Sorry for Palmer’s com­ments

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In the 1980s, on be­half of Al­coa and the Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment in Aus­tralia, I ne­go­ti­ated with CITIC to take a 10 per­cent in­ter­est in the Port­land Smelter joint ven­ture. Over a pe­riod of 18 months, we built a re­la­tion­ship and fi­nal­ized the var­i­ous agree­ments cul­mi­nat­ing in CITIC’s suc­cess­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in May 1986.

Al­most 30 years later, it re­mains a par­tic­i­pant, having in­creased its share to 22.5 per­cent. Dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, my team met with many of CITIC’s se­nior man­age­ment of­fi­cials. With­out ex­cep­tion they were pro­fes­sional, eco­nom­ics-savvy and fully un­der­stood nor­mal busi­ness and le­gal prac­tices. Many held post-grad­u­ate de­grees from lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties from around the world, and they be­haved like any large cor­po­ra­tion ex­ec­u­tives in theWest­ern world. It was in­deed a plea­sure to deal with them.

This is in stark con­trast to the views of Aus­tralian busi­ness­man andMin­er­al­ogy owner Clive Palmer and his ig­no­rant and of­fen­sive com­ments about the com­pany and the Chi­nese peo­ple in gen­eral. Palmer ex­em­pli­fies the rich bully who can­not get his way. It shows that wealth doesn’t buy you de­cency, re­spect and in­tegrity.

I join with oth­ers in apol­o­giz­ing for his ap­palling be­hav­ior and as­sur­ing the Chi­nese peo­ple that Palmer does not rep­re­sent the views of the great ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians.

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