By Dr Lyndon Megarrity*

On 30 August 2018, the latest in a long line of ‘big picture’ articles about turning Northern Australia into a ‘food bowl to feed Asia’ [1] was run in the Australian. Enthusiastic about the possibility of a series of nation-building dams across the north, the Australian’s editorialist advised that ‘Getting infrastructure planning right is crucial so that private investment can have the confidence to do the rest.’[2] But it is not so simple as it sounds. Any large-scale acceleration of the north’s primary industries would require capital on a large scale, and given Australia’s limited pool of wealthy, risk-taking investors, much of the capital for developing a northern food bowl would have to come from foreign investors and companies. Such foreign investment would inevitably raise the following questions:

  • Does the acceleration of a project through foreign capital justify the loss of local ownership of a nation-building enterprise?
  • What is more important in public life: building up national pride or growing the economy through foreign capital?
  • Can the character or sheer amount of foreign investment have a negative impact on Australia’s sense of national sovereignty?

These questions are not new. In this article, I will present a series of historical snapshots which demonstrate the controversies surrounding foreign investment in Australia over several discrete eras. Northern Australia has been chosen to exemplify the ideological battles over foreign investment in Australia. This is because the north’s proximity to Asia and its relatively underdeveloped nature makes it a useful case study in understanding Australian historical concerns over national sovereignty and ownership of resources.[3]

‘Ring-fence around Australia’: The North and Nineteenth-Century Sovereignty

Australia as a British colony began in the south-east corner of the continent, where the discovery of rivers, lakes and good pastoral lands enabled the authorities to establish permanent settlement. Gradually, the British sought to impose their sovereignty over the entire continent. This proved a complicated task north of the Tropic of Capricorn, where the soil was frequently poor, the heat and tropical conditions were hard for Europeans to bear, and infrastructure was slow to develop because of the concentration of settlers in the southern half of Australia.[4]

British occupation of northern Australia effectively began with the creation of three military forts near what is now the Northern Territory coast: Fort Dundas (1824–28), Fort Wellington (1827–29) and Fort Victoria (1838–49). As Howard Fry put it, these forts were part of a deliberate attempt to establish a symbolic ‘ring-fence around Australia’.[5] The forts were designed to deter major European powers active in the Asia Pacific region from developing a commercial or colonial presence in the Top End. Such powers included the French and the Dutch. Apart from shoring up sovereignty, British officials hoped that the northern forts would be the catalyst for greater access to Asian markets by trading with the Macassan (Indonesian) fisherman who fished for trepang in Northern Australian waters.

In short, the forts established a pattern whereby British settler concern for national sovereignty was combined with the desire to open up the land for outside trade. The three forts failed miserably to become self-sustaining, in part through unfamiliarity with tropical conditions and an inability to establish trade with the Macassans.

However, intercolonial rivalry during the latter half of the nineteenth century brought the tropics to political attention as a region where individual Australian colonial governments could gain prestige at the expense of their rivals by paving the way for British commerce and settlement. Queensland (established 1859) was especially energetic in opening up the north, providing infrastructure such as roads and railways to service the emerging pastoral, mining and sugar industries. Much of this infrastructure was made possible by loans from the London money market.[6] As pastoral settlement moved further from the coast, the expense of developing Queensland’s north-west tempted some colonial governments to propose railway schemes that were owned by absentee investors rather than continue the tradition of government ownership (and debt).

The Transcontinental: Queensland and the North

Sir Samuel Griffith

In the early 1880s, Queensland Premier Sir Thomas McIlwraith championed his ‘transcontinental railway’ proposal to construct a line from Charleville in south-west Queensland northwards to Point Parker in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a distance of 1,075 miles. His Government made an agreement with a private syndicate of European and Australian businessmen to construct the transcontinental railway, which the government would pay for in the form of land grants along the private line totalling almost 12 million acres. At the same time, the government itself would connect its own major railway lines to the transcontinental. McIlwraith argued that the transcontinental railway would open up commercial opportunities and would bring the colony closer to England through London mail arriving regularly at Point Parker.[7]

McIlwraith expected parliament to ratify the business deal he had made with the railway syndicate. But while homesick British settlers would have appreciated quicker mail delivered through the transcontinental, the notion that foreign, absentee capitalists were to own such large tracts of land was anathema to many Queenslanders, including Opposition leader Sir Samuel Griffith. Griffith did not wish to see:

the aggregation of wealth … in the hands of a few, but a general diffusion of wealth and prosperity … The men we desire to introduce to develop our agricultural lands … are men who will make Queensland their home.[8]

Griffith’s followers believed that Queensland would be democratically weakened by a large monopoly in the wake of the transcontinental. They found support from squatters who were annoyed that their land would be used for land grants without government compensation. Accordingly, McIlwraith’s transcontinental railway was defeated in parliament. Griffith’s successful campaign to protect north-west Queensland for Queensland patriots was viewed by at least one sarcastic, poetical observer as ideological rather than practical:

They [Griffith and supporters] met the Western squatters, proved

What ruin fell ‘twould be,

To harvesting their golden fleece

Should railways cross that sea …

Of open plains, where undisturbed,

Thousands of sheep were bred,

And fattened for the markets South

Sent down and sold and bled.[9]

In Queensland, at least, the development of the north as an exclusive task for local settlers remained an article of faith for many politicians towards the end of the nineteenth century, so much so that attempts by successive governments to encourage British capital in the region tended to more cautious than they had been during the ‘transcontinental era’.[10] Tellingly, the Queensland Mining Act (1898) encountered fierce resistance from the emergent Labor Party, despite the modesty of its concessions to foreign capitalists.[11] Representing the northern goldfield of Croydon, Labor’s W.H. Browne railed against absentee capitalists monopolising the ground: ‘If a man comes here with £50 and works a piece of ground, supporting himself and others at the same time, that is better than if Baron Rothschild took up 500 acres [of mining land] and got exemption [from the labour conditions] for 12 months.’[12]

The apparent willingness of Labor to lock up land indefinitely until locals could develop it themselves annoyed the more conservative politicians in Queensland parliament. In a phrase which mirrored the thoughts of many development-oriented

politicians before and since, Browne’s northern colleague John Hamilton (MLA Cook) scoffed at Labor fears of foreign capital monopolies:

I know fields in the North containing thousands of acres which are monopolised by kangaroos simply on account of the present conditions not offering sufficient inducements to capitalists to come to those fields.[13]

Developing the ‘Empty North’ 1901–39: With, or Without, British Capital?

Colonial Australia’s fascination with developing the north continued after the federation of Australia in 1901, when the notion of a White Australia predominantly settled by British (and some European) migrants was at its height. The region was often regarded as the ‘Empty North’, because its population was sparse in comparison with southern Australia: if the north was not developed by Australians, it was frequently argued, Asian countries would be tempted to invade and destroy ‘White Australia’ forever. National pride dictated that the task of filling the Empty North with people and commerce should be accomplished by Australian citizens. As the editorialist of the Sunday Times (Sydney) asserted in 1909:

The Northern Territory remains empty, open to the invading horde that is so frequently spoken of, but never guarded against. And the agricultural and pastoral regions lie there waiting the touch of man to convert them into minted gold … [We] speak of ourselves as a nation; yet by our very neglect [of the north] we show ourselves unworthy of the title.[14]

The Northern Territory was the part of the North which was most underdeveloped and thus the most troubling to politicians and the general public. The Territory became a direct Commonwealth responsibility in 1911, having been part of South Australia for several decades. Among other things, poor soil for agricultural development, limited infrastructure and the disinclination of successive Commonwealth governments to prioritise spending in the north led to the defeatist tone present in the federally funded Payne–Fletcher report on the Territory’s resources (1937):

The Northern Territory as it exists today [1937] is a national problem, a national obligation, a challenge to other nations, and a detriment to ourselves. Since the Commonwealth Government has been in control from 1911 to date, the expenditure exceeds £15 million … Nearly all enterprises in the Territory—both government and private—railways, pastoral and mining, are not making profits but are merely breaking even or more frequently accumulating losses. Altogether, the Territory is a heavy liability to Australia.[15]

The United Australia Party (UAP) conservative government led by Joe Lyons between 1932 and 1939 attempted to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by encouraging massive British investment in British (and local) chartered companies that would commercially develop large sections of the Northern Territory and north-west Australia with the possibility of government concessions such as exemptions from taxes.

This proposed injection of British funds was greeted with alarm by many local commentators. The objections to the chartered company scheme were largely based on the sense that the Commonwealth was abrogating its responsibilities for the north in favour of foreign control. Accompanied by the heading ‘The White Flag or What?’, the Labor Daily condemned the scheme as embodying

… the most humiliating declaration of an inferiority complex and an inability to tackle a big and urgent problem that has ever been made on the part of the Australian people.[16]

Government Minister George Foster Pearce countered such objections with a mixture of business-oriented ideology and a conviction that British capital was the best vehicle for achieving nation-building in the north:

[T]here would be no big development in Australia during the next decade by State enterprise … The depression has taught the folly and futility of State enterprises … Are we afraid that if British capital came into [northern Australia] … it may make a profit? That seems to be the fear of some Australians. A policy that will open up a country bigger than many European nations must be as wide as the country itself.[17]

Strong words. But Pearce and his UAP colleagues could not interest British investors to risk their money in chartered companies, partly because of the Territory’s isolation and poor infrastructure. There was one possibility canvassed by British capitalists whom the Lyons Government consulted, but this would have been unpopular with advocates for the still popular White Australia policy:

[Lord Luke] … holds the view that [it is] impossible to obtain the co-operation of any financial group in London for such a proposal. [He] Considers that there is no practical method of bringing about the rapid development of the Northern Territory although [he] indicate[s] that some acceleration could be achieved [by the Commonwealth subsidising the migration of] … 1,000 Assyrians a year or other industrious cultivators of poor land.[18]

Foreign Investment vs. Economic Nationalism: 1945 to 1983

The White Australia policy was gradually dismantled during the three decades after World War Two, influenced by a changing global environment. Britain was abandoning its empire and developed a new European identity, making the (white) British Australia sentiments of Australian High Commissioner Sir Alexander Downer anachronistic:

All Australians hope that the traditional flow of [British] investment to my country will not be curtailed … Quite frankly, we need it: for we cannot build up Australia as a bastion of British and European civilisation in the Southern Hemisphere without the twin necessities of more money and more people.[19]

Nevertheless, Australia experienced a great wave of overseas investment as British, American and Japanese companies and investors sought new opportunities during the post-war years, along with multinational firms. By the 1960s, the rise of Japan as a growing industrial economy created an accelerated demand for coal, iron ore and bauxite, which encouraged the discovery and development of such resources in the remote parts of northern Australia. Large mining companies such as the Utah Development Company (US) became active on the central Queensland coalfields, and iron ore projects in the north-west of Western Australia attracted spectacular levels of British, Japanese and American investment as well as local capital.[20]

Public opinion polls tended to reveal that many Australian citizens viewed the increase in overseas investment with concern.[21] Contemporary fears included a sense that Australia was losing control of its national direction and resources to foreign capital, along with the worry that if capital was withdrawn suddenly, Australian jobs would go in large numbers. Even Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies stated in 1964 that he would be ‘much happier if overseas investors in Australia were ready to give Australians some equity in their undertakings here.’[22]

Rising Labor star Gough Whitlam took note of the growing prominence of mining in northern Australia and naturally claimed that Labor was best placed to manage the region’s natural resources. Whitlam pushed for a greater role for the Commonwealth to gain increased national benefit from minerals often controlled by foreign companies and investors:

Mr Whitlam said the governments should hang their heads in shame over the price being paid for the exploitation of mineral resources … there had not been a proper insistence on the processing of the minerals in Australia … Almost all the new and rich iron ore discoveries, particularly in Western Australia, had been taken out of Australia’s hands. The new coal deposits in Queensland were controlled by overseas interests … [Whitlam said that] ‘The Commonwealth Government has powers to ensure adequate processing in Australia. Export of ore should be made conditional on the establishment of processing plants within a certain period’.[23]

Whitlam as opposition leader (1967–72) viewed northern development as a key part of Australia’s national interest. Under his leadership, the ALP pursued policies designed to create a more assertive, even aggressive role for the Commonwealth in gaining domestic benefits from the north through nation-building infrastructure projects, as well as more Australian control over the exploitation of northern Australia’s natural resources, especially mining.

Gough Whitlam meets Lee Kuan Yew at Singapore airport in 1974: Financial Review

During the Whitlam Labor government (1972–75) attempts were made to reshape foreign investment and natural resources policies to secure greater Australian independence from the whims of the market. Partly designed as a step in this direction, Whitlam appointed a former Commonwealth public servant and expert on northern primary industries, Dr Rex Patterson, to be the first ever Minister for Northern Development. As the responsible Minister for the north, Patterson was set upon gaining primary responsibility for northern minerals, as ‘There can be no doubt that the main determinant of growth in northern Australia will be investment in mining for export.’[24] However, Patterson was at odds within his party over economic nationalism: he wanted to fast-track development, not drastically alter the commercial nature of the mining market. This attitude caused him to clash sharply with Whitlam’s Minister for Minerals and Energy, Rex Connor.[25]

On 31 January 1973, Connor publicly declared that the Cabinet had decided to impose price controls on Australian mineral exports. As the Courier-Mail explained, ‘The Federal Government in effect will set a minimum price and the maximum tonnage for minerals to be exported.’[26] Connor was partially motivated to introduce export controls by a conviction that Queensland’s cheaper coal prices gave it an unfair advantage over NSW coal. Patterson went to the media to assert a dissenting view:

The facts are that if northern coal producers had demanded the relatively high U.S. coal prices, or the average world price … it is likely that the central and north Queensland coalfields would not have been developed at all.[27]

Whitlam was in no mood to tolerate Patterson’s public criticisms of an announced Government decision. The Prime Minister successfully moved a motion at the ALP’s federal executive meeting (5 February) congratulating ‘Federal cabinet on the … steps it has taken to carry out the party’s programme with respect to ownership, control and development of Australia’s natural resources.’[28] This motion also symbolised the limited ideological support for Patterson in comparison with the Minister for Minerals and Energy.

Patterson subsequently became a disaffected ‘outsider’ as the Whitlam era gathered pace. The Prime Minister clearly preferred the economic vision of Connor, who was obsessed with securing greater Australian ownership of the mineral sector, with a special emphasis on the development of northern Australia’s natural gas reserves on the North West Shelf. Connor’s struggle to ‘buy back the farm’ ultimately resulted in a scandal over a grandiose but unsuccessful attempt at loan-raising on a monumental scale.[29] The scandal not only helped to bring down the Whitlam government; it also deterred future Commonwealth governments from following an unambiguous policy of economic nationalism when it came to foreign investment.

Nevertheless, some of the spirit of economic nationalism remained alive under the incoming Fraser Liberal–Country Party Government (1975–83). In 1976, The Fraser administration created the Foreign Investment Review Board, which gave non-binding advice to the Treasury on large-scale foreign direct investment proposals and their alignment with varying national interest criteria (e.g. ‘competition … technological change … conformity with policies on Aborigines, decentralisation and environmental protection’).[30] Approval of foreign investment projects was high under Fraser. However, some nationalistic government policies, such as fifty per cent Australian equity in mining and primary industry proposals, were pursued with varying degrees of flexibility.[31]

Foreign Investment in the Modern Era

When the Australian Labor Party returned to power in 1983, the dominant figures in the party such as Prime Minister Bob Hawke (1983–91) were determined to distance themselves from the reputation of economic mismanagement which haunted the legacy of the Whitlam Government. The uncompromising economic nationalism of Rex Connor was replaced by an increasing faith in securing Australia’s international competitiveness within a free trade environment: this entailed the free flow of global capital and investments from and to Australia in order to foster and maintain prosperity.[32] While officially welcoming foreign capital into Australia, the ALP government remained aware that foreign ownership and investment in Australia was still a ‘hot button’ issue among sections of the electorate. Consequently, between 1986 and 1993, the Government spent $15 million on a ‘Buy Australian’ campaign which encouraged the supermarket shopper, rather than the policy-making elite, to make decisions based on economic nationalist principles.[33]

Regardless of the push to ‘Buy Australian’, foreign investment in Australian industries remained strong between 1983 and 2013. A handful of players dominated the scene:

… the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. In 2013 these three countries accounted for over 55 per cent of all foreign investment in Australia. Over the 30 years from 1983 to 2013, at no time did their combined holdings ever fall below 50 per cent.[34]

However, by the first decade of the twenty-first century, China was noticeably increasing its investment presence in Australia. The rapid urbanisation of China created a demand for the raw materials needed to construct new infrastructure, leading to investment in coking coal and iron ore projects.[35] Chinese companies, sometimes in combination with Australian firms, were also buying up agricultural land, although by early 2017, Chinese investments in this sector amounted to less than 2 per cent of all Australian farmlands.[36]

China has become increasingly important to the Australian economy. Australian exports to China reached A$110 billion in 2016-17, and enrolments of Chinese students at universities and other Australian educational facilities were roughly ‘170,000 in the first half of 2017’.[37] Reflecting on the growing links, journalist George Megalogenis described the China–Australia relationship as mutually beneficial:

Australia is the West’s last best role model. We are tapping the potential of the Asian ascendancy because we face the region as an open market and open society. China buys our stuff and we take some of its smartest people in return – dirt in exchange for brains.[38]

We may indeed be both an open market and an open society, but many Australians still have reservations about the levels of overseas investment in Australia. Partly this has been sparked in recent times by the fear of the unknown, perhaps tinged with racism: the increase in Chinese investment in the last two decades is unprecedented, whereas British, American and Japanese investment have been around for much longer. But arguably, there is also a yearning for nation-building projects, owned by Australians, if only to prove that Australia is in charge of its own destiny and is not just a ‘quarry with a view’.[39] It was presumably such sentiments that caused then Foreign Investment Review Board Chairman Brian Wilson to advise a group of Chinese businessmen in 2017 to ‘try to avoid [Australian] icons’ when making investment decisions, while simultaneously spruiking Australia as having ‘the most welcoming and open foreign investment regime in the world.’[40]

Port Darwin and Australian Sovereignty

The most recent event to illuminate the issues of northern development and foreign investment was the decision of the Northern Territory government to grant a ninety-nine year lease over key port facilities at Port Darwin to Chinese-owned company Landbridge in 2015. The deal gave the revenue-hungry Northern Territory administration $506 million and the potential to gain indirectly political kudos from the expansion of economic activity at the port. Ideologically committed to ‘small government’ and privatisation, the Coalition government in Canberra expressed its approval. The Federal Minister for Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, described the Port Darwin sale as a ‘vote of confidence in the Northern Territory’ which displayed ‘foreign investor confidence in the economic opportunities available in Australia’s north.’[41] Indeed, financial journalist Matthew Stevens hailed the deal as a meaningful step towards the national goal of transforming Darwin into Australia’s gateway to Asia, with the Chinese company set to make a ‘reality of what has too long been little more than a marketing pitch’.[42]

Darwin East Arm Wharf Darwin Port Corporation: Club Troppo

Doubts soon emerged about the wisdom of allowing foreign investors with potential links to the Chinese government to have long-term commercial access to the strategic northern port of Darwin. Ironically, the Port Darwin lease deal emerged a few short years after the Australian Labor Government under Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama set in place a long-term joint defence initiative involving the training of US marines (alongside Australian defence force personnel) each year in the Top End. That the joint training program was located in northern Australia was not surprising. It was symbolic of policy concerns given expression in the Defence White Paper of 2013:

An effective, visible force posture in northern Australia and our northern and western approaches is necessary to demonstrate our capacity and our will to defend our sovereign territory.[43]

Yet subsequently, the NT Government leased part of Port Darwin to a Chinese company in 2015 with what appears to have been extremely limited Commonwealth government oversight. The US government, whose troops used part of Port Darwin in their training, were not told of the sale before the public announcement. It is possible that the Australian authorities viewed leasing Port Darwin as just one more of a string of expedient privatisations by state/territory governments; but the Obama administration expressed disappointment that their Australian allies had not kept them informed of a decision involving China, the US’s major geopolitical rival in the Asia Pacific.[44]

The Port Darwin deal was one of many Chinese investment projects in Australia in recent years which attracted local media, political and public attention.[45] Such investments created an atmosphere of uncertainty about the Chinese government’s military and economic intentions within Australia’s broader region. Major Chinese investments in Australia were taking place with State Owned Enterprises in Chinese overseas mining investments, territorial disputes in the South China sea between China and its neighbours, along with accelerated Chinese investment in South East Asia and the Pacific.[46]


The story of Chinese investment in the Port of Darwin commanded the public’s attention because of its location in sparsely populated northern Australia and its proximity to Asia. It is just one of the more recent incidents that has highlighted sharply the tensions between respect for nationalist sentiment and opening up the borders to overseas investors who could fast-track prosperity and regional trade.

As we have seen, policy-makers and citizens throughout much of Australia’s history have been divided over how to encourage foreign capital without jeopardising national sovereignty. This division will inevitably complicate Australian foreign investment policy for many decades to come.

* Dr Lyndon Megarrity completed his PhD at the University of New England (Armidale), which was awarded in 2002. In recent years, Lyndon has been a lecturer and tutor, teaching history and political science subjects. He was the inaugural history lecturer at the Springfield Campus at the University of Southern Queensland (2012-13) and since taught at James Cook University in Townsville, where he is currently an adjunct lecturer. His latest book is  Northern Dreams: The Politics of Northern Development in Australia (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2018).




1 Joe Kelly, ‘Six Dams Planned for North’, Australian, 30 August 2018, p. 1.

2 Editorial, Australian, 30 August 2018, p. 13.

3 Note that this article is not intended as an exhaustive chronological study of foreign investment in Australia. It instead seeks to highlight key incidents and trends.

4 General information in this article regarding the history of Northern Australia is drawn from Lyndon Megarrity, Northern Dreams: The Politics of Northern Development in Australia, North Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2018.

5 Howard T. Fry, How Australia Became British: Empire and the China Trade, Gloucestershire (UK), Amberley Publishing, 2016, p. 155.

6 Geoffrey Blainey, A Shorter History of Australia (1994), Milsons Point, Random House Australia Ltd, 2000, p. 119.

7 For a discussion of McIlwraith, Griffith and the Transcontinental proposal, see Ross Fitzgerald, Lyndon Megarrity and David Symons, Made in Queensland: A New History, St Lucia (QLD), University of Queensland Press, 2009, pp. 39-41.

8 Sir Samuel Griffith, Queensland Parliamentary Debates (hereafter QPD), Vol. XLIII, 6 August 1884, p. 273.

9 ‘Transcontinental Railways’ in Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba), 11 April 1883.

10 See Lyndon Megarrity, ‘“Don’t You Think They Know Their Business Best?” The Failure of Private Railway Companies in Late Colonial Queensland’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2000, pp. 41–62.

11 See Lyndon Megarrity, “Sir Robert Philp and the Queensland Mining Industry”, in Patrick Bertola and Karen Miller (eds), Proceedings of the Australian Mining History Association Conferences 1997–2000, Australian Mining History Association, Nedlands, 2001, pp. 23–9.

12 W.H. Browne, QPD, Vol. LXXIX, 19 October 1898, p. 811.

13 John Hamilton, QPD, Vol. LXXIX, 19 October 1898, p. 827.

14 ‘The Empty North’, Sunday Times (Sydney), 17 October 1909, p. 6.

15 Payne-Fletcher Report, 1937, cited in Michele Langfield, ‘Peopling the Northern Territory Part 2: The White Elephant Laid to Rest? In the Interwar Years’, Journal of Northern Territory History, No. 12, 2001, p. 22.

16 The Labor Daily, 15 July 1933, cited in Northern Standard (Darwin), 8 September 1933, p. 2.

17 ‘Development of North Australia’, Chronicle (Adelaide), 30 March 1933, 43.

18 S.M. Bruce to J. Lyons, Cablegram dated 5 February 1937, in ‘The Development of North Australia’, CP4/2 30, National Archives of Australia (hereafter NAA).

19 ‘[Downer] Warns Against Cuts in UK Investment’, Canberra Times (hereafter CT), 14 May 1965, p. 22.

20 Geoffrey Bolton, The Oxford History of Australia Vol. 5: The Middle Way 1942–1995 (1990), South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 96–8; Blainey, A Shorter History of Australia, p. 204.

21 Chris Sadlier, ‘Gorton and the Re-making of Political Tradition in Foreign Investment Policy, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 63, No. 1, 2017, pp. 82–3.

22 ‘Joint Foreign Investment Code Suggested’, CT, 27 October 1964, p. 4. 23 ‘Whitlam Critical of Mineral Exploitation’, CT, 14 February 1966, 9.

24 Rex Patterson, ‘The Role of the Department of Northern Development’, 22 February 1973, Cabinet Submission No. 151 (Withdrawn), A5915 151, NAA.

25 For Rex Patterson’s career and his clash with Connor, see for example Lyndon Megarrity, ‘Dr Rex Patterson: A Biographical Portrait’, Queensland Journal of Labour History, No. 25, 2017, pp. 44–56.

26 ‘QLD May Put Coal Law to High Court: Exports Control’, Courier-Mail (hereafter CM), 1 February 1973, p. 1.

27 ‘Patterson Stands by Sales of Cheap Coal’, Australian, 3 February 1973, p. 1.

28 ‘Labor Closes Ranks Over Mineral Policy’, Australian, 6 February 1973, p. 1.

29 ‘Minerals Gag on Patterson’, CM, 7 February 1973, p. 10; Max Griffiths, Of Mines and Men: Australia’s 20th Century Mining Miracle 1945–1985, Sydney, Kangaroo Press, 1998, pp. 104–8; Jenny Hocking, Gough Whitlam: His Time: The Biography Volume II, Carlton, Melbourne University Publishing, 2013, pp. 115, 201.

30 Phil Hanratty, Inward Direct Foreign Investment in Australia: Policy Controls and Economic Outcomes, Research Paper 32, Parliamentary Library, 1995–96, viewed online 3 September 2018, Parliamentary Library website,

31 Ibid.

32 Frank Bongiorno, The Eighties: The Decade that Transformed Australia, Collingwood, Black Inc., 2015, pp. 160, 297–8.

33 Terry Black, ‘Should We Really Buy Australian?’, Australian Accountant, February 1995, p. 14. 34 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Foreign Investment Overview, Canberra, Department of Foreign Affairs Trade, 2014 [available online].

35 Jeffrey D. Wilson, ‘Resource Nationalism or Resource Liberalism: Explaining Australia’s Approach to Chinese Investment in its Mineral Sector’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2011, p. 291.

36 Sue Neales, ‘Avoid Aussie Icons: FIRB Chief Offers Tips to Chinese Investors, Australian, 1 March 2017, p. 6.

37 John Power, ‘China and Australia May Bicker, But They Will Never Actually Divorce’, South China Morning Post (online: Hong Kong), 15 August 2018.

38 George Megalogenis, The Australian Moment: How we were Made for these Times, Camberwell (VIC), Viking, 2012, p. 365.

39 George Megalogenis, The Longest Decade, Carlton North, Scribe Publications Ltd, 2006, p. 286. 40 Neales. ‘Avoid Aussie Icons’, p. 6.

41 Andrew White and Amos Aikman, ‘Chinese Outbid Funds to Buy Port of Darwin, Australian, 14 October 2015, p. 19.

42 Matthew Stevens, ‘Savvy, Courage in Darwin Port Sale’, Australian Financial Review, 14 October 2015, p. 38.

43 Department of Defence, 2013 Defence White Paper, May 2013, p. 24, in Nathan Church, The Australian Defence Force in Northern Australia, Research Paper, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 9 July 2015, p. 4.

44 Bert Chapman, ‘US Marine Corps Battalion Deployment to Australia: Strategic Implications’, Security Challenges, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2017, p. 12; Amos Aikman, ‘Defence in the Dark over Chinese Lease of Strategic Darwin Port’, Australian, 11 October 2016, p. 8.

45 See for example Mark Beeson, ‘Issues in Australian Foreign Policy: July to December 2013’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 60, No. 2, 2014, p. 271; Neales, ‘Avoid Aussie Icons’, p. 6.

46 Jeffrey D. Wilson, ‘Resource Nationalism or Resource Liberalism: Explaining Australia’s Approach to the Chinese Investment in its mineral sector’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2011, pp. 290–1; Geoff Wade, ‘Chinese Investment in Australia Needs Closer Scrutiny’, Australian, 9 March 2016, p. 12; Caitlin Byrne, ‘Issues in Australian Foreign Policy: July to December 2017’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 64, No. 2, 2018, pp. 295–7.