Scott Morrison has shocked his political opponents by accusing the Opposition Leader of being a traitor who is “siding with China”.
Scott Morrison has baffled his political opponents by accusing Anthony Albanese of being a traitor who is “siding with China”.
The Prime Minister launched into attacking the Labor Leader as pro-China unprompted by any questions on the issue in an interview on Thursday.
Asked on morning television to discuss French President Emanuel Macron’s claim he was a liar, Mr Morrison instead pivoted to accuse the Labor leader of being a traitor.
“I see Anthony Albanese backed in the Chinese Government and a number of others in having a crack at me as well. I mean, that‘s up for him,” Mr Morrison said.
“What I‘m always going to do is stand up for Australia’s interests. And whether that‘s making sure we make the right decisions about what submarines Australia needs to defend our interests or what‘s the right set of climate policies to protect jobs in rural and regional areas and the suburbs of our major cities, I‘m always going to be standing up for Australia.”
Asked to comment on the political attack, Mr Albanese’s office told news.com.au that they had no idea what he was even talking about.
However, government sources said the Prime Minister’s China remarks were a reference to the Labor Party supporting an inquiry to probe the AUKUS alliance to consider buying nuclear submarines from the United States.
The Coalition is also pointing to the former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech at the national press club where he said Scott Morrison’s AUKUS submarine plan would make a cat laugh.
“Eight submarines against China when we get the submarines in 20 years’ time – it’ll be like throwing a handful of toothpicks at the mountain,” Mr Keating told the National Press Club.
Asked about his response on the Today show, Mr Albanese said Australia was right to speak up for our own values.
“China is the nation that‘s changed in terms of their attitude towards Australian imports, for example, and Australian businesses are suffering,” he said.
“We will always stand up for Australian values. We at the moment, though, have bad relations not just with China. We‘ve had Joe Biden distance himself from the Australian Government as well as the French. So we‘ve got problems with China, the US and France at the moment.
“We are living in an era of strategic competition between the United States and China. The United States are our allies and that‘s important.”