Opinion

Labor has a chance to calm the Australia-China storm and help the Pacific region

By Peter Dunn
Updated June 7 2022 - 7:14am, first published 7:13am
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, right, holds a joint press conference with Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa in Apia, Samoa, last Thursday. Picture: AAP

The last decade has seen a steady deterioration in relations between Australia and China. Over the last three years the Morrison government became increasingly shrill in its criticisms of Beijing. The "drums of war are beating" comments by Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo were a dramatic departure from practiced diplomacy and slammed shut Chinese doors to Australia. In its dying days the Morrison government continued to stoke fear and division in the Australia community over the security threat China posed to Australia. Then-PM Morrison announced an unenforceable "red line" over China's possible establishment of a military base in the Solomons but could not elaborate.

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