Left Menu
Development News Edition

Australia's ruling coalition splits over lawmaker's China comments

Reuters | Canberra | Updated: 11-08-2019 07:54 IST | Created: 11-08-2019 07:52 IST
Australia's ruling coalition splits over lawmaker's China comments

A split has opened in Australia's ruling coalition government over a lawmaker's comparison of the rise of China to that of Nazi Germany.

Conservative MP Andrew Hastie, a former special forces soldier, wrote an opinion piece on Thursday for Channel 9 newspapers comparing the rise of China as an unnoticed existential threat to that of Nazi Germany, prompting a mixed reaction from colleagues and swift condemnation from Beijing. Hastie is not a minister but is an influential member of Australia's ruling Liberal-National coalition, and is the chair of parliament's intelligence and security committee, which is privy to classified information.

His column outlined the dangers of not comprehending China's ideological motivation for building ports and roads, arguing the West had wrongly calculated that economic liberalization in China would lead to democratization. Powerful ministers including Attorney-General Christian Porter and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann criticized Hastie's column, while Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton defended it, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison remained neutral.

The split continued to widen over the weekend when Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told his colleagues to watch their words. "I would certainly encourage any colleague or indeed anybody making comments around sensitive foreign policy matters to pose a couple of questions," he told ABC TV's Insiders program. "Is the making of those comments in a public way necessary? Is it helpful to Australia's national interests?" Former ambassador to Israel and Liberal member for Wentworth Dave Sharma tweeted his support for Hastie's analysis on Saturday.

"Hastie is right to ring the bell on this issue, and to warn that our greatest vulnerability lies in our thinking," he tweeted. Sharma said the comparison with Nazi Germany was valid as both World Wars One and Two were caused by the failure to manage Germany's emergence as a major power.

"If the rising power is revisionist in nature, and cannot be accommodated within the existing order - because it fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of that order - then the future becomes much tougher," he tweeted. While China and Australia are major trading partners, their relationship has deteriorated in recent years over concerns Beijing is influencing Australia's domestic affairs.

Australia has also strengthened its long-standing alliance with the United States, which has accused China of destabilizing the Indo-Pacific.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

UK devolved leaders to work with PM Johnson on COVID-19 - PM's office

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that rising COVID-19 cases were a cause for great concern and he was committed to working with the administration of each country to tackle the virus.J...

'Paltry' MSP hike cruel joke on farmers: Amarinder

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday rejected the Centres paltry hike in MSP of wheat and five other Rabi crops as a cruel joke on farmers. He said the paltry hike has come amid their growing apprehensions about the abolition of ...

COVID-19 cases in Czech Republic pass 50,000 mark

The Czech Republics total tally of COVID-19 cases now exceeds 50,000, Health Ministry data showed on Monday. Of a total 50,071 cases, 25,336 patients had recovered and 521 had died as of Monday at 1558 GMT.The total number of cases has doub...

Karnataka requests Centre to lift export ban on 'Bangalore Rose Onion'

The Karnataka government on Monday requested the Centre to lift the ban on export of Bangalore Rose Onion with immediate effect to benefit the large number of small and marginal farmers of the state. In a letter to Union Commerce Minister P...

Give Feedback