Are Australian taxpayers funding trolls to fuel division?

I would just like to take this opportunity to welcome both the Asian Culture & Commerce Advisory Community and all of the individuals and organisations who are so committed to supporting positive engagement in cross-cultural and commercial activities.

We are very grateful for your commitment to multiculturalism, and to upholding dignity by treating people respectfully.

As the inaugural Chairperson for Red Circle Network's Advisory Board on Asia Culture & Commerce, I bring experience gained as Past National and State President of Australia China Business Council (ACBC), responsible for the creation of ACBC as the leading force in bilateral relations in the first two decades of this millennium.

This experience was enriched through my involvement as Ambassador for the Australia China Friendship Society Western Australia (ACFSWA) and as the founder of KPMG Australia's China business practice.

An important aspect of my role is to listen to the 100+ Asian Advisors, both from Australasia and worldwide, then corroborate and validate the feedback being given amongst our advisory peer networks, to then present this information to our advisory community, and the broader community, so that we can present an accurate record of what is actually happening, with a view to bringing communities together to do something positive.

While we have a preference to hear positive stories and celebrate all the wonderful things that are happening, we do so within a period of time in which there is a disparity between what is actually happening, and what we are being told is happening. This is very alarming. The core Red Circle Advisory Team is making a concerted effort to listen to feedback and then process the feedback and consider how we can engage communities and form consensus, after establishing the facts: to hold those in government accountable to improve the ethical standards of conduct.

It is clear to us that the standards of conduct of some people need to improve.

In terms of referring to the work of Marcus Reubenstein from APAC News, Marcus is an investigative journalist of very high ethical standards, who has worked for Seven Television Network and SBS Television and been a contributor to The Australian, Sunday Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, The Age, Fairfax Online, and CNN.

When Marcus exposes disinformation under APAC News, we are listening to and reading the information from one of Australia's last bastions of the Fourth Estate.

Marcus is not funded by nor has any affiliation with any parties which he would be a beneficiary of and have a conflict of interest. In fact, Marcus sacrifices income to tell the truth.

Marcus has shared an article on APAC news titled Department of Parliamentary Services and its privilege that alleges that Australian taxpayers may be funding a troll to fuel division, in the form of a government researcher accusing Chinese Australians of spying with no presented evidence.

You may like to read my story titled HOLDING MEDIA TO ACCOUNT, which covers how the ABC accused Chau Chak Wing, and Mr Chau won $590,000 in a defamation case in which the ABC had accused him of being a spy, and he was found not guilty. We would like to encourage the Australian Human Rights Commission to look into this behaviour.

What I'm sharing below is my response after consultation with my fellow Asia Culture & Commerce Advisory board members to share both my perspective with their consensus.

Australians as a rule do not appreciate hypocrisy and double standards, especially amongst its public servants.

Light is always at its most bright and penetrating when it illuminates the darkest places. It takes courage and persistence to shine light on the darkest, nastiest recesses and secrets of Government. I am stunned at the hypocrisy and double standards that allows a Canberra public servant to be paid to work full-time as a troll fomenting hatred and division. Even Defence Department Chiefs call out his “alarmist nonsense”- but he continues to be paid to spew out toxic tweets every 10-15 minutes of the day.

This unpleasant character, a certain Mr Geoff Wade, who is now having light shined on him for a change by leading investigative journalist, Marcus Reubenstein of APAC News is certainly well-known to me. Wade has previously targeted two close friends of mine, one of Chinese descent and one of Singaporean descent. Two wonderful Australians with warm hearts and a deep and abiding love for Australia that don’t deserve to be exposed to the vicious vitriol and spite of a public servant. People who have been targeted for the apparent sin of looking Asian and for benign acts like supporting friendly win-win culture and commerce engagement between Australia and China.

In my personal opinion, Wade has a warped ideological zeal and agenda that has scant regards for truth and decency. It is my view that he seeks to smear anyone who is not of his mindset, with the absurd proposition that anyone who has anything positive to say or contribute about China is a puppet of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Nonsense I know - but that is what Wade’s game appears to be all about.

That Wade is funded and encouraged by the Australian Government to push an ugly line of propaganda is truly despicable. This raises serious questions about the true motives and behaviours of the Australian Government, attacking our major trading partner and creating unnecessary friction and conflict.

As Reubenstein highlights: Wade has “published photos, phone numbers and personal email addresses of people whose only crime is being Chinese or advancing views contrary to his own”.

Wade's behaviour, funded by the Australian government, serves to undermine democracy and human rights by breaching the privacy of these Australian citizens.

In closing I would suggest that it is time for Australian Prime Minister Morrison to put an end to racially prejudiced behaviour and to reinstate a semblance of propriety, decency and respect into his leadership of Australian public service.

As BJ Zhuang, someone who worked at both Commonwealth and Western Australian State Government public service for 28 years, says,

"This case and other similar cases reinforce the importance of ethics and professionalism of our public service. With booming social media, it places much more responsibility upon supervision and discipline of public service."

I would like to recommend that the Department of Parliamentary Services is held to account to face the unethical behaviour of Wade, then turn their attention to other individuals and organisations that are promoting hatred towards Asian-Australians at other Australian government organisations. This should include, but not be limited to, ASPI.

If we can start to show that we can treat our own citizens equally, honouring human rights and democracy, then perhaps Ministers in Beijing will return to picking up our phone calls.

To some people who are new to this conversation, we must understand that a minority of people behaving in such a manner as to brutally and unfairly destroy the lives of fellow Australian citizens. Just because they are Asian.

What we allow to happen to one of us, we allow to happen to all of us.

Which is why I am putting the call out to all Asian Advisors to stand with us on upholding the human rights of the tens of millions of Asian citizens who are living peacefully and productively as cherished citizens in the West.

Duncan Calder | 邓曜东


Chairperson, Red Circle Network

Asia Culture & Commerce

Advisory Board

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