Resources Minister Martin Ferguson warned Coalition leader Tony Abbott on Tuesday of the negative impact of constant Opposition anti-China messages on foreign investments.
He cited at a Sydney forum on Chinese investment the remarks on foreign investments by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce which would require harder work on the part of the federal government to correct the record.
Mr Joyce even had a run-in with senior Liberals over the party's foreign investment policy due to his opposition to the planned sale of Cubbie Station, Australia's largest cotton grower, to a Chinese company.
Mr Abbott himself, in his July visit to China, brought out concerns over state-owned Chinese enterprises that want to invest in Australia.
"You expect these comments from the likes of the Greens, minor political parties, (but) not from a party such as the coalition that actually desires to be the alternative government in Australia. It is the responsibility of the leader of the opposition to sort out the opposition," Perth Now quoted Mr Ferguson.
Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull, who addressed the forum also, belied Mr Ferguson's charge that the Opposition is sending a mixed message on foreign investment.
"These concerns about foreign investment that are expressed in Australia are neither unexpected nor unreasonable. You've got to respect and understand the concerns, but nonetheless . . . the key litmus test has to be the national interest of Australia," Mr Turnbull was quoted by Perth Now.
Taking the side of Mr Ferguson, China Daily newspaper Deputy Editor-in-Chief, said Mr Abbott's comments in China were widely reported and highly debated in China. He also said the federal government's decision to ban telecommunications company Huawei from bidding for work on the national broadband network. Mr Qu said Chinese companies are bewildered at Australia's tough restrictions on investment.
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