China-Solomon Islands Pact Shakes Up Australian Election Campaign

Foreign policy has taken the center stage in the Australian elections for the first time in decades as China’s security pact with the Solomon Islands shakes up Australia’s domestic politics.

Australian Prime Minister Morrison has followed a hawkish stance so far on China but his conservative Liberal Party is accused by the opposition Labor Party of incompetent foreign policy that makes Australia less secure.

Developments outside the country and a public perception of threat from another country have not become major issues in Austalian elections since the Cold War. Especially for younger voters, there is no such concept in memory.

Morrison’s Liberals, behind in the polls, have shown the party’s stance against China as a reason of support for the voters, and have claimed without evidence that Beijing is supporting the Labor Party.

On the other hand, Labor says Liberal Party has been incompetent on Pacific diplomacy and criticized the government over the sale of the northern port of Darwin to a Chinese company on a 99 year lease.

Morrison said a possible Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would be a red line for his country.

Kicking off its campaign trail with a focus on living costs and jobs, Labor has now turned its attention to foreign policy and unveiled a plan on Tuesday to boost diplomacy, soft power, climate change and financial aid in the Pacific, cementing the Solomons pact as an election focus.

Labor Party says Australians are aware that this is a time of risk.

Morrison said the government has done many of the things the Labor Party proposed. He emphaseized QUAD and AUKUS security pacts that counter Chinese influence in the region. Morrison added that Labor’s attacks on the government were benefitting China.

Labor’s promise to boost diplomacy in the region is seen as a substantial policy difference from the Liberals.

Latests polls this week show Labor keeping a 53-47 lead on a two party preferred basis against the conservative Liberal-National coalition.

Currently, it seems Morrison’s efforts to put China issue on the campaign frontline have backfired.

Both Liberal and Labor governments in the past had an all or nothing approach to their Pacific Islands engagement.

It is still unclear whether Australian voters care as much about a resurgent China as the politicians on the campaign, but national security has rarely been a big factor in Australian voter decision.

Polls this year have shown the economy, climate change, housing affordability and health are bigger issues for voters.

Need to access the insight?

Start your 7-day free trial now

Need to access the insight?

Start your 7-day free trial now

Need to access the insight?

Start your 7-day free trial now

Do you need to access special insights on this matter?

Start your 7-day free trial  and become a member today

Subscribe to Top Insights Today

Subscribe to Executive Newsletter Top Insights Today

The Executive Newsletter -Top Insights Today- puts global business events in perspective through special insights

Join the ranks of global executives and subscribe to Top Insights Today

Top Insights Today covers insights on energy, clean-tech, oil&gas, mining, rare earths, defense, aviation, infrastructure, manufacturing, electrical vehicles, big-tech, finance and politics of business

By clicking subscribe you agree to our privacy and cookie policy and terms and conditions of use.

Read more insights

European Companies Jump on U.S. Pacific Offshore Wind Leases

The U.S. government’s first ever sales of offshore wind development rights have attracted $757.1 million in bids, with European companies, which seek a foothold in the U.S. Pacific offshore wind market, pouncing on the opportunity. It was the first chance for the offshore wind industry to secure leases off the U.S. Pacific Coast. The news came as a milestone in the global expansion of floating wind, an up and coming technology necessary in deep waters like those off the coast of California. 

Canada Formally Excludes Boeing From Fighter Jet Bid

Canada formally excluded Boeing from its multi billion dollar bid to supply 88 fighter jets. It indicated that a previous clash between Boeing and the Montreal based passenger jet maker Bombardier influenced the decision. 

U.S. Keeps Secondary Sanctions Option Open for Russian Oil Importers

The Biden Administration has kept the possibility open for imposing sanctions on countries that import Russian oil amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Still, the United States has been concerned about its impact on oil markets.

Stay informed

error: This content is protected !!