Prime minister seeks veto powers over China deals

The Commonwealth of Australia is seeking powers to torpedo new and existing agreements between a foreign power and state governments, local councils or universities, in a move aimed primarily at curbing infiltration by China, writes Phillip Coorey for the Australian Financial Review.

This includes the 2018 memorandum of understanding which Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews signed with China on its Belt and Road Initiative, and any infrastructure contracts that result from it.

Declaring all levels of government in Australia must speak with one voice on national security, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will introduce legislation next week enabling the federal government to override the states, and urge the parliament to pass it before Christmas. On the passage of the legislation – which will use the external affairs powers under the Constitution – states and territories, local councils and public universities have six months to present the Commonwealth with a stocktake of their existing arrangements with foreign governments or foreign government bodies.
Full report on the Australian Financial Review site