The Citizens Party is committed to an independent foreign policy that promotes peace through economic development. It is in Australia's national interest to collaborate with other nations on establishing a new, just international order, based on respect for national sovereignty, mutually beneficial trade, cooperative infrastructure projects, and war avoidance. We must end our historical subservience to Anglo-American power, assert our national sovereignty and deal independently with countries such as China, our biggest trading partner, which includes joining the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
International cooperation for a new financial architecture and world economic development
As the crisis is global, not local, Australia should join efforts to convene a New Bretton Woods conference at which nations can agree on policies that replace the present speculation-riddled and bankrupt global financial system, with a new international financial architecture that fosters production and real economic development. The original 1944 Bretton Woods agreement, into which Australia’s Labor government brought this nation, established a regulated system of fixed exchange rates pegged to gold, along with capital controls. This arrangement was a check on unbridled financial speculation, and produced soaring productivity growth in the post-WWII period, until it was intentionally undermined by the unregulated Eurodollar market created by the City of London for speculation and tax evasion. Thus undercut, the Bretton Woods system collapsed in 1971. World banking and political leaders then unleashed the “global casino” financial system of today, with floating exchange rates and an “anything goes” attitude towards financial speculation. Whereas under the original Bretton Woods agreements, up until 1970 approximately 75 per cent of global currency trades were tied to physical goods, today that figure is less than 2 per cent, with more than US$5 trillion in foreign exchange speculation taking place internationally every day.
Australia should also cooperate with nations committed to economic development by accepting China’s invitation to join its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which 90 other nations have joined so far. The BRI’s worldwide system of upgraded ports and high-speed rail infrastructure perfectly complements the infrastructure Australia should build to expedite trade with Asia, and Australia could both contribute and acquire advanced skills in construction and production.
The anti-China hysteria propagated by the world’s major media and the Anglo-American “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance is just a transparent replay of the racist “Yellow Peril” scare run by the British Empire in the 1890s—saying that hordes of Chinese were about to overrun our defenceless continent. Then, many in Australia were seriously debating breaking with the City of London-centred British Empire and becoming a republic. Today, many are once again debating whether to stick with our war-mongering “Dangerous Allies”, as our late Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser so insightfully termed them, or to join the “win-win” prospect of Xi Jinping’s BRI. After all, China has lifted 800 million of its population out of poverty in the past several decades, and plans to eradicate poverty entirely by 2020 through a government-directed program of physical economic growth. Typical is China’s 25,000-km high-speed train network, its building of the world’s largest water projects, including the Three Gorges Dam and the South-North Water Transfer Project, its cutting-edge nuclear power and space programs, and now its Belt and Road project, which is bringing the continent of Africa, among other places, out of the hideous legacy of European colonialism. The only reason the world has not suffered a new GFC already, is that China has pumped more than US$20 trillion into the world’s physical economy since 2008, including $1 trillion in purchases of Australian physical goods. This physical economic growth was enabled by China’s reforming its financial system in 1993 on the explicit model of Glass-Steagall, as leading Chinese economists have emphasised, and by its system of state banks which direct credit to areas the government deems of vital national importance.
We once did such things as well, including the creation of one of the world’s most advanced machine-tool industries almost overnight during World War II, and building such extraordinary water projects as the Snowy Mountains Scheme, one of the engineering wonders of the world, the now-decimated Murray-Darling Basin food bowl, and the advanced Tasmanian Hydroelectric Commission projects.