Australia’s federal cabinet is scheduled to discuss special immigration policy options for residents of Hong Kong on Wednesday, according to an article published by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed his government was “actively considering” an offer to provide a “safe haven” to Hong Kong citizens, according to media reports, which could escalate tensions between China and Australia even further.
If the Australian government chooses to continue to interfere in China’s internal affairs, it should be expected that the “safe haven” offer will result in a huge negative impact on the Australian economy, making the issue much more serious than many people would have anticipated.
While some in Australia wonder how the high-quality and high-net-worth Hong Kong talent will boost their country’s economy, in reality it is only a fantasy that will not produce results.
Due to the economic shocks stemming from the country’s coronavirus lockdowns, the Australian economy is undergoing a period of extreme vulnerability and experiencing its biggest contraction since the 1930s, according to the country’s central bank. It is already struggling to shoulder the soaring amount spent on health insurance, unemployment payments, and other social benefits for its residents. Under the current circumstances, a new wave of immigrants from Hong Kong may only bring uncertainty and pressure to the local economy, which is something it cannot afford.
What’s more, with China-Australia relations already strained, no one should underestimate the repercussions to the Australian economy from a further deterioration of bilateral ties. Anyone with knowledge of China-Australia trade could see that political provocations over the Hong Kong issue will only end up being a bitter pill for the country’s economy to swallow. Unfortunately, the Morrison government doesn’t seem to quite understand it.
With that said, business circles still look forward to light at the end of the tunnel concerning tensions between China and Australia
If China-Australia relations worsen further due to the Hong Kong issue, the damage to businesses’ and investors’ confidence will be unprecedented, as they know the Hong Kong issue is one of China’s bottom lines, which should not be touched. The subsequent impacts may involve Australia’s tourism, investment, education, and trade sectors, among others, generating immeasurable losses to countless local businesses.
Meanwhile, it would be naive to expect China to do nothing toward such political provocations. For example, upon the UK’s announcement that it plans to offer citizenship to some Hong Kong’s residents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press conference that China reserves the right to take further action, while the British side will bear all the consequences. If China won’t rule out countermeasures against Britain, it most certainly is a possibility for Australia to face similar penalties as well.