When It Comes to China, Albanese is One Silly Sausage

20 June 2024


Last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked about prices at a sausage sizzle in Sydney.

Triple M radio host Mick Malloy told the PM that Vivid Festival was charging Australians $8.50 for a sausage in bread, and he wondered what Albanese thought.

The PM replied immediately that it was, and I quote, “rubbish” and “unAustralian. Absolutely!”

So there you go. The PM can take a stand when he wants to.

It’s just a pity that he reserves his strongest condemnation, for the price of a snag in bread.

If only Chinese Premier Li Qiang was a sausage.

While standing firm on the rights of Australians to access affordable sausage sizzles, the PM was rather less firm on the rights of Australian journalists to not be physically intimidated, harrassed or blocked on home soil by foreign agents.


When asked what he thought about the way in which Chinese officials had treated Australian journalist Cheng Lei during a press conference in Canberra on Monday, the PM had only this to say:

“We have different values and different political systems. And we saw some of that yesterday,

“I’ve got to say, with the attempt that was pretty ham-fisted to block Cheng Lei, the Australian journalist who we were able to get brought home, at the press conference. There was a clumsy attempt, really, to just stand in between where the cameras were, and Cheng Lei.”

Ham-fisted and clumsy?

It’s an interesting choice of words to describe an attempt by Chinese officials to bully an Australian journalist.

You might have expected our national leader to describe the behaviour as “unacceptable” or “wrong”.

But you’d need to ask the PM about a sausage sizzle to elicit that kind of moral clarity.

To describe the treatment dished out to Cheng Lei as clumsy is to imply there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with what the Chinese did. It was just the way in which the Chinese did it.

Those clumsy authoritarians. If only they exercised their totalitarian instincts on our people in a more — you know — graceful and skilful way.

The Prime Minister dismissed the incident as an example of “different values and different political systems”.

Well yes. The Chinese Premier does come from a different political system.

It’s an authoritarian dictatorship in which political opponents are harassed, harangued and, in some cases, jailed for long periods without trial.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened to Cheng Lei, who was released less than a year ago after spending more than three years in a dank prison cell on trumped-up charges.

For Chinese officials to treat any Australian journalist the way they did on Monday is unacceptable.

But to do it to a woman who had been a pawn in Beijing’s hostage diplomacy as recently as last October, is not clumsy or ham-fisted. It’s outrageous.

Later in the day, the Prime Minister told ABC radio:

“Our officials have followed up with the Chinese embassy to express our concern.”


So our people have told their people, that their people ought to be less clumsy when harassing our people. Oh, and we hope this doesn’t mean we won’t be getting our pandas.

Describing the treatment of Cheng Lei as “clumsy” reminds me of Albanese describing the treatment of our servicemen as “unprofessional” after a Chinese jet let off flares in front of one of our helicopters last month.

What does unprofessional mean? It was an amateurish attempt at endangering our forces? If the Chinese are going to down one of our helicopters over the Yellow Sea, they should do it properly, you know, in a professional manner?

Mincing Words

Last November, when a Chinese warship used sonar to injure Australian navy divers in international waters off the coast of Japan, Albanese described the incident as “regrettable”.

Regrettable for whom?

For the Chinese? Hardly.

For the Australian Navy diver who was injured? Undoubtedly.

For Anthony Albanese? Certainly.

He seemed then — as he does now — to highly regret being put in a position where he has to defend Australians and Australian interests from the Chinese Communist Party.

Little wonder Beijing dubbed him their handsome boy.

It’s not the Chinese who are clumsy or unprofessional.

And it’s certainly not the Chinese who have regret. They continue to push our buttons while boasting about how mature and respectful the relationship is.

What’s regrettable is that the Albanese Government seems so intent on normalising relations with China, that they are prepared to normalise abuse from China.

As my grandfather would say if he were still alive, Albanese is one silly sausage.


Republished with thanks to The James Macpherson Report.

Subscribe to his Substack here for daily witty commentary.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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One Comment

  1. Warwick Marsh 20 June 2024 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Great work James!!! Comedy with clarity. It is very sad comedy but extremely important that we ask the Prime Minister to stand up for the truth!!!!

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