Scott Morrison And Paul Keating Are Sniping At Each Other Over China Policy
“China is simply too big and too central to be ostracised.”
Scott Morrison has slammed former Prime Minister Paul Keating after he claimed Australia has “lost its way” in his first address to the National Press Club in 26 years.
In the address on Wednesday, Keating asserted that China isn’t a threat to Australia, and that we should be ashamed of our policies on the issue.
“China is simply too big and too central to be ostracised,” said Keating. While he acknowledged the human rights issues and authoritarianism at hand in China, Keating also asserted that the nation is too big and powerful for Australia to ruin our relationship with.
“We are still trying to find our security from Asia rather than in Asia,” he said.
He also slammed the controversial AUKUS submarine deal, asserting that the subs — which won’t enter the water for at least two decades — will have no real impact.
“Eight submarines against China when we get the submarines in 20 years’ time – it’ll be like throwing a handful of toothpicks at the mountain,” he said, criticising Australia’s treatment of the French in the situation.
Morrison has quickly clapped back on Thursday morning, claiming that Keating can’t “see things clearly”.
“As people know, we’ve taken a very strong position here in the Indo-Pacific and we’ve taken a very strong stance standing up for Australia’s interests, and we’ve worked closely with our allies and our partners right across the region, not just the United States but (also) Japan and India, and the many nations of ASEAN who we work closely with to make sure that we aren’t pushed around in this part of the world” said Morrison.
“Now, the views that Paul Keating has expressed is in line with many I think in the Labor Party and that’s why I said … How we secure Australia’s interests in our part of the world, you have got to be strong.”
“You’ve got to be able to see things clearly. We are. That’s why we’ve invested more than our nation has invested in our defence at any time since the Second World War.”
According to Morrison, Australia must maintain a positive trade relationship with China, but must protect ourselves from being pushed around.
“I think Australians get it. We want to have a positive relationship with countries like China and trade with them, but at the same time, we’re not going to get pushed around,” he said.
However, Keating believes Australia should simply butt out of China’s disputes with Taiwan, asserting that it is not in our interest.
“Taiwan is not a vital Australian interest. We have no alliance with Taipei, none,” he said, contradicting the Australian government’s desire to strengthen ties with Taiwan.
“China doesn’t want American (and Australian) naval forces influencing. It wants access out of its coast into the deeper waters of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific.That’s what it’s about fundamentally.”
He also downplayed China’s militarisation of the South China Sea by asserting that “Big countries are rude.”
“They do this stuff,” he said.
While Morrison used these comments as an excuse to push the narrative that Labor can’t be trusted “when it comes to national security issues”, Labor Leader Anthony Albanese has refused to comment on whether or not he agrees with Keating.
“China has changed its stance, and Australia has too,” said Albanese. “We will always stand up for Australian values.”