ScoMo was right to keep AUKUS secret from Labor

Anthony Albanese is upset that Labor was not consulted about AUKUS until 24 hours before it was announced even though the Biden administration demanded bipartisan support given the long horizons for the deal:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that Australia broke with the Biden Administration when it decided not to consult Labor about its momentous decision to scrap the French submarine program and unveil an ambitious new plan to build nuclear-powered submarines with the UK and the US.

Labor has pounced on reports that the Biden Administration wanted Scott Morrison and his top minister to brief the opposition about the agreement some five months before the AUKUS announcement in September last year. Instead the ALP was only brought into the tent the day before the pact was unveiled.

But this morning Scott Morrison declared that claim was “absolutely false” and suggested that Labor might have leaked information about AUKUS if it was briefed earlier, pointing to a series of meetings between ALP frontbencher Richard Marles and Chinese diplomats.

“[This is] one of the most secure and highly confidential agreements the Australian Government had entered into since ANZUS” he told journalists.

“I find it passing strange that you think that we wouldn’t have maintained absolute discretion, as we did with so many [members] of our own cabinet.

“AUKUS is a ground-breaking agreement, the most significant defence security agreement Australia has entered into in over 70 years. And I was not going to risk that on the Labor Party.”

Timelines are important in this argument. China handed Australia its 14 conditions to end democracy in November 2020. The list was a total affront to any Australian democrat with blood still in their veins:

One month later, the Australia/China relationship has descended into a slanging match and Chinese propaganda was daily publishing insulting cartoons.

Yet, even as China openly and daily insulted Australia and demanded we give up our freedoms, ALL of Labor blamed the Morrison Government for it:

Anthony Albanese:

“I remember Prime Minister [Kevin] Rudd giving a speech in China, in Mandarin, of course, which was critical of human rights issues, but done so in a way that also was designed to make clear our values but not designed to offend for offence sake,” he said.

“And what we were able to do, and the Howard government was able to do as well, is have relationships that built that economic interaction that was very important for us.

“This government seems to have presided over a complete breakdown of relationships.”

Dan Andrews:

He said that image was “just beyond the pale”.

“It’s wrong. I condemn it,” he said. “I would hope the rhetoric, the commentary, social media posts, comes to an end.”

…“This relationship is far too important to farmers, to manufacturers, to workers, to profits for Victorian companies and therefore prosperity for our state,” Mr Andrews said.

“This is not just our biggest customer, but it is all about jobs. We need a good relationship but it has to be a fair and respectful one.”

Mark McGowan:

“I just want us to continue to have good, friendly relationships with our long-term trading partners.

“They buy an enormous amount of our products, we buy a much smaller amount of their products.

“It’s been a beneficial relationship for both countries and I think we need to make sure we have cool heads and work things out by discussion and not confrontation.”

Anastasia Palaszczuk:

“What the mining companies are saying to me is the last thing they want to see are mines closed in Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That could have an impact on Queensland jobs.

“It’s not just Queensland — it’s Western Australia … private companies are saying to us, as heads of government, that they are concerned for local jobs — and we are seeing that across now a whole different variety of sectors, so it is a national issue.

“We have National Cabinet next week, so I’m quite sure it will be raised at National Cabinet.”

According to a superb investigative series by Peter Hartcher, just five months later the key moments of AUKUS were unfolding:

In May 2021, the moment came. The director-general of Australia’s peak intelligence assessment agency, the Office of National Intelligence, Andrew Shearer, was planning a routine visit to Washington to consult with his US counterparts. He’d been briefed on the nuclear subs project. Would you like me to broach it with the White House, he asked the prime minister? Morrison agreed. Shearer managed to sidestep the Russian roulette of Australia’s vaccine rollout with the help of doctors at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

When the softly spoken Australian spy walked into the West Wing of the White House, his American interlocutors knew only that he wanted to discuss a matter of “the utmost sensitivity”. He walked into the ornate, chandeliered office of the National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, with only one other person present, Kurt Campbell, one of Sullivan’s senior staff and Biden’s Indo-Pacific co-ordinator.

Shearer and Campbell had known each other for decades. He explained what Australia wanted. “As China’s capability advances, we need to have submarines capable of meeting it. We need to be able to operate without the risk of easy detection by the Chinese,” Shearer said, according to the participants.

Shearer told the Americans that the Coalition government had chosen the French diesel-powered option when it expected to be contesting the waters in its near neighbourhood and dealing with low-level threats. But “the security circumstances have changed dramatically and the only way we can remain strategically relevant in highly contested circumstances is if we have the ability to launch cruise missiles over long distances”.

My sources didn’t put it quite this bluntly, but everyone in the room understood that this was about Australia acquiring the power to pose a direct threat to China’s forces and the Chinese mainland.

Sullivan and Campbell immediately were interested. Biden has described the US rivalry with China as “the competition for the 21st century”. With this request, Australia was choosing sides emphatically.

Campbell told me afterwards: “What most countries do when grappling with relevance, when risks and costs are enormous, is they just opt out. Australia chose relevance.” It was “a bold and important idea”.

Shearer emphasised that Australia had no intention of developing a civil nuclear industry or developing nuclear weapons. He said that Canberra was satisfied it could operate the subs while preserving Australia’s strong record on nuclear non-proliferation.

Sullivan and Campbell had lots of questions about Australian technological, personnel and financial capacity but the potential killer at this threshold meeting was Australian politics. “We asked lots of questions about politics,” said Campbell. “Would this be contentious? Would this hold?”

Bipartisan political commitment, Labor and Liberal, was a prerequisite, the Americans said. “This would be a military marriage. It would have to hold over decades.”

President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in April last year with (from left) his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Kurt Campbell, coordinator for the Indo-Pacific on the National Security Council.
Shearer’s reply was that, though the government hadn’t had the conversation with Labor, “public debate about the threat had changed significantly and there was a pretty strong bipartisan agreement with the Left on the security environment in Australia”.

At the close of the meeting, Sullivan told Shearer that “this will be looked at very seriously over months, not years, and we’ll try to cut through the bureaucracy”.

Shearer didn’t trust even secure communications channels to tell Morrison about the meeting, only sending him an oblique message that “the proposition had been well-received”. But when Shearer returned to Canberra he made clear to Morrison and his other colleagues that the White House had set political bipartisanship as a non-negotiable condition. “If Albo says ‘no’, the deal will be dead,” as Australia’s ambassador to Washington, Arthur Sinodinos, put it to colleagues.

The White House trusted Morrison to bring Labor in on the secret and the US made no approaches, formal or otherwise, to test Labor’s reaction. Yet the prime minister decided not to brief Labor leader Anthony Albanese for five months. He briefed him on the day before the deal was to be announced in a three-way piece of theatre with Morrison, Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden. It was high stakes on a very tight deadline.

AUKUS was announced on September 15th, 2021, nine months after Labor had blamed the Morrison Government for China threatening to end the democracy rather than join it in condemnation of the document.

Normally, a government of national unity would be the correct protocol to follow in a decision such as AUKUS. But in this, case, PM Morrison can be blamed for keeping Labor out of the loop. It was clearly captured by the great Chinese economic bribe and had completely missed the calamitous implications of the 14 conditions. This spoke to a corporate culture enmeshed with China and willing to break ranks on national security bipartisanship in defence of the status quo.

In fact, it was not until after AUKUS that Labor fully gave up on its China economic fixation. Even today we know that greybeards in the party are still embedded in that architecture, though have clearly been muzzled.

So, there are three upsides to Morrison’s AUKUS secrecy:

  • Given Labor’s behavior at the time, it could not be trusted, so the deal got done.
  • The deal gave Labor a black eye on China that helped wake it from its national security stupor.
  • It gave Labor a stern lesson in national security bipartisanship.

Doubtless, political calculation played a role in Morrison’s quarantining AUKUS from Labor.

Yet doing so has, ironically, made Labor electable.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. Grand Funk RailroadMEMBER

    But if you believe the polls the ALP will be in government next week.

    And shouldnt a government get bipartisan support if the US asked for it?
    And shouldnt a government get bipartisan support if a policy is going to bind future governments to a major outlay commitment?

    If not, the ALP should let rip with the spending sluices if they get the power to do so – maybe climate, maybe more Defence (Aukus implies major changes to ADF structure for Army and RAAF too), maybe lots of other policy.

    • “And shouldnt a government get bipartisan support if the US asked for it?
      And shouldn’t a government get bipartisan support if a policy is going to bind future governments to a major outlay commitment?”

      Yes and yes.

  2. Ronin8317MEMBER

    There will be leaks, but not to the Chinese. It is the French that ScoMo is worried about.

  3. TheLambKingMEMBER

    F’n ridiculous and dangerous analysis.

    Here is the analysis for you:
    1) Our single biggest security safety net is our alliance with the US – without that we have NO DEFENCE.
    2) The US asked ScoMo to share the info with the opposition – as per protocol.
    3) ScoMo refused.

    ScoMo risked the Australia-US alliance, our single biggest defense policy (one where we have gone to countless pointless wars at the cost of thousands of Australian lives to maintain) over petty politics.

    Utopia explains our defense policy beautifully – spending billions of dollars on defense against China to shore up our supply chains to our main trading partner China. What is ridiculous is that the LNP are wanting to ramp up the defense against China part, while Labor were trying to keep the supply chains to our main trading partner (China) open.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTCqXlDjx18

    It was clearly captured by the great Chinese economic bribe and had completely missed the calamitous implications of the 14 conditions.

    To say Labor was ‘captured’ is clearly ridiculous. All it was trying to do was tone down the immature/reckless/thoughtless war mongering chest beating coming from ScoMo trying to play petty local politics – with no actual thoughts of the larger implications.

    It is sh!te like this that keeps corrupt, inept governments in power until they think they should be in power and we get a Putin leading us.

    • In other words, Labor was hedging which meant giving china more of a chance to occupy the joint.

      The writing was on the wall in terms of what that meant in the 14 conditions.

      They deserved a punch in the nose for it and ScoMo woke em up with it.

      • kierans777MEMBER

        Now if they can just get a punch in the nose on mass immigration.

        Looking at how close to the wire this is (I don’t trust the polls, I trust the media will keep shilling for the LNP until the bitter end) you have to wonder what it will take for Labor to wake up to some of these core issues.

        This is the election to win a big majority, to have a few terms to start to undo the toxic Liberal legacy of the last decade. Killing off Big Australia would have helped enormously.

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        Jesus, you have really fallen for the LNP gaslighting BS.

        Like most things LNP/IPA related – actually look at the record of action, not the rhetoric. Under the LNP watch more companies, real estate and influence has gone to China in the last 9 years than the previous 100 years. For all the puff and grunt, the LNP have done the most damage and allowed the most change – mostly so the money goes into the hands of their sponsors. They are all talk for political gain, but their action is for self financial gain.

        Open your eyes. Stop parroting the LNP marking/gaslighting BS.

      • “They deserved a punch in the nose for it and ScoMo woke em up with it.”
        Mate, your timeline is missing a key event. Whether SM was put up to it by Trump or if he did it for his own domestic political reasons, taking on China over covid before the US or anyone did was always going to cause blowback. A good analysis would establish that causality particularly once “face” is considered. It’s also a waste of time talking about what state leaders are saying. They have no jurisdiction.

    • “3) ScoMo refused.”

      No, he lied; he told the US that Labor was onboard!

      For me this is a strong indicator that DLS’s judgement is not to be trusted, so biased you would say it’s ridiculous.

        • Not sure when or what you told me before, but I’ve never accepted the MB line on Labor and China and while I don’t trust the CCP I don’t accept the Murdoch press line on China and nor do I accept the fanboi club over at Pearls&Irritations. The “truth” is somewhere in-between.

  4. Just to be clear: Australia is paying far far more than the $150B cost of the 8 (or thereabout) nuclear Subs promised in the AUKUS agreement.
    The US hasn’t agreed to supply to Australia it’s most potent offensive weapons system for just the construction costs of 8 additional Subs. They’re not that desperate, there are additional costs with this agreement, stated or otherwise implied.
    It’s these additional costs which the ALP should have been consulted on. These costs will no doubt include things like
    – Taking the US’s side on any China conflict (lets say, for example war with Taiwan)
    – Taking the US’s side on matters like Chinese companies use of US Intellectual Property in Chinese products
    – Taking the US’s side on strategies for the containment of China (First Islands ring fencing )
    – Supporting US banks and lending intuitions should our local economy collapse (Socializing big 4 bank losses)
    The economic costs implied could financially cripple Australia
    – over 30% of our export income comes from China
    – almost all of our export growth comes from China
    – our Opportunity space is a blank sheet of paper, sans China
    – our balance of payments looks very sick without China
    – Inflation will explode if Chinese Imports are for some reason curtailed

    It’s totally F’ed up that we’ve put ourselves in this situation But it is where we are. As such any decision, like AUKUS, will have a far greater impact than just the dollars involved in supporting (or cancelling) the agreement. It goes to the core of where our Political, Economic and Business interests need to align (and remain allied for the next 30 to 50 years) and as such the agreement really did need the ALP’s stamp of approval..

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      and as such the agreement really did need the ALP’s stamp of approval..

      And was insisted on by the US.

      What is the thought process that goes into a decision to exclude Labor when making a decision like this? A decision that has serious security and financial implications for the next 50 years? When we get statements like ‘too important to trust Labor’?

      This is a
      ‘we are born to rule’,
      ‘we are the only ones who can be trusted to rule’,
      ‘we are the only ones who know how to run the country’
      attitude.

      This LNP/IPA attitude breeds this ‘I know whats best’ attitude, I will throw your future away, I will throw our security away, I will do anything just so I can keep power (see the storming of the US capital building as an example.)

      How many more hail mary’s that will throw away our future will we get before Saturday?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        This LNP/IPA attitude breeds this ‘I know whats best’ attitude, I will throw your future away, I will throw our security away, I will do anything just so I can keep power (see the storming of the US capital building as an example.)

        Strictly hierarchical – ideally inherited – rulership is a fundamental and inherent aspect of conservatism.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      You missed one.
      Having Nukes under US control based on mainland Australia, making our cities Nuclear targets.
      The Yanks love a Proxy.

  5. ”Shearer told the Americans that the Coalition government had chosen the French diesel-powered option when it expected to be contesting the waters in its near neighbourhood …..”
    That assumption seems good to me – particularly now. The justification for an outlay of $171 billion for 8 subs (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/14/australias-aukus-nuclear-submarines-estimated-to-cost-at-least-70bn) seems to already be partially unravelling with the latest SI-China deal. Labor was calling out this government on this for years and it is yet another reason why it would have been good to have them at the table.

    ”The deal gave Labor a black eye on China that helped wake it from its national security stupor.“
    I put to you that there was not stupor, only a perception crafted my marketing gurus in the government with the help of their MSM mates.
    Edit: the black eye came with Sam Dastyari

  6. Hill Billy 55MEMBER

    Whilst Marles has spoken to the Chinese ambassador and others about 10 times according to the shills of the MSM, he spoke more frequently to the US’s people. That no one has called out the duplicity of the MSM over their reporting is mindblowing. That this article also fails to mention the evenhanded actions of Marles also is called out.

    H&H has his knickers in a knot over China and housing. Its time he took a bex and had a good lie down.

  7. So the tldr is that Scott Morrison lied to the US, and when caught out reverted to petty politics by claiming he could not inform the ALP as they would leak it to the Chinese in a casual act of treason.

    Why am I only finding this out on an obscure economics blog? This is reckless and ridiculous even for Scott Morrison.

  8. So many uninformed people QQing about whether the US knew Labor was not already on-board.

    Had any of you cared to read the linked article in full you would have seen this:

    ‘The cone of silence prevented direct US contact with Labor. They called on a National Security Council staffer who’d been posted to Australia, Edgard Kagan, for his view. He consulted the US embassy in Canberra and observed that the Australian government seemed confident that Labor would support such a deal ***when they were eventually informed.***

    ***The Americans could see that if Labor baulked, Morrison would use it as a wedge against opposition leader Anthony Albanese in the approach to an election, to frame him as weak on national security.*** “The government has clearly thought this through, and we should submit to their judgment,” Kagan argued. The Americans decided they’d have to.’

    Emphasis mine.

    From this we know the US was aware Labor had not been told by the time of the original request.

    We also know that the guarantee was that Labor would support the deal, not that they already did.

    I don’t mind a bit of anti-SFM rhetoric, but at least try to make it factual.

    • Few obvious flaws here:
      ”From this we know the US was aware Labor had not been told by the time of the original request.”
      The request was made when? Post the link please.

      We also know that the guarantee was that Labor would support the deal, not that they already did.
      Did you miss the part where Biden asked for Labor to be brought into the loop? I think it’s a pretty safe bet he was not talking about using the pact as a political wedge by telling them the day before the announcement. That pretty much forces Labor into a position of having to approve whatever is put in front of them without any chance of input. Not a great way to start an agreement.

      ”I don’t mind a bit of anti-SFM rhetoric, but at least try to make it factual.”
      Factual! Some weapons grade irony there. SM lied to the French right up to the sub announcement and he lied to the US about telling the French before the announcement. No surprise at the lack of integrity on this matter by SM then right?

      Edit: Ah here’s the link. SM not looking so good now – https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/aukus-fallout-double-dealing-and-deception-came-at-a-diplomatic-cost-20220513-p5al95.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed

      • The request was made when? Post the link please.

        Not when; “the original request”. I.e., the first time it was floated to the US and the US said Labor would need to support it. Read the article here: https://www.smh.com.au/national/aukus-fallout-double-dealing-and-deception-came-at-a-diplomatic-cost-20220513-p5al95.html

        Did you miss the part where Biden asked for Labor to be brought into the loop?

        Now you’re making things up. Find the part of the linked article where it directly says “Biden asked for Labor to be brought into the loop”. It doesn’t.

        What it *does* say is exactly this:

        “But Biden’s people had reservations about Australia’s political stability. There were concerns about the Labor Party, about the churn of prime ministers in both parties in the last decade, and about the Coalition’s serial dumping of submarine agreements, first with Japan and now with France.

        The cone of silence prevented direct US contact with Labor. They called on a National Security Council staffer who’d been posted to Australia, Edgard Kagan, for his view. He consulted the US embassy in Canberra and observed that the Australian government seemed confident that Labor would support such a deal when they were eventually informed.

        The Americans could see that if Labor baulked, Morrison would use it as a wedge against opposition leader Anthony Albanese in the approach to an election, to frame him as weak on national security. “The government has clearly thought this through, and we should submit to their judgment,” Kagan argued. The Americans decided they’d have to.”

        • nbwww: “Now you’re making things up. Find the part of the linked article where it directly says “Biden asked for Labor to be brought into the loop”. It doesn’t”

          Oh yes he did! You obviously didn’t read all of the articles on this. 14th May Vs 15th May.

          “Shearer didn’t trust even secure communications channels to tell Morrison about the meeting, only sending him an oblique message that “the proposition had been well-received”. But when Shearer returned to Canberra he made clear to Morrison and his other colleagues that the White House had set political bipartisanship as a non-negotiable condition. “If Albo says ‘no’, the deal will be dead,” as Australia’s ambassador to Washington, Arthur Sinodinos, put it to colleagues.”

          https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/radioactive-inside-the-top-secret-aukus-subs-deal-20220510-p5ak7g.html

          • Right. So Labor had to agree. And they did. Job done.

            I’m not seeing a problem here.

            There was no promise to tell Labor at a certain time ahead of any announcement, no promise to discuss it for months on end with Labor and hope they didn’t leak it to the press (good luck with that).

            The deal was that there needed to be support from both sides for AUKUS to proceed. SFM made sure there was, and he did so by giving them almost zero notice and making their response a public wedge on national security. A brilliant move.

          • ”I’m not seeing a problem here.”
            You need to look with both eyes.

            ”There was no promise to tell Labor at a certain time ahead of any announcement, no promise to discuss it for months on end with Labor and hope they didn’t leak it to the press (good luck with that).”
            Notice how you have reframed the point which is that SM chose not to bring Labor in early. No one said there was a promise, there was a strong condition placed on the deal by the US. The fact they let it go probably had a bit to do with the trust they still had in Australia at the time (and an understanding that he was going to wedge Labor). That trust is now gone thanks to SM and the mistakes in dealing with the French and SI.
            You need to address the points being made, not the points you want to address.

        • ”Now you’re making things up. Find the part of the linked article where it directly says”
          You’re being pedantic. Did I say it was a quote? The link in DLS article at the top clearly says the following.
          ”Labor has pounced on reports that the Biden Administration wanted Scott Morrison and his top minister to brief the opposition about the agreement some five months before the AUKUS announcement in September last year. Instead the ALP was only brought into the tent the day before the pact was unveiled. “
          The point Labor is making is that Biden requested the Libs do this five months beforehand but, they didn’t until the day before. The fact the US accepted Labor would be forced to accept is an entirely different point and it came later. It’s pretty obvious here SM is playing politics on matters of national security rather than seeking genuine bipartisanship. You’re introducing other points from an entirely different article which you didn’t post links to initially.
          It is also pretty obvious if you read your linked article in it’s entirety that SM has a lot to answer for. Example: “In the White House, everyone who’d worked on the deal felt let down by the Australians. Biden felt blindsided. He mollified Macron. It was “clumsy, it was not done with a lot of grace,” Biden said. “I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the [French] deal was not going through.”

        • No astro boy, he didn’t, he tried to us it as a wedge. What could be a massive security issue for this country and Morrison tried to use it for political advantage.

          I guess once he’s booted your earrings are going to nose dive.

      • Macron says SFM lied to him, yet the SMH article states “Morrison in June had told him of his concerns, that diesel-powered subs no longer met Australia’s needs”.

        I don’t think it’s possible to determine what was said privately between the two leaders, given one claims he was lied to and one claims the change was made clear well before the deal was publicly announced.

        • RomulusMEMBER

          FYI- the French subs were nuclear to start off with. They had to make heaps of modifications to make it a diesel sub hence the cost/time blow outs.
          They could have got off the shelf French Nuclear subs had they taken the decision in the first place – but the Prayer Room Poodle needed some pork for Sth Australia so it all had to be made in Sth Aus.

          • I agree nuclear should have been the only option from the start. ASPI was arguing back in 2011/2012 that the perfect submarine for Australia was a nuclear submarine without the word ‘nuclear’.

            Anyone who has followed the submarine saga will know the shortfin barracuda was a bastardised version of an off-the-shelf French design, ginned up solely to remove the word ‘nuclear’ from any public debate.

            I have seen commentary to the effect that the LNP did not believe a nuclear option would ever be supported by the Labor/Greens alliance at the time of the original “competitive analysis” (or whatever they called the non-tender).

            With the malevolent intentions of the CCP becoming clear to even the blindest man dog (with the exception of a few Labor politicians and former politicians), that calculation had apparently changed sufficiently that SFM thought he could get bi-partisan support.

            I strongly suspect the way he always intended to engineer that support was to wedge Labor on national security should they fail to support it at short notice. Luckily for Australia, that strategy worked.

          • “I have seen commentary to the effect that the LNP did not believe a nuclear option would ever be supported by the Labor/Greens alliance at the time of the original “competitive analysis” (or whatever they called the non-tender).”
            Do you have a link? Not my understanding at all.

        • “Macron says SFM lied to him, yet the SMH article states “Morrison in June had told him of his concerns, that diesel-powered subs no longer met Australia’s needs”.

          This is so simple, it’s embarrassing. Morrison is ultimate deceiver when it comes to language, frequently he’ll be quoted having said x,y or z and he’ll respond with “no, I didn’t” and that will be correct. You need to listen very closely to what he’s said and to read very carefully to what he’s written and not what you think he’s implied; so it’s like being in a court room and listening to the lawyers go back and forth on what was said and by whom and what it implied etc.

          So with all of that, how trustworthy and therefore honest is Scott Morrison when all of that is required?

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      The Subs are a stalking horse.
      The real game is the US making Australia an American Military base

      • I’d rather live in the equivalent of a free 51st US state than be subject to a CCP satrap, quisling government.

        In reality neither of those outcomes are on the table at this point.

        What is on the table is a choice of realistic end-game. We can either:

        (a) Live in perpetual fear of the CCP and what it will do, like pretty much all countries bordering China. This is what happens if the CCP militarises south pacific islands like the Solomons. Alternatively;

        (b) Live as freely as we do now under the same system that has brought global free trade and prosperity since the end of WW2, for the low low cost of continuing the ANZAC alliance and continuing to work with the greatest force for international stability modern history has known.

        • bolstroodMEMBER

          I, too support the ongoing ANZAC Alliance , as I am sure the New Zealanders do, but I would not call it
          “the greatest force for international stability modern history has known.”
          The USA is another matter.

          • Thanks for catching that.

            “continuing to work with the greatest force for international stability modern history has known”

            the “with” here being the USA, not the ANZUS treaty itself.

            My incorrect use of ANZAC instead of ANZUS does make it a bit unclear; I don’t see the AU/NZ alliance as much of a force for anything.

          • bolstroodMEMBER

            Sorry bnwww I couldn’t resist it.
            What worries me more than all the Military posturing, and brinkmanship of all the nations is the complete lack of action to stop putting CO2 and Methane into the atmosphere.
            We are in far greater peril from Global Heating than we are from Nuclear war.
            “How so? ” you may ask, and I will tell you that we have detonated well over 2000 Nuclear bombs since 1945, and the world has not ended. In a Nuclear war many may millions would die, but many many millions would live.
            Unchecked CO2 and Methane emissions will kill us all .

        • “I’d rather live in the equivalent of a free 51st US state than be subject to a CCP satrap, quisling government.”

          Ah, the old false dilemma debating technique! Why do we have to be one or the other?

  9. But in this, case, PM Morrison can be blamed for keeping Labor out of the loop.

    Can’t*