Penny Wong Denounces Morrison Government’s Position on Taiwan as “Most Dangerous Election Tactic in Australian History” | australian politics

The Morrison government is embarking on “the most dangerous electoral tactic in Australian history” by raising the possibility of Australia joining a war against Taiwan, according to Labor Party chief adviser Penny Wong.

The shadow foreign minister will use a speech on Tuesday to accuse Scott Morrison of “desperately playing politics against China whenever he gets in trouble” – citing the prime minister’s recent attempt to portray Labor as being on the side from Beijing.

Wong will also accuse Defense Minister Peter Dutton of deviating from the long-standing bipartisan policy towards Taiwan. She will say that Dutton is doing the Taiwanese people a disservice by amplifying Beijing’s fatalism about the limited options available.

In a sweeping foreign policy speech, Wong will say Australia needs to expand its power and influence, including restoring its “reputation as straight shooters who pull our weight.”

She will say it is a time of “great uncertainty” with challenges such as “the rise of nationalism, the unraveling of multilateralism, competition from the great powers, emerging strains of Covid, a constantly warming planet – and a more assertive China ”.

“Amplify” the war

The Australian government and Labor have both raised concerns over increased Chinese military pressure against Taiwan, a democratically ruled island of 24 million people, as part of Beijing’s long-term goal of ‘unification’ with what he considers his territory.

Dutton told the Australian newspaper earlier this month: “The question is, are we going to join the United States? It would be inconceivable that we did not support the United States in action if the United States chose to take this step. “

Wong will characterize Dutton’s comments in the context of the Morrison government’s reported intention to make national security a goal of the election, which is due to take place by May.

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“Raising the prospect of a war against a superpower is the most dangerous electoral tactic in Australian history – a tactic employed by irresponsible politicians who are desperate to cling to power at any cost,” Wong will say in a speech at Australian National University on Tuesday.

The Labor Party spokesman for foreign affairs will describe a conflict in Taiwan as the greatest risk to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, with potentially “catastrophic consequences for humanity”.

Australia, Wong says, has long taken a bipartisan advocacy stance to deter unilateral changes to the status quo in Taiwan. The Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States have also confirmed a “strategic ambiguity” about whether to join a war against Taiwan. Dutton is “extremely out of step” with this strategy.

“The real question is surely not, as he suggests, whether we declare our intentions, but why the Defense Minister is escalating the war, rather than working to maintain a long-standing policy to preserve the status quo – as recommended by the Taiwanese leader, Tsai Ing-magnifying glass. “

Wong will point to the observations of Natasha Kassam of the Lowy Institute that the People’s Republic of China has long pushed the narrative that “the only options available to Taiwan are unification or war.”

Other analysts have also argued that Beijing’s goal is “to gradually weaken the will of the people of Taiwan to resist integration with the mainland.”

On Monday in parliament, Dutton said the Australian government “brings certainty to Australians in matters of national security.”

“People understand – they have seen Labor operate in the past, they understand Labor is weak when it comes to national security,” Dutton told parliament.

“And the reality is he is not getting weaker than this Leader of the Opposition.”

“Never trust him again”

Wong will present Dutton’s comments on Taiwan as “the worst in a litany of cases of the Morrison-Joyce government seeking to use foreign policy and national security for political ends.”

She will cite Morrison’s attempt to tie the Labor leader to China as another “shameless example.”

Earlier this month, Morrison was asked if he was concerned that French President Emmanuel Macron and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are both calling him a liar. Morrison replied, “Well, no. I see Anthony Albanese backed by the Chinese government and a number of others attacking me as well.”

Wong will say that while it is true that China has changed and relations have become more difficult for Australia to manage, the prime minister’s instinct to play politics “does nothing to strengthen the authority of Mr. . Morrison with the Australians or Beijing “.

She will say that world leaders “will never trust her again after she leaked private text messages” related to the cancellation of the sub’s contract “which in fact proved President Macron did not know what was to come, exposing another lie “.

Projecting a “Confident, Unified and Modern Australia”

In more general remarks on Tuesday, Wong will say Australia needs to expand its power and influence by putting “political interests aside from our national interests” and bringing together all aspects of its governance.

This would include reaching “the vast untapped power of our people” and projecting “a confident, united and modern Australia into the modern world”.

Wong will argue that Australia must treat South East Asia as a priority. While Labor has supported Aukus’ partnership with the US and UK, she says this needs to be matched with more regional engagement.

She will pledge to appoint a Special Envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), “a high-level, well-respected traveling representative in the region, to complement our diplomatic network and forge close relationships. with capitals “.

Wong will also blame the government for “stubbornly ignoring” calls from Pacific leaders for Australia to do the right thing on the climate, saying that credible “escalation” in the region “will not would only happen under a genuine Albanian Labor government on the climate. ”.

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