Foreign minister Julie Bishop is in emergency talks with Beijing after the Australian government announced it would not proceed with the ratification of an extradition treaty with China.
Despite being tabled in 2007, the treaty had never been legislated with some MPs still wary of ratification.
This week the Senate saw that it would stay that way.
The decision has “disappointed” China, which had upheld its end of the deal for the transfer of prisoners since 2008.
Bishop is trying to smooth things over but China is believed to have taken it as a breach of faith, according to The Australian.
Both Bishop and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had been urging Labor and the Senate crossbenchers to back the long-delayed treaty with China after it was backed by a report of parliament’s joint standing committee on treaties in December.
But it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Some Coalition MPs even said Bishop had tried to “lecture” them on why it needed to be backed but her “tone” did not support her cause.
Liberal MPs began raising concerns about the treaty last week.
On Monday Senator Cory Bernardi lodged a disallowance motion against the treaty.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott also said that China’s legal system needed to “evolve” before such a deal could take place.
The government is now blaming Opposition leader Bill Shorten for the collapse after Labor’s shadow cabinet on Monday night voted to withdraw bipartisan support, after backing the treaty when it was first announced.
The development has the potential the hurt relations between Australian and it’s largest trading partner, particularly after a promising visit from Chinese premier Li Keqiang last week in which he said that he hopes to keep the close relationship between to two countries “moving forward”.
The Australian has more.
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