Election 2022 LIVE updates: Labor pledges to bolster Pacific defence after Peter Dutton’s ‘prepare for war’ comments; campaigns continue across the nationApril 25, 2022
- Labor pledges Pacific defence school as experts urge boost in military might
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Labor pledges Pacific defence school as experts urge boost in military might
Australia would establish a Pacific defence school to train its neighbours’ armed forces under a Labor government in a promise that intensifies the national security debate over China’s potential military expansion into the region.
Experts are warning that Australia needs to rapidly build up its defence capabilities in the same way Ukraine did after Russia’s 2014 invasion to be ready for any conflict and “muscle up” to provide an effective deterrence.
Soldiers from the Australian Army 4th Brigade 2nd Division attend Anzac Day at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.Credit:Joe Armao
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been facing criticism from Labor after Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China that could allow a Chinese military base to be built in the Pacific nation. Labor has escalated attacks on the Coalition over the deal’s implications for national security, which is usually safe ground for the government in an election campaign.
“Labor’s plan will restore Australia’s place as first partner of choice for our Pacific family,” Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong will say today.
“Scott Morrison has dropped the ball in the Pacific, and as a result Australia is less secure.”
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This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning and thanks for your company.
It’s Tuesday, April 26. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started.
- Labor will today unveil a package designed to boost Australia’s profile in the Indo-Pacific. As Angus Thompson writes, the opposition has promised to train defence and security personnel from Pacific countries, boost foreign aid and increase ABC funding so the broadcaster can expand its presence in the Pacific and parts of Asia.
- It comes after Defence Minister Peter Dutton yesterday called for Australia to “prepare for war”. “The only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war and be strong as a country. Not to cower, not to be on bended knee and be weak. That’s the reality,” the LNP MP told breakfast television.
- Australia’s standing in the Indo-Pacific will continue to be a major theme of the election campaign today, given China’s recent security pact with Solomon Islands. Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong are due to appear on ABC radio later this morning.
- In other news, Shane Wright and Rachel Clun report that the Coalition is up to a year behind delivering almost $20 billion worth of budget promises. And two high-profile independent candidates have reached a debate deadlock with sitting Liberal MPs.
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