Is foreign investment bad? No doubt your view will depend on whether you believe countries have a sovereign right to promote their national interest or whether you are a free market fundamentalist.

Like this one: Cubbie Station

As always, the free market fundamentalists get overly excited and try to stifle debate on the issue. The problem with free market fundamentalists is that they are intolerant of other people’s views and think they have a divine right to tell political parties and the rest of us what to do.

Even within the two major political parties you have a division between the free market fundamentalists and those with the common sense to see the broader picture. There’s nothing wrong with differences of opinion even within the same political party.

If the left and right of the Labor Party can have a difference of opinion on asylum seekers and uranium mining, then the Coalition can certainly have a difference of opinion on foreign investment. There’s nothing wrong with Doug Cameron having a difference of opinion with Chris Bowen and there’s nothing wrong with coalition politicians having a debate on foreign investment.

And there’s nothing wrong with those debates having a public dimension. Voters are entitled to know if their politicians have swallowed an economics textbook or if they are in touch with the heart and soul of Australia where small businesses, farmers and consumers are suffering at the hands of free market theories.

All politicians should spend some time living in regional Australia or operating a business that supplies to Coles and Woolworths. Then they may realise that swallowing an economics textbook to become a free market fundamentalist is no substitute for understanding how small businesses, farmers and consumers are getting ripped off.

We want a competition of ideas and not a monopoly of free market fundamentalism. Monopolies are not in the national interest and free market theories are one-sided, typically in favour of the big end of town.

Having a competition of ideas is not only exciting, but it helps identify the best possible policy position which may be a collection of different ideas generated from the debate.

Also, let’s be clear that a difference of opinion is perfectly fine in a democracy. The irony is that in some of the countries seeking to invest in Australia it’s not acceptable to have a difference of opinion. Here in Australia we can have a debate about foreign investment, but in other countries Australians either can’t invest or they can only do so in a limited way.

Aren’t we lucky in Australia to be able to say how much foreign investment we want? The problem is that free market fundamentalists want a completely open door policy on foreign investment. Sure they talk about a “national interest” test, but in their minds all foreign investment is basically in the national interest.

So like any legal term the term “national interest” can be conveniently, or perhaps cynically, defined to mean different things to different people. That’s why we need clarity as to what the national interest really means. And we can’t leave it to the Federal Treasury or the Foreign Investment Review Board officials as too many of them are just free market fundamentalists.

We need Treasury and the Foreign Investment Review Board officials who can relate to the real world and people in voterland. How many Treasury or the Foreign Investment Review Board officials have run a small business or a farm? How many of those officials have worked or want to work for those big of town companies that want more foreign investment?

That’s why the Foreign Investment Review Board needs to be made up of a wide variety of people with diverse views. How else can the Board determine what is in the national interest? The national interest is and should always be a collection of perspectives and views about the future direction of the nation.

People from diverse walks of life are the ones best placed to articulate where Australia should be heading as a nation. We need the Foreign Investment Review Board to have representatives from the indigenous community, small business, the farming sector and regional Australia. Yes, we also need the big end of town representatives and the technocrats but their limited and often self serving views need to be balanced by real voterland experience.

Now, before anyone gets too excited and thinks that we should be advocating for less foreign investment, it’s important to remember that apart from the indigenous community and those born here, Australia is made up of foreign investors.

Foreign investors are all those who come to Australian and invest money, work here and pay taxes locally. Good foreign investors are those that give back to Australia and follow our laws and support our workers and protect our environment.

Foreign investment is good when it promotes or increases the welfare and interests of all Australians. Now, not all foreign investors do the right thing and some foreign investors are just a front for another country. There are particular dangers where another country starts buying up Australian land.

Investment by entities controlled by foreign countries raise security issues and, more dangerously, may not directly benefit Australians or may compromise our position on international issues. It’s a real challenge for an Australian government to reflect on the human rights record of another country that has invested directly or indirectly in Australia.

Then there are the practical questions to be asked. What if another country buys land in Australian to grow food to take back to its country to feed its population? If there’s no sale of the food in Australia then is any tax payable in Australia? What if the citizens of that other country are given Australian visas to farm the land and are paid money through offshore bank accounts in banks owned by the other country. What if the farm is supplied with machinery made in the other country? What does Australia get from that type of foreign investment?

Even before we have a debate about the right type of foreign investment we need to have the full picture regarding foreign investment in Australia. In particular, we need full transparency on the level of foreign investment that’s taking place in Australia. There’s nothing wrong with full transparency, unless of course someone has something to hide.

Now, since we would not expect anyone to have anything to hide we should all be able to agree on having a comprehensive register of foreign investment in Australia. The register needs to be public and kept up to date in the same way that the State and Territory registers of land titles are public and updated every time land changes hands. Australia is an open society and there should be no secrets regarding land ownership. Surely knowing who owns Australian land is in Australia’s national interest!

Comments on this piece close at 8pm AEST.

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61 comments

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    • acotrel says:

      05:48am | 12/09/12

      Yeah - let’s have an election right now with Abbott and Joyce as running partners !

    • dovif says:

      08:47am | 12/09/12

      And Lying Julia and “what last surplus” Swann as their punching bag

    • acotrel says:

      09:57am | 12/09/12

      TA and BJ - ‘Dumb and dumber’ ?

    • acotrel says:

      09:59am | 12/09/12

      @Dovif
      Have you seen this topic ? :
      Alarming new evidence of Dubya terror negligenceby Daniel Piotrowski

      That is where your sort of idiocy leads.

    • Coxy says:

      06:45am | 12/09/12

      In my area the Qatar government have bought quite a few big properties. Their plan is to raise merino wethers on the properties and ship them back to Qatar as the reach appropriate weights. Previously they would have bought the sheep from Australian farmers, so I guess they are cutting out a few middle men while suring up their nation’s food security.

      Now I’m not completely against foreign investment. Importation of capital ultimately has to make Australia richer however there are a few questions regarding the above scenario which I can’t help but feel a bit uneasy about.
      Firstly are there the right laws in place to make sure that Australia can tax the production of the sheep by the Qatarian government. As their monetry value will not be realized in Australia how does this work?

      Secondly it is obvious that the Qataries as well as other foreigners but especially foreign governments are shoring up food security for their own people by purchasing Australian farms. My instinctive view is that it would be more in Australia’s interest to be producing it then selling it to them rather than letting them produce it using our resources then shipping it back home.

      Also I know its unlikely, but could the day possibly come when all of Australia will just be a food bowl for other countries and we haven’t got enough farming land in Australian ownership to feed ourselves? I know it’s extremely unlikely as Australia is a big place, but surely one day a line will have to be drawn to ensure our own food security.

    • Rebecca says:

      01:40pm | 12/09/12

      Australia has the most weathered ancient soils of any land mass on the planet. Agriculture has wrecked havoc with the environmental sustainability of this wide brown land.  Inviting foreign investment on board in the Agriculture sector does not ensure best sustainability practises are followed. It is a dangerous predicament if we head down this path of selling off farms to feed our regional neighbours at the expense of the threatened and endangered species currently in the firing line of extinction. We desperately need an open and transparent debate that takes into account the environmental and biodiversity issues specifically related to sustainable food production. Without it we are just making a problem much worse.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      07:18am | 12/09/12

      Frank. The issue of foreign investment in Australia is not a purely economics issue.

      A more fundamental issue is National Security. Reason why we should take special care about major investments from China, India, Japan and Indonesia is that we do not want such investments to become issues and become conflicts with our most important customers and neighbours.

      For example at the height of the Global Financial Crisis the President of China personally phoned the President of USA on the bankruptcy of Fannie Mae. Under normal market conditions Fannie Mae should have been liquidated like many other big US companies at that time.

      But China stood to lose $500,000,000 invested in Fannie Mae as it was deemed to be guaranteed by the US Govt. If China were to lose that $500m what about its billions and billions investment in US Treasury Bond? So this incident clearly demonstrate the need to be specially careful about investments, especially State Owned Enterprises in farm lands in Australia.

      In my view the greatest threats to the security of many Asian nations and Australia is the looming critical food crisis in Asia before 2050. See Clark’s videos at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/video/2011-06/29/content_12798567.htm

    • M says:

      07:29am | 12/09/12

      SO about foreign investment and the price of houses…

      I loled hard when you suggested Australia operates on free market principles. Classic.

    • acotrel says:

      09:04am | 12/09/12

      Perhaps China should buy up the remainder of our manufacturing industry and move up market with it ?  It would give them access to another segment of the market, and they’d probably even be serious about quality management.

    • P. Walker says:

      12:20pm | 12/09/12

      Yes agree acotrel, something that the unions could finish off for manufacturing in Australia.

    • P. Walker says:

      12:21pm | 12/09/12

      Yes agree acotrel, something that the unions could finish off for manufacturing in Australia.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:42am | 12/09/12

      I wonder if there’s any room for discussion in the premise that you’re welcome to invest in what’s put on our soil, but you’re not welcome to invest in the soil itself?

    • Babylon says:

      01:46pm | 12/09/12

      There is a saying that cautions about ‘selling the farm’.

      Advocates of ‘selling the entire farm’ always lump it under Foreign Investment.

      But foreign investment used to mean monies from abroad running operations using local resources to make a profit from the sale to local resources and abroad.

      It never meant ‘owning a slice of Australia.’

      The ‘slice of Australia’ owners could bypass sales to local resources and the use of local resources altogether and just ship that produce home. They could drive up prices!

      Imagine this latter scenario during a global food crisis.

      Experts warn food prices could rise 50 percent over the next 10 years:
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-1711421/Food-prices-will-rise-50-within-decades.html

      Some 10 percent of Australia has gone under the new definition of ‘foreign investment.’

    • Get rid of both parties says:

      07:46am | 12/09/12

      Yes we should. Residential, commercial and mining too. It’s the dumbest thing we’ve ever let politicians do to us, and that’s saying a lot.

    • Dave says:

      08:09am | 12/09/12

      Frank Zumbo writes: “The irony is that in some of the countries seeking to invest in Australia it’s not acceptable to have a difference of opinion. Here in Australia we can have a debate about foreign investment, but in other countries Australians either can’t invest or they can only do so in a limited way.”

      I quite agree with this statement. I wish other countries had the freedom to denounce anyone who disagreed with them as “free market fundamentalists” who have “swallowed an economics textbook” and cause small businesses, farmers and consumers to suffer and be “ripped off.” It’s a wonder an attack on petrol pricing wasn’t slipped in as well.

      Zumbo presents his argument as the dichotomy of “free market fundamentalists,” a term which is characteristically undefined, and wiser, more sensible people.

      What Zumbo is actually arguing for is not more democracy in decisions of this nature; it is arguing for more power and authority to be handed to politicians and bureaucrats in central government, just as long as the decision makers agree with his beliefs.

      Zumbo also fails to explain why free market principles cannot be embraced domestically, with a degree of political review over major international transactions like this, especially when the potential buyers are foreign governments which have the potential to be hostile to us.

    • acotrel says:

      12:38pm | 12/09/12

      ‘Zumbo also fails to explain why free market principles cannot be embraced domestically’

      One failure of free trade occured during the 1800s and led to WW1 through the international anarchy it generated, now we have the GFC.  The big new religion of Globalism is great!
      There should be more history in schools, we are being manipulated because we don’t know the techniques used previously by the greedy.

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:16am | 12/09/12

      Farms are privately owned. The only people that should decide how they’re sold are the private owners of the farms. If you don’t want them being sold to someone you don’t like then buy them yourself.

    • wakeuppls says:

      09:37am | 12/09/12

      Nope, eminent domain exists in this country. Haven’t you seen “The Castle”? How very un-Australian of you.

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:48am | 12/09/12

      Even my Constitutional Law professor said The Castle would not work in real life. There is a Constitutional power for the government to resume land for certain purposes but only if adequate compensation is given.

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:45pm | 12/09/12

      Yeah, and how many farmers do you know can afford QC’s at the Supreme Court level to defend their property?

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:02pm | 12/09/12

      Quite a few. Especially in the larger farms. Plus, I doubt you’d need a QC. Simple reading of the Constitution by your local bush lawyer would get the money pretty quickly if it wasn’t offered after a valuation in the first place.

    • M says:

      01:24pm | 12/09/12

      Aren’t farmers supposed to be wealthy?

    • Kika says:

      04:48pm | 12/09/12

      Tubesteak - I thought you said you were smart. Freehold title and Leases are the ways we own land. It’s still ultimately owned by the government to do what they want whenever they want. Adequate compensation = Market Rate. Not auction prices. Not lifted a little bit here and there. Flat market rate. No bells and whistles. Ask the people around Kedron and the northside here what they think about market rates.

    • Achmed says:

      08:38am | 12/09/12

      Ignoring the fact that foreign investment has increased only 0.6% in the last 10 years. And that they hold only around 1% of property.

      Lets beat it up and manipulate the current xenophobic mood in the community and pretend the Liberals/Coalition have never had anything to do with it and its all Labor.

      You naive fools

    • Ausbloke says:

      09:54am | 12/09/12

      Ahh, Yes the only 1% foreign Land ownership Red Herring, but what percentage of certain high rainfall farming lands are now Chinese, 10-20%?
      Chinese soils (and some others not just hinese)are heavily depleted, cause eventual sickness from deficiencys, Australian soil is GOLDEN soil.
      We import these garbage foods and export our own, its wrong, and everything that is going on atm is wrong, i hope it can be eventually fixed one day for future generations of Australians.

    • lostinperth says:

      02:17pm | 12/09/12

      But the real problem is once a farm is owned by a foreign entity they are entitled to replace Australian workers with foreign workers. And if the goods are sold overseas to a related party, then little or no tax will be paid in Australia as they will not be making a profit.

      We loose jobs, income and the right to control Australian land and investment.

      The only fool is you Achmed who thinks that this in any way has any long term benefit for the country.

    • gabrianga says:

      08:53am | 12/09/12

      Disband FIRB and replace with a Gillard style “Community Cabinet?

      Miners should be invited to be part of FIRB but beware their self interest?
      Indigenous and other proposed members are “clean skins” and will not be “self serving”

      Perhaps Greenpeace,ACF,FOE could be joint Chairperson with Christine as CEO?

    • acotrel says:

      10:10am | 12/09/12

      Perhaps we should simply disappear up our own backsides ?

    • Anubis says:

      01:59pm | 12/09/12

      You are quite welcome to do that Acotrel.

    • murph says:

      09:01am | 12/09/12

      There is no doubt that Cubbie should be beyond the reach of the current buyers.  Not because they are Chinese but because they are fascists and a legal dispute between the crown and the landholder potentially becomes a sovereign matter.

      That said, this is the most retarded headline I think I’ve ever seen on this site - and that’s saying something.

    • Get rid of both parties says:

      09:38am | 12/09/12

      Why would we sell assets that we’ll certainly be needing in the future?

    • Stop Rural Foreign Investment says:

      01:42pm | 12/09/12

      City folk seem to forget that with the population of Australia increasing, farmland for cropping and grazing in Rural Australia is actually decreasing. Land is being lost to CSG, mining, and to a lesser extent, wind farms, phone towers, solar farms, lifestyle sub-divisions etc. And foreigh investors. The Chinese have admitted the outputs from “Cubby Station” will go directly back to China, and not be available to the Australian market. Google “Cubby Station” and look at the size, scope and production…now lost to Australian markets.

      Food doesn’t miraculously appear in supermarkets. It comes from a source. And if that source is reducing, it’s very worrisome for the future.

      In the case of “Cubby Station” China is buying it for China’s benefit. No-one else’s. This Government is gullible enough to allow it to happen. What sort of back-room deals have been made ? Something like “hey, we’ll let you have Cubby…but please keep buying our ore” ?

      Stop and think about the fact that if our population doubles, and farmland is reducing, the advancements that are desperately needed to double food production from those reducing land areas. Now think of other countries, who may not have the luxury of technological advancements, and are seeking to invest in other countries, for the purposes of their own interests. Once it’s sold it’s gone. Like Bligh did to our state assets. At Federal level they don’t seem to have a clue either.

      Our Government is insane allowing such investment. We must protect our own assets for our own future. Foreign investment should not be allowed, at all, in agricultural areas whose production is for the benefit of the populace. Let them buy up Gold Coast apartments. No-one cares about them. But when it comes to production of a vital product such as food, then hands-off.

    • the cynic says:

      03:06pm | 12/09/12

      Stop Rural Foreign Investment says: “Food doesn’t miraculously appear in supermarkets. It comes from a source. And if that source is reducing, it’s very worrisome for the future.” But in this case
      Cubby station is a cotton farm can’t think when was the last time I sat down to a meal of roast cotton. But the rest of your comments I agree. We should let anyone invest in Australia but never let them own the Terra firma. Unless you are a local try buying freehold in places like Japan and Thailand to name just two.

    • Stop Rural Foreign Investment says:

      03:58pm | 12/09/12

      @cynic…point taken, but note that the cotton is to be used exclusively for suits for middle-class Chinese. So the produce is lost to this market, being directly exported.

      My intent was that produce doesn’t miraculously appear in stores. It comes from a source, and if that source is in decline, whilst population is on the rise, one wonders what the future holds.

      In that sense I should have also discussed the decline in dairy farm numbers since deregulation in NSW and QLD. Dairy farmers are exiting the industry in droves, from issues separate to foreign investment.

      Thus, on a national scale, what is worrying is the overall decline in agriculture from a myriad of impacts. Mining is one. Foreign Investment another. It all appears out of control, with no Government body regulating with the aim of protecting our future. China isn’t stupid. To protect their country, they are investing in other countries. We need to be protecting ours, for ourselves.

    • Joan says:

      09:55am | 12/09/12

      Future Australians will not thank us for selling land out to highest foreign bidder just so a few greedy Australians can benifit. Australian land for Australian people - foreigners can lease land for business persuit.

    • AdamC says:

      10:01am | 12/09/12

      I am all for a contest of ideas, but this article just creates a silly straw man - that ‘free market fundamentalists’ are opposed to debate on foreign ownership - then repeats a few silly slogans and unsupported accusations ad nauseum. There is no serious argument presented for restricting foreign investment more than we already do. I, on the other hand, am quite prepared to make the case for open foreign investment.

      It is quite straightforward, actually. Even if you have an aversion to ‘free market fundamentalism’, you cannot deny that there is simply insufficient capital available in Australia to finance the investment needde to develop our agricultural (and mining and energy) industries. Closing off our economy, or sections of it, to foreign investment is therefore consigning it to stagnation. If ample, local capital were available to finance development in this country, then this would be a serious debate. As it is, it is just an opportunity for soapbox rants by populists like Joyce and the author.

    • Anna C says:

      10:07am | 12/09/12

      I have a problem with foreigners buying up our water and good agricultural land.  I would prefer that they lease it instead.  I think it would be a mistake if Australia became a country that could no longer feed itself.  I don’t want us to make the same mistake that a lot of African countries are making selling off their best agricultural land to the Chinese.  This appears to me to be short term gain for long term pain.   

      I think the FIRB is a joke.  Everyone knows that it acts as a rubber stamp for the Government.  Why do the FIRB refuse to release stats about the number of foreigners buying residential property in Australia.  Given the already astronomical houses prices in places like Sydney I think it is unfair to allow these foreign investors to push house prices even further and out of the reach of many young home buyers.  In my area there has been a huge influx of non-resident Chinese buyers who are buying up to 80% of the units in new unit blocks.  Our property market is being heavily promoted overseas meanwhile Australians are unable to buy property in China.  Why is it that when Australians question foreigners buying up our houses we are accused of racism while it seems perfectly acceptable for the Chinese Government to disallow foreigners from buying homes there.  Why this double standard?  Why isn’t anyone accusing them of racism?

    • George says:

      11:11am | 12/09/12

      Racism is just a word used as a weapon to try and shut down debate so that certain people get their own way. Both the property industry and lefties have their agendas intersecting here.

      Personally I couldn’t care less about foreigners buying up our farms if they can buy our residential property like it’s candy.

    • DOB says:

      12:09pm | 12/09/12

      Anna C

      Australians are unable to buy property in China? Who told you that? (although if you did it you might not like the fact that when you sell it you cant get your money back out very easily). But - just for the record - China has a few population problems (perhaps you havent noticed?) and therefore has a savage household registration system that limits the rights of ordinary Chinese citizens to buy residential houses. If there are problems for freigners buying residential property in China then you’ll find that the same restriction will also apply to hundreds of millions of Chinese - do you want foreigners to have more rights than ordinary Chinese? (which foreigners in practice already have anyway). Not asking for much are you?

      Also, while we’re at it, NO-ONE can buy land in China. They can only lease it from the government for 50 years. Kind of like exactly what youre proposing for foreigners in Australia really, only the Chinese system applies to everyone, equally, foreigner and Chinese alike.

      Want to buy or build a business in China? No worries, just stump up the money. The only restrictions are in the “strategically sensitive” industries - which Australia and other western countries also have limits on.

      It appears a little ignorance will go a long way - and a lot of people commenting here seem supremely ignorant about the facts of business and property ownership in China. In fact, Id say most of you are supremely ignorant of even the basics of China and life in China. How about this as a reasonable starting point for a discussion? If you dont know something about a subject why not just shut up and LISTEN instead of sharing ignorant opinions with everyone? Or do some of you know so little that you arent aware how ignorant you really are?

      Lastly, this article is garbled nonsense. It has no real connection to the real world and is a simplistic polemic. Id bet a lot of people reading it are more confused and ill-informed after they read it than they were before they read it.

    • Chopper knows says:

      12:59pm | 12/09/12

      Anna C just sounds like she is Jealous of chinese people buying a new unit that she had her eye on but can’t afford. this is generally called racism as she does not mention other races such as Indians, Italians, greek etc that also have a heavy hand on new units. I know because I work in the property industry. As for her saying why she can not buy in China, this is just to justify her unhappiness in the situation. Why would she want to buy in China? Australia is a better to live country. I would bet my bottom dollar that if Anna C won $500,000k in the lottery and given the choice to invest it in foreign property and only given certain locations, lets say China, Thailand, US, England, Spain and Sydney. I would bet she would not choose China to buy a property in. Congratulations Anna on your obvious racist rant.

    • Anna C says:

      02:18pm | 12/09/12

      DOB, you are right apparently foreigners can purchase property in China however only if they intend on living there unlike in Australia.  http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-08/01/content_11077557.htm 

      DOB and Chopper knows, what is wrong with our young working people aspiring to home ownership in their own country?  Where do you suggest they live?

      Chopper knows, I heard last year that 10,000 real estate agents left the real estate industry.  Our economy is tanking and soon many property investors will be heading for the exists.  I suggest you start looking for a new job mate.  Your days of selling off Australia lock stock and barrel are over.

    • Chopper knows says:

      03:18pm | 12/09/12

      @ Anna C, oh really? so i am bad for selling homes to human beings and I will be punished by this and be sacked? I did not know you were my manager Anna C, my manager is a chinese investor..

    • Jeremy says:

      10:14am | 12/09/12

      Please Frank, when foreign investment saves many businesses from bankruptcy, and creates wealth creating businesses from loos making ones - where were the Australians lining up to invest their own money? Correct, they weren’t. Without foreign investment our economy wouldn’t function properly. Would you also suggest we withdraw all of Australia’s foreign investments? Even if we used an amount of those monies for internal investment, those industries and companies would lose access to foreign markets, which would in turn cause them to suffer. Before you try to stiffle the debate with scaremongering, perhaps you should make yourself more aware of economic realities at home and globally?

    • Joan says:

      11:28am | 12/09/12

      The owners just have to accept the best Australian bid . If its not coming then they are just asking too much and have overdeveloped.  We should not sell out Australian land so dopey Australian business men who can’t make a go of it get rewarded by rich cashed up foreigners investors. - people to whom we have already lost our manfucaturing now coming to buy up our land - no siree- if foreigners want to do business they can lease not buy land . And dopey Australian business men who can’t make of go of it just get the best price Australians offer or let the land go to fallow.

    • Hanzel says:

      10:32am | 12/09/12

      If our government no longer wants to protect the assets of citizens, then perhaps it’s time to look at the morality of paying taxes to a ‘national’ government - maybe the taxes and votes should go straight to the UN, IMF or WTO if that’s where the real power lies.

      There’s no time limit on developing agricultural land and we’re not starving - whether we develop more farming tomorrow or in 200 years, it matters not.

    • AdamC says:

      10:42am | 12/09/12

      “There’s no time limit on developing agricultural land and we’re not starving - whether we develop more farming tomorrow or in 200 years, it matters not.”

      Er, yes it does. You miss out on 200 years of the valuable output of the land.

    • Get rid of both parties says:

      10:39am | 12/09/12

      @David C

      You’re joking right? It’s coming.

      Wages are heading down, banks are tightening loans, unemployment’s rising, rents stagnant.

      Run away from housing.

    • Du says:

      10:56am | 12/09/12

      I did not believe in the Domino Theory. I realize I was Wrong,but there is a slight difference, It didn’t work with guns.It works with cash Chinese capital takes over from the British and Americans as the owners of Australian Industry and agriculture

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      12:34pm | 12/09/12

      If finance is required to kick off or expand a business (including farms) and cannot be found in Australia, then getting it from overseas should not be argued with.

      But, the percentage of the business value ‘sold’ should not be allowed to exceed 40% meaning that the control remains in Australian hands.

      If a foreigner is willing to commit money you can be certain that they have investigated and believe the investment to be very viable and safe.

      Should the present owner want to (for whatever reason) completely sell out, perhaps the government should buy the balance or have it as a rule that superannuation funds be committed.

      By law a certain percentage (say 75%) of super funds should have to be invested in Australian industry to boost business and jobs here.

      As for rural property, even if the use right now is not needed, it will be sure to be viable before too long.

      Homes should never be sold to foreigners to either hold empty as an investment or rented to Australians for ridiculous amounts.

    • cedric says:

      12:35pm | 12/09/12

      What a load of convoluted verbose garbage.  Let’s stick with the headline, “The people should decide if foreigners can have our farms”. Agreed, they do, and they have. There is a chance to change the laws though, administered by the FIRB; that’s at the next federal election.

    • Quality not Quantity says:

      01:04pm | 12/09/12

      I thought it was more like 10%. Let them lease it instead. This is disgusting, and when it is sold off, used up, dried off, mined out and gone, where do our children go to for food. Their billions of people and counting, that screwed their own countries over with their overbreeding versus our 20 million and those that kept this arid land sustainable. Wait until we get a good drought and this arid continent dries up under their greed. Which politician will stand up for our nation and say enough! We have become a joke that can be bought and smirked at for a low price.

    • Quality not Quantity says:

      01:04pm | 12/09/12

      I thought it was more like 10%. Let them lease it instead. This is disgusting, and when it is sold off, used up, dried off, mined out and gone, where do our children go to for food. Their billions of people and counting, that screwed their own countries over with their overbreeding versus our 20 million and those that kept this arid land sustainable. Wait until we get a good drought and this arid continent dries up under their greed. Which politician will stand up for our nation and say enough! We have become a joke that can be bought and smirked at for a low price.

    • Chopper knows says:

      02:19pm | 12/09/12

      There overbreeding is not overbreeding, it’s due to the fact China has a 5000 year history and Australia is only 240 years of the WASP. If australia(colonial) was 5000 yrs old and it started off with only adam and eve, it too would have 1.3 billion people now. China has the strictest population controls in the world for a while now and the one child policy still exists. Please study your history first before such un-educated posts Qaulity not Quantity, it only makes you sound mis-informed and in-coherant.

    • Ray says:

      02:32pm | 12/09/12

      Foreign governments or corporations owned by those governments should be automatically prohibited from owning land or providing services in Australia.

      After all, no foreign nation would allow Australian governments or corporations owned by those governments to own land or provide services in those countries.

    • DocBud says:

      02:58pm | 12/09/12

      This is not the well reasoned article one would expect of an academic, its facile arguments and weak analysis are better suited to a press release from an advocacy organisation representing one side of the debate. Characterising those who approach the debate from a free market, property rights perspective as intolerant fundamentalists while conferring common sense on those who believe the supposed national interest is a justification for restricting property rights is hardly the even handed behaviour one would hope to see from an Associate Professor.

    • Cynicised says:

      03:11pm | 12/09/12

      Foreign investment, not foreign ownership. Lease, not freehold.  Acceptance of oversight of sustainable land management and farming practices, coupled with abiding by our employment laws as preconditions (the latter is a given) and I’ll have no problem.

    • Quality not Quantiy says:

      03:43pm | 12/09/12

      @ chopper knows, go fish somewhere else. Does not matter if it’s 5000 years old or 240 years old. They out populise us by billions. You go study your own history.Take it to the people and see what they vote for, and I don’t care what I sound like to you, chopper knows. I was not talking to you. This country still has free speech at the moment. You don’t need to be educated up the whazoo to see what’s going on.

    • Chopper knows says:

      04:42pm | 12/09/12

      “Does not matter if it’s 5000 years old or 240 years old”, That just sounds so ignorant. Human regeneration does matter on how long a specie procreates at. Did you do maths in Primary school? in 4800 years Australia will have a similar amount of people as well and by then we’ll probably try and buy a spot on a planet in another galaxy.
      So do you just hate the human race or do you just hate A certain human race in particular? Try and give me an educated response on this with the amount of education you have had even if its not beyong kindergarden level..

    • Kika says:

      04:51pm | 12/09/12

      I’m not a big fan of foreign investment in our farming lands. However, if they must, then they all should be subject to the same laws we are. We don’t want our rivers running red due to lax environmental practices, or animals suffering unnecessarily.

    • Quality not Quantity says:

      06:08pm | 12/09/12

      @ Chopper knows nothing. If you went to school in Australia you would have learn’t what an arid continent this country is. Keep to the topic, and use spellcheck while your at it. Your spelling is laughable. Did you learn that at “property school”.

      Australia achieved independent sovereign nationhood status validly and legally on October 1, 1919 following the end of WW1. This most historical event came about as a result of Australia’s involvement in the war. The minutes of both the House of Representatives and the Senate known as ‘Hansard’ dated September 10, 1919 and October 1, 1919 record in detail how & why Australia had achieved independent sovereign nationhood status for the first time, so welcomed into the family of nations by all world nations as a foundation member state of the then League of Nations. At that moment sovereignty passed from the United Kingdom to the Australian people. Why this most historical event is not taught in Australian schools and universities is difficult to understand.

      It is we that own the government.

      Let the people decide who gets to own our farms and country.

 

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