By Janine Perrett 

I know I keep banging on about foreign investment as a big issue but it really is.

Take what happened yesterday in Parliament for a start.

The National Party succeeded in having the threshhold lowered for the Foreign Investment Review Board to approve agricultural land purchases.

It was brought down from $250 million to $15 million which is quite a drop. Nat supporters of the bill claim it is not about being xenophobic and blocking foreign investment but simply so that we have more transparency around who is actually buying the farm.

And the lower limit for FIRB (foreign investment review board) approval does not mean that anything over that amount won't be approved anyway and this could all just add a layer of regulation and red-tape that has the free traders apoplectic.

We shall see.

Meanwhile the NSW State Government powers ahead with the sale of its electricity grid to foreign interests despite more warning from senior US security experts over the leading Chinese contender.

Presumably the PM's new inquiry into these sort of purchases, announced in the wake of the furor over the Darwin port sale to the Chinese, might hopefully actually put a check on greedy state governments.

Note the Victorian government's mad rush to expand the port of Melbourne to make it attractive to a big foreign buyer.

Will there be any sensitive infrastructure left that is not in the hands of the country which our own PM warned yesterday was provoking war in our region.

Just saying.

Meanwhile the empire strikes back. Sort of.

An Australian company, OnCard International has made a legal challenge to the sale of Tasmanian dairy company, Van Diemen's Land to foreign interests.

Yes it is a company that is challenging the sale not the FIRB, and apparently because they were gazzumped on price at the last minute.

It should be noted that this is Australia's oldest and largest dairy corporation which is interesting given last week FIRB did knock back the sale of our largest cattle operation, Kidman & Co.

Obviously we are less concerned about cows that give milk, which is surprising given the Chinese are clearing the shelves of the powdered stuff and you would think we want to guarantee supply of some of the fresh stuff for ourselves.

And if you think I'm being harsh and not backing up my strong free trade stance with a strong foreign investment of any kind stance, I simply ask you how many farms can Australian buyers purchase in China?