Chinese state media on Tuesday accused Australia of seeking to destabilise the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as it was reported that Prime Minister Tony Abbott would not be re-elected next year.
The comments by the state-run Global Times came as Australia’s biggest business lobby group, the Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), also issued a scathing criticism of the Abbott Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Australian Government has failed to properly plan, coordinate and plan for the coronas coronaviruses (COVID-19), failing to control the virus and failing to prepare the country for a new and severe pandemic,” the ACCI’s president Andrew Robb said.
“We call on the Government to immediately address this and reverse the Coalition’s plan to limit the spread of COVID-20.”
Mr Robb was speaking at the end of a conference held by the Australian Chamber of Business in Adelaide, where he was one of six business leaders, including former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who warned of the risk of a global pandemic if Australia failed to take steps to limit COVID.
The ACCI has previously called for the Coalition to “put aside political expediency” and ensure the coronases coronaviral control measures are implemented and “take into account the full range of the risks associated with COVID”.
Mr Robb said the Government should consider the need to control COVID by “preventing, controlling and eradicating COVID in the first place”.
“I urge the Government not to let a coronavid pandemic take hold and instead to prioritise its efforts to prevent and control COVI in the years ahead,” he said.
“We are in a very, very dangerous place and we mustn’t let this become the new normal.”
Mr Abbott has been accused of failing to fully implement COVID control measures, which have included limiting travel, limiting public transport and tightening air quality regulations, as well as limiting the number of days people can spend in hospital.
Mr Robb also called for a review of Australia’s “fiscal sustainability” to ensure that Australia had enough money to ensure people have a secure retirement.
“That’s the key question: is there enough money in the budget to ensure Australians have a comfortable retirement and we can afford to live in a society that is sustainable?” he said, before accusing Mr Abbott of “waging a war on the middle class”.
“The Government should make the tough decision to spend more money and get rid of tax breaks and unnecessary taxes and the superannuation tax cuts and the unfair superannuity tax cuts,” he added.
“It’s time to take a hard look at our fiscal sustainability.”