Opinion: Andrew Hastie – Difficult Days Lie Ahead

5 Dec 2020

Threats to Australia are increasingly complex. As the Prime Minister warned us on 1 July at the launch of the Defence Strategic Update: “Coercive activities are rife. Disinformation and foreign interference have been enabled and accelerated by new and emerging technologies.”

Such activity was on full display this week. 

The tweet by the People’s Republic of China was a repugnant slur on the serving men and women of the Australian Defence Force. It was calculated, deliberate and designed to undermine the political and social cohesion of our country.

At the same time Australian exporters across a number of sectors are being hit with tariffs designed to hurt their businesses and our national prosperity.

This is a toxic mix of economic coercion and political disinformation, enabled by Silicon Valley social media oligarchs.

Australia is seeking to be honest and accountable for alleged wrongdoing, by a small number of individuals entrusted to wear our flag. We are owning our mistakes, in stark contrast to the People’s Republic of China. I spoke about that in greater detail in a speech to parliament this week.

We should be under no illusions about the challenges that face our nation. We need to be ready for them with a determined spirit and national unity. 

So it was disappointing to read comments by the Member for Brand, Madeleine King, who on Monday attacked the Government for not seeking more “common ground” with China. She seems to think this is an appropriate time for cheap, partisan shots at the PM, who is standing firm for Australian sovereignty. Despite her criticisms, King cannot articulate an alternative plan to the tough yet principled decisions of the Morrison Government. Decisions which have been highly criticised by China in their 14 point list
The simple reality is this: difficult days lie ahead for Australia.

As the Prime Minister has said many times, we want a peaceful, mutually beneficial relationship with all countries, including China. But we will not compromise on our own sovereignty or values. 

Now more than ever, Australians must stand together.

Andrew Hastie MP