tirsdag 10. august 2021

Australia: Turnbull and Rudd warn Coalition not to play politics with China relationship

Former Australian prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd have urged the federal government not to ramp up rhetoric against China for domestic political purposes, arguing it could harm social cohesion. Turnbull said he worried “that some of the political rhetoric, if played for the local rightwing media peanut gallery, can actually undermine something that is very precious, which is the success of our multicultural society”.

In a wide-ranging webinar discussion on Tuesday night, Turnbull and Rudd reflected on Australia’s deteriorating relationship with China, and the effect that could have on 1.2m Australians of Chinese heritage. Turnbull, the Liberal prime minister from 2015 to 2018 who introduced tougher foreign interference and espionage laws, said one of the reasons language was so important was because the Communist Party of China was “very ready to say any criticism of Xi Jinping’s regime or his policies is anti-Chinese”.

He told the La Trobe University event that the Australian government must therefore make clear the “Chinese people are part of our Australian family” and any disagreements were with the government of China.