Category Archives: Leadership

Former Victorian Premier Brumby Quits Huawei Board and Joins La Trobe University

My first feeling in this is of the IT trade war between China and the United States.  My next feel is those in prominent positions joining industry and the revolving door that exists between government and industry.  The original intent of government was that these entities were separate as government ensured neutrality so that it could represent the people.  Unfortunately in the ruling class they all know each other, they discuss the Boards the are on and they have their own agendas.   Business is business.

The video I produced today is on greed.  I see the blindness of economic objectives outside of human wellbeing.  The disconnect is furthered as industry profits become the goal and the impact on civil society a minor issue.  This becomes increasingly evident when one investigates the range of views about 5G and the race between the US and China with IT industry lobbyists taking up positions in Communications as the regulator of the industry.  Clearly it is not possible to regulate an industry in the public interest if a person has come from the very industry that is to be regulated. That means they know the people, and often, if not always, have an agenda to promote that industry. This is where the public interest is neglected.  We have seen this in the United States and the health implications for civil society are sending out alarm around the world.

The article below informs that the former Victorian Premier John Brumby was on the board of Huawei.  There is discussion about Chinese criminality and the potential for the Communist party to spy and gather data.  I wold assert all the IT companies are spying and data gathering and are contracted to share data with intelligence agencies, notably the 5 Eyes spy network.  When you investigate the Boards of IT companies you see the vested interests sitting there which include multinational companies, big data, IT companies, military, intelligence, Accounting firms, universities, former government ministers or public servants and the list goes on.  In the country they operate in the people believe the company is owned by the nation or they have no idea that their data is traded without their real consent and used to sell products and services.  The greed is what moves this disregard for privacy.

Clearly Huawei would be influenced, if not directed, by the Chinese Communist Party, they are the largest telecommunications company in China note $8.7 billion in profits.  Refer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huawei

The issues for Australia are to what extent can the Chinese government penetrate Australia through high level appointments and economic power.  Refer foreign ownership of homes:  https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/buying/fears-one-million-aussie-homes-could-soon-be-owned-by-foreign-buyers/news-story/c50a4112bab4f3ed8fae27277f313f54

Australian land sales https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/china-increases-its-stake-in-australian-land-20181220-p50ng0.html

I recall Alexander Downer some years ago attempting to ban protests of Falun Gong outside the Chinese Embassy. The government went to court with Falun Gong and the latter won.   Refer http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1389732.htm

I interviewed on radio a Chinese woman whose husband had been murdered in China as they practiced Falun Gong.  Just last week I noticed they were protesting in Melbourne about organ harvesting of practitioners.  This is the very core of the argument about recoupling human rights to trade.  Clinton was the one who decoupled human rights.   This link refers to Hiliary Clinton favouring economics over human rights when it serves US interests refer https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/4735087/Hillary-Clinton-Chinese-human-rights-secondary-to-economic-survival.html

This second link reverses this and places human rights first as it serves US interests.  The issue of Guantanamo Bay, 911, the Middle East wars, rendition and its own human rights violations inclusive of leaving the UN Human Rights Council are largely ignored internationally.  One rule for one another rule for others. It is all about the money but the argument will frame it as benefiting the people.  The core issue is the economic war that seeks to use issues to weaken the competitor. This is where the nation state serves economic interests and is not representing the people. Refer https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/10/sanctions-over-china-human-rights-may-strengthen-us-position-in-trade-talks.html

Therefore, where do executives and high profiled people draw the line or is there no line?  If the focus is strongly on career, profits, political and business interests at the expense of the public interest then where do we end up?  We are walking in the shadow of the United States and the ideological economic rationalism of privatisation of public assets. This utilises government taxation to take on the risk in projects to enable the private sector to lower risk and project high profits.  This dominants the discussion as equity financing replaces government taxation attracting high interest rates (exponential) and demands for profits through users pay e.g. toll ways. The original purpose of government provision of public services quietly transforms into private provision of government services in million and billion dollar public/private partnership deals.

The contraction of global markets with a mentality of cut and move on (acquisitions, arbitrage, futures markets, speculation in profit maximisation) diminishes the public purse which typically had longer horizons with cross subsidisation built into government funding planning to ensure egalitarianism as advancing Australia Fair and public order.

Ultimately under the new rules of private engagement the public pay more (in taxation, GST, direct fees, fines, taxes) out of ever more diminishing incomes.  The multiple propensity to consume (MPC) shrinks which impacts economic growth but is hidden by activity from both foreign and domestic companies.  The chairs rearrange.

This most favoured status given to the megolithic multi-nationals (changing names, subsidiaries, rebranding) gives the impression of wealth but the reality is equity finance is expensive, the risk is carried by the equity firm and attracts high costs and interest rates. It deepens indebtedness which is the lever that can be used to influence domestic policy that would have funded social programs. Thus the left/right propaganda is used to weaken calls for public expenditure as unrealistic and economically unviable. This is how the middle class becomes pauparised as the extremes start to polarise between those with extreme wealth and those living in extreme poverty.  This is how policy creates social unrest and blames the public through repressive techniques.  The shape changer of democracy takes on a totalitarian profile with increasing calls for surveillance, funding a security apparatus with intrusive technologies (purchased from these IT companies) removing human rights and privacy to ensure control rather than squarely facing the reality of an economic mismanagement and greed as the driver of market concentration and serving of specific foreign interests.  Egalitarianism and social democracy transforms into a compliance framework that favours the few over the rights of the many and is ultimately de-stabilising, globally as we are all connected.  The public believes the propaganda that budgets are balanced when the debt is off the balance sheet as the risk was transferred.

So powerful companies like Huawei and Google for example, both titans in the IT industry have disproportionate concentration of power and hence, political influence and penetration into markets to serve interests and agendas that may provide token jobs (benefits) but ultimately are the old paradigm of profit maximisation. The profits move off shore and we see the economic cake unravel to be replaced by AI and automation.  At the same time ‘greed’ as dis-ease is not in balance with ecological limits (silent spring) takes more than it needs and is non responsive to natural rhythms that rebalance planetary systems. This is why the titanic is sinking and the planet is goaning under the strain of humans who have no real connection to themselves, each other or the natural sytems.  The nature of ‘greed’ is to follow selfish interests not respond to expanded best interest that includes resources (natural bounty).  This disconnect renders many of the capitalist/communist (whatever) business interests blind to the dangerous situation they have set up.  Some may smile and decide to fly to the moon or mars, but ultimately karma follows as the real problem was never solved at its inception. The real insecurity, fear and greed fuelling imbalance. When this is investigated inequality disappears, natural imbalances recalibrate and we begin to see ourselves in each other. This is the shift in consciousness I refer to in my video.  I felt the video permeate this blog as I feel inspired to integrate it into an example given by the article.

So a few questions for society to consider:

Is it in the national interest for political or influential figures to join with foreign multinational companies and share their knowledge, resources and networks?

Given the US trade war any persons or entities involved in Huiwei becomes a ‘threat’ as US penetration in Australia evokes its influence in networks, government, policy, security and regulatory environments.  Is this in the Australian public interest?

Thus the wicked webs we weave that continues on a trajectory spiralling to the bottom until we awaken.

Only the truth sets us free.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/brumby-quits-huawei-board-days-after-us-criminal-charges-outlined-20190201-p50v10.html

Brumby quits Huawei board days after US criminal charges outlined

Former Victorian premier John Brumby has resigned from the board of Huawei’s Australian operations in a damaging blow to the Chinese technology giant just days after the US government outlined a criminal case against it.

Mr Brumby’s decision to quit comes two days after The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive at the centre of the alleged global criminal conspiracy, established and oversaw the company’s activities in Australia between 2005 and 2011.

Former Victorian premier John Brumby.
Former Victorian premier John Brumby.CREDIT:PAUL JEFFERS

The former Labor politician’s future at Huawei Technologies (Australia) has been under a cloud since June, after he announced he was reviewing all his directorships upon assuming the role of Chancellor of Melbourne’s La Trobe University.

This week’s release of an indictment against Huawei and key executives by the US Justice Department has increased interest in Mr Brumby’s position on the company’s board.

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Mr Brumby said on Friday that the timing of his resignation, which will be effective from next month, was unrelated to the scandal enveloping the company.

He said he had informed the board a year ago of his intention to resign and was proud of the firm’s local growth.

‘‘We have had some challenging times … Huawei Australia has continued to go from strength to strength.’’

Ms Wanzhou is alleged by the US to have been a key player in a conspiracy to defraud international banks and US officials about the company’s Iran operations. The criminal case against Huawei also involves allegations it stole trade secrets from rival T-Mobile.

Though there is no suggestion that Ms Wanzhou was engaged in any criminal activity in Australia, the US Department of Justice case against her and the company includes the period of time she was overseeing Huawei’s corporate governance and strategy in Australia.

The December arrest of Ms Wanzhou in Canada at the request of the US government triggered a strong response from Beijing, with two Canadian citizens and Chinese-born Australian writer Yang Hengjun detained in China.

Mr Brumby will become Chancellor of La Trobe University in March.
Mr Brumby will become Chancellor of La Trobe University in March.

Ms Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in the Chinese military.

Mr Brumby joined the Huawei board in Australia in 2011 shortly before the departure of Ms Wanzhou. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer and former Navy rear-admiral John Lord were also appointed to the Huawei board in an effort by the company to build political and defence credibility.

The high-profile Australian trio have been outspoken in defending Huawei against criticism from Australia and the US, whose respective intelligence agencies fear the company could be vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party to spy on or sabotage data and phone networks.

Mr Brumby, Mr Lord and, until his 2014 appointment as Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Mr Downer, have all previously pointed out that there has been no hard evidence produced anywhere to show Huawei was involved in espionage activities on behalf of the Chinese government.

The company has made a priority of ensuring its Australian directors have been looked after well at home and abroad. It is understood some Australian-based directors have been paid as much as $250,000 a year, though Huawei has declined to confirm this.

Despite its high-powered Australian board, Huawei has been prevented by successive Australian governments from participating in the NBN rollout and the 5G mobile network, with security agencies warning against the involvement of the Chinese firm.

Australia’s hard line position on Huawei has emboldened other western allies to restrict the Chinese company’s involvement in sensitive infrastructure.

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In a statement released in the wake of the US charges, Huawei said it was disappointed to learn of the charges and believed the US courts would find no evidence Ms Meng or the company breached US laws.

Message for Australia from Sir David Attenborough

The Australian Government has to think very deeply about what is important and what is not?  If only our leaders could see through Sir David Attenborough’s eyes and awaken to this emergency. Australia is going to be hard hit by climate change and we are still supporting the Adani mine, still supporting resources extraction and a disproportionate influence by the energy industry.

It takes great courage to put the future of the children ahead of short term interests.  Those who do will never be forgotten.

We need to be able to express how we feel about climate change and we need to be free to speak, free to go onto the streets, free to speak to others as we want our world to change in a direction that serves the majority of people, not industries alone.

Interestingly, Sir David speaks about slavery – the ownership of people.  I felt that even employment is a form of ownership which translates into control and a suppression of our human feeling and natural freedom.  We are nature.  We have to remember the important balance, the importance of policies that do not promote greed, growth but reform our system to be able to recalibrate with natural systems.  I sense the leaders do not know how to look out of the box we have travelled in for centuries.  We are going to need leaders who are visionaries with the knowledge to be able to recognise the importance of real sustainability rather than business economics who have no  idea of the great impact coming.  The greed becomes a barrier to real change.