6 May 2009

Letter to the Liberal Party regarding the proposed Rio Tinto-Chinalco deal

I recently wrote to senior members of the Liberal Party expressing my misgivings about the federal government approving the purchase of a $US19.5 billion stake in Rio Tinto by Chinalco, which is wholly owned by the Chinese government:

From: Justin Lee
To: Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Mathias Cormann
Date: 1 May 2009 13:31
Subject: Disapprove of Chinalco-Rio deal


I just want to let you know that I am a Rio share holder, and while the value of my shares have plummeted with the downturn (they've lost over 50% of their value), I disapprove of Chinalco owning such a substantial stake in the company. Chinalco is owned by a totalitarian state and the deal is not in the national interest.


I received this reply from Julie Bishop:

From: Bishop, Julie (MP)
To: Justin Lee
Date: 6 May 2009 17:03
Subject: Chinalco-Rio deal

Dear Justin

Thank you for your recent email, receipt of which was acknowledged by my adviser Sue.

I have read the response from Malcolm Turnbull and as he pointed out, the decision of the Board of Rio Tinto in relation to Chinalco raises a number of significant issues of national interest.

The Coalition welcomes foreign investment in Australia and recognises the important role it plays in our economy. However large Chinese companies, unlike other sources of foreign investment are owned, either in part or full by the Chinese Government.

The Coalition does not believe it is in our national interest for the Chinese Government to be purchasing controlling stakes in Australian strategic assets and resources.

The final decision to approve the purchase of Australian companies, land and mineral rights rests with the Treasurer, however the Foreign Takeovers and Acquisitions Act 1975 and the Foreign Investment Review Board regulate, review and report on this process.

The Coalition is committed to ensuring the sale of any our strategic assets and resources is in the national interest.

Best wishes


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