Minggu, 02 Mei 2021

Labor defence spokesman Brendan O’Connor urges ‘sober, cautious’ talks on China, Taiwan -

Federal Labor has called on the Morrison government to tone down its language about China’s threats against Taiwan.

The message comes after Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo issued an Anzac Day warning to staff about the beating “drums of war”.

But the controversial comments have not sparked reservations from Labor about Mr Pezzullo, who could become the new defence department secretary.

“There is no doubt that China has become more forceful in the way it behaves in the region,” opposition defence spokesman Brendan O’Connor said.

“It’s also important that when we talk about these issues … we do so in a sober and cautious way and we don’t create anxiety which, I think, we’ve seen on display in the last week.”

Mr O’Connor on Sunday told ABC Insiders Mr Pezzullo’s remarks that free nations were worryingly watching the militarisation of issues, and bracing for war, were not helpful.

“If indeed there is a need to say such things because there has been some material change since the Defence (strategic) update of last year, then they should have been said by a minister,” he said.

“We should be conscious of what is happening, be aware of what is happening, ensure through diplomatic means we maintain the stability and the peace in the region. That is critical.”

Asked if Labor would be opposed to Mr Pezzullo becoming the defence department secretary, Mr O’Connor said: “No”.

“Michael Pezzullo is a competent public servant and I’ve worked with him in government,” he said.

“Although, I have to say, having a new home affairs minister and new home affairs secretary probably wouldn’t be the best decision made. But that is entirely up to the government.”

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2021-05-02 01:55:10Z

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