mandag 30. november 2020

"This new attack is about national honour"

Arguments over coal, wine and barley can be taken to an independent umpire at the World Trade Organisation. But there is no independent umpire for this new affront. And disputes about tariffs are about money and trade. This new attack is about national honour. It drives a shard of glass into the Australian psyche for many in this country, given the way the nation’s identity has been forged by military history.

Scott Morrison responded with force to the provocation. He called a press conference to demand an apology from the Chinese government for its "repugnant" and "deeply offensive" tweet. This was not something the Prime Minister could leave to a minister or an official. Morrison could not shrug off the slur as a problem for an underling – especially not with Parliament sitting. Morrison was right to deliver a swift and strong condemnation. So was Labor leader Anthony Albanese. In a democracy, no leader can fall silent in response to such an inflammatory message.