The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that very overt foreign influence now occurs through investment.
Right now US corporations eclipse everyone else in their ability to influence our politics, through their investments in Australian stocks.
Using company ownership data from Bloomberg, I analysed the ownership of Australia’s 20 biggest companies a few days after the 2019 federal election in May. Of those 20, 15 were majority-owned by US-based investors. Three more were at least 25% US-owned.
- ^ Inside China's vast influence network – how it works, and the extent of its reach in Australia (theconversation.com)
- ^ any change in law or policy (theconversation.com)
- ^ an abuse of process (theconversation.com)
- ^ The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime (global.oup.com)
- ^ foreign influence transparency laws (www.ag.gov.au)
- ^ Agents of foreign influence: with China it's a blurry line between corporate and state interests (theconversation.com)
Authors: Clinton Fernandes, Professor, International and Political Studies, UNSW