DARWIN, Northern Territory (CU)_As Australia marked Anzac Day on Monday (25 April), commemorating all Australian and New Zealand troops who served and died in all wars and conflicts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended a service in Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. In his address, the Prime Minister commented on China’s recent security pact with the Solomon Islands, which has made national security a central issue of the federal election campaign.
The Prime Minister noted that Australia shares the same “red line” as the US that a potential Chinese military base in the South Pacific would be unacceptable. Pointing ongoing geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and Beijing’s “coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region, PM Morrison said an “arc of autocracy” is challenging the international rules-based order.
For his part, Defence Minister Peter Dutton claimed that “only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war”, warning that “people like Hitler” are not “consigned to history”. Speaking to Channel Nine’s Today, the Minister noted that the past sacrifices made by the Anzacs in conflict will not “see us through to eternity” without conflict in the region. “We have to be realistic that people like Hitler and others aren’t just a figment of our imagination or that they’re consigned to history. We have, [in Russian] president Putin at the moment, somebody who is willing to kill women and children. That’s happening in the year 2022,” he said, adding that China is “on a very deliberate course at the moment”.
“We have to stand up with countries to stare down any act of aggression … to make sure we can keep peace in our region and for our country,” Minister Dutton said. “The only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war and be strong as a country. Not to be on bended knee and be weak.”
Responding to these comments Labour’s Deputy Leader Richard Marles agreed that “we certainly need to prepare” for war but added that “we have not seen the preparation under this government”. “Words are one thing, action is another,” he told reporters in Darwin. “This is a government which beats its chest. When it comes to actually delivering, and doing what needs to be done, it’s a government which repeatedly fails.”