How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

The world was saddened and distressed to learn of the shocking Christchurch mosque attacks on Friday, which claimed the lives of 50 people and injured nearly as many. Since then we’ve heard hear...

Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW - avatar Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

The difference in the Christchurch attacks is that propaganda supplied by the perpetrator was available to the professional media, even as the story was breaking.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-N...

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne - avatar Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Autonomous transport will shape our cities' future – best get on the right path early

Cities have a choice of autonomous vehicle futures: cars or mass transit vehicles. Which one we adopt is likely to determine how people-friendly our cities are.SueBeDoo888/ShutterstockA unique opport...

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University - avatar Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

What parents need to know about the signs of child sexual abuse

Significant changes in your child's behaviour could signal they are being sexually abused.from shutterstock.comRecent events, including the conviction and sentencing of George Pell for sexually abusin...

Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice  |  Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Curious Kids: what makes an echo?

Do you think you could make an echo at Echo Point in Katoomba?Flickr/Amanda Slater, CC BYCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to ...

Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW - avatar Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University - avatar Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University

Slimmed-down migration program has regional focus

The government has announced a reduced annual cap on migration of 160,000 for each of the next four years, as well as measures to stream a greater proportion of migrants to regional areas and boost th...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Anxieties over livestreams can help us design better Facebook and YouTube content moderation

Livestream on Facebook isn't just a tool for sharing violence – it has many popular social and political uses. glen carrie / unsplash, CC BYAs families in Christchurch bury their loved ones foll...

Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology

We did a breakthrough 'speed test' in quantum tunnelling, and here's why that's exciting

Future technologies will exploit today's advances in our understanding of the quantum world.Shutterstock/PopTika When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world ...

U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - avatar U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Politicians suing for defamation is usually a bad idea: here's why

There are better ways for politicians to address defamation concerns than through the courts.AAP/Ellen SmithWhen The Project host Waleed Aly began his editorial in the wake of the Christchurch massacr...

Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia - avatar Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia

Births, deaths and rituals: a revamped Ten Days on the Island explores Tasmania's past and present

Youth dance troupe Stompin performed their thought-provoking work Nowhere as part of this year's Ten Days on the Island.Jacob Collings, Lusy ProductionsThis year marks the tenth biennial Tasmanian Art...

Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania - avatar Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A guide for parents and teachers: what to do if your teenager watches violent footage

The world is reeling in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Christchurch. The attack has also raised a number of side issues, including the ethics of broadcasting the live stream of the attack...

Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast

As home care packages become big business, older people are not getting the personalised support they need

Many older Australians prefer to stay at home than enter residential aged care – but the process of securing home care is riddled with complexities.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into...

Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong - avatar Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong

Two ways to fund NSW election promises as property prices crash

Previous NSW election promises were easily funded. Not so this time.ShutterstockState elections are always about spending promises, but this time not much is being said about how they will be funded.L...

Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney - avatar Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney

‘Rape Day’: A new video game glorifying sexual assault raises questions about regulation

nhungboon/ShutterstockA graphic new video game called Rape Day, set to launch in April, triggered a swift and widespread public outcry.Created by an independent developer, Rape Day is a set in a zombi...

Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia

Curious Kids: why do we have two kidneys when we can live with only one?

Right now, your kidneys are getting rid of all things your body does not need. They do this by 'cleaning' your blood. ShutterstockCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you&rsqu...

Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University - avatar Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University

Would you like to grow old at home? Why we’re struggling to meet demand for subsidised home care

In December, more than 127,000 Australians were waiting for a home care package.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is this week turning its focus to aged care ...

Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney

We need a legally binding treaty to make plastic pollution history

The world urgently needs to move past plastic. Veronika MedunaA powerful marriage between the fossil fuel and plastic industries threatens to exacerbate the global plastic pollution crisis. The Center...

Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.Despite Pr...

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton - avatar Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health

Families that spend more on housing may have less to spend on their health.Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.comNew data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’...

Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University - avatar Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

The cruel murder of 50 people in New Zealand was another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what rac...

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University - avatar Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?

Muslims praying in a Chicago mosque following the shooting in New Zealand, on Friday, March 15.AP Photo/Noreen NasirFollowing the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques last week, many Muslim commun...

Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University - avatar Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

An agreement between Darwin’s city council and an overseas municipal counterpart normally wouldn’t attract much attention. Local government officials love signing such deals. Darwin already has no less than six “sister city” arrangements, including with the Chinese city of Haikou.

But attention has been drawn to Darwin’s newly minted “friendship” deal with Yuexiu District, in Guangzhou, due to Chinese media describing it as part of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.

This suggests Chinese authorities regard Darwin as having strategic significance.

It invites reflection on the wisdom, three years ago, of the Northern Territory government deciding to lease the Port of Darwin (now known as Darwin Port) to a Chinese company for 99 years – and of the federal government going along with it.

At the time the new owner, billionaire Ye Cheng, claimed the Darwin port deal was “our involvement in One Belt, One Road”. This was discounted by some commentators as hyperbole, an attempt to curry favour with the Chinese government.

But now, by design or not, the Darwin port deal increasingly looks like a blueprint for how Chinese interests can take control of foreign ports – as it is doing by various means around the world – without arousing local opposition. Quite the reverse. All levels of Australian government have encouraged it.

It makes Darwin an interesting case study – a point of contest between the strategies of the US and China. Darwin’s port is under Chinese control, while thousands of US marines are based in the city, as part of the US “Pacific pivot” seen by many as an effort to contain China’s influence in the region.

CC BY-ND How the port deal was done The deal to lease parts of the port followed successive federal governments refusing to fund necessary upgrading of the port’s infrastructure to meet growing demand. Infrastucture Australia advised privatisation. Rather than sell outright, the territory government decided to lease the port, and sell a controlling stake in the port’s operator. Landbridge Industry Australia, a subsidiary of Shandong Landbridge, won the 99-year lease with its bid of A$506 million in November 2015. Shandong Landbridge has substantial and varied interests including port logistics and petrochemicals. Though privately owned, like many Chinese companies it has strong ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party. The company knows how to cultivate political connections. In Australia it gave influential Liberal Party figure and former trade minister Andrew Robb an $880,000 job just months after he retired from parliament. Read more: Chinese influence compromises the integrity of our politics The bid for the port was examined and approved by the Foreign Investments Review Board, the Defence Department and ASIO. Strategic importance But the deal put Darwin directly in the crossfire between US and Chinese interests. Then US president Barack Obama expressed concern about the lack of consultation. Former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said he was “stunned” that Australia had “blind-sided” its ally. While the centre of US-Chinese tensions is the South China Sea – where China has militarised reefs in disputed waters – Darwin is important because it is the southern flank of US operations in the Pacific. An Australian Border Force Cape-class patrol boat docked at the Darwin port. Lukas Coch/AAP Managing the tensions Zhang Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote in 2015 about the concept of “first civilian, later military” – in which commercial ports are to be built with the goal of slowly being developed into “strategic support points” – to assist China defending maritime channel security and control key waterways. Military-civilian integration was among the goals China set in its 13th five-year plan for 2016-20. President Xi subsequently established an integration committee to oversee civilian and military investment in technology. As with other Chinese port acquisitions, such as in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Greece and Djibouti, Landbridge is interested in acquiring and developing not only Darwin’s port facilities but nearby waterfront property. But the Darwin port deal differs in significant ways to other port acquisitions. It is a far cry from the “debt-trap colonialism” China stands accused of using to gain leverage over other foreign governments, such as Sri Lanka and Nepal. Read more: Soft power goes hard: China's economic interest in the Pacific comes with strings attached Landbridge has bought the lease, rather than a Chinese bank lending funds to the Northern Territory government to develop the port. If Landbridge was to default, it would lose its money. Any attempt by Landbridge to use the port as security to borrow money from a Chinese bank would trigger renegotiation of the lease. The territory government retains a 20% stake in the port operator and has a say in key appointments such as the chief executive and chief financial officer. But it will not share any profit that Landbridge may eventually make. That potential is a long way off. Landbridge Infrastructure Australia reported a loss of A$31 million for the 2017 financial year, with its total borrowings rising to A$463 million. If the deal falls over, the government will need to seek new equity partners. But its immediate commercial risks are relatively contained. Other risks Yet risk exposure may take other forms. China’s strategy is very long-term. Darwin is now on the front line in managing tensions between Australia’s most important strategic ally and partner and its major trading partner. Balancing between powerful friends with competing interests may not prove easy. Read more: The risks of a new Cold War between the US and China are real: here's why There are indications of some recognition of this at the federal level. Australia’s foreign investment review processes have been tightened. A Critical Infrastructure Centre has been created to give extra national security advice. There has been some tweaking of rules about political parties accepting foreign donations. But others may have learnt valuable lessons too. Weaknesses in Australian governments at all levels have been revealed. They have been reactive, readily accepting the lure of pearls cast on our shores without considering longer-term currents. Foreign and strategic policy has effectively been left to the local level. While the federal government now seeks to shore up its interests in the Pacific with cash for infrastructure, similar commitments to investing in local infrastructure are essential. Clumsiness and indecision do not serve Australian interests well.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/darwin-ports-sale-is-a-blueprint-for-chinas-future-economic-expansion-108254