesn’t just reflect poorly on China in the eyes of Australians, it is a point being noted around the world.”
Mr Birmingham said China’s economic actions towards Australia and other countries were “being noted and reflecting poorly upon China”.
“That reflection will be seen in the eyes of both government here and around the world and no doubt, Senator Hanson, in the eyes of consumers who will make their choices about the products they buy and the countries they buy them from,” he said.
“Consumers no doubt will be mindful of the types of actions we’ve seen today, in terms of those terrible, appalling, shocking images, and that I’m sure will reverberate in their minds as they make those purchasing decisions.”