The new Defence Minister says Australia will work collaboratively with China without firing a warning shot about foreign influence. Newly appointed Defence Minister Peter Dutton has fired a warning shot at China, saying. However, it will work collaboratively with the global superpower; it did not support foreign countries exerting influence via cyber attacks or other means.
The message comes as Mr. Dutton reinforced Australia’s commitment to working with allies to ensure peace in the Indo-Pacific region. The former home affairs minister was sworn into the new portfolio last week following a contentious cabinet reshuffle. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dutton said Australia would work closely with the US because they were the “most important ally”.
But he said that would not be in a way that was “antagonistic” to China.
“We want to make sure there is peace in our region,” Mr. Dutton said.
“That we can work collaboratively with the Chinese Communist Party … and to make sure that, at the same time, we can work with others across the region. “We don’t support militarisation of ports. We don’t help any foreign country trying to exert influence here via cyber or other means.
We don’t want to see conflict in our region.
- China had a long-held ambition about Taiwan, Mr. Dutton said, adding that Australia should work with its five eyes partners and the quad.
- He also issued a warning about cyber attacks after parliamentary emails were targeted last week.
- “That is a very significant frontier now and into the future,” Mr. Dutton said.
- “People need to understand the significance of this threat online.
- “We need to protect ourselves from criminal gangs, we need to defend ourselves from state actors.
- “There’s ransomware, there’s theft of intellectual property that other companies have.
The supply chain with defence industry is a prime target as well.
Pressure will also be mounted on Mr. Dutton to live up to his ‘head-kicking reputation’ over the $89bn future submarine program. Mr. Dutton said like most developed nations, cost and schedule blowouts happened from time to time. But he said Australia clearly wanted “good value” and local industry involvement from the investment. “I’m having a look at each of the projects now to make sure that everything is on track and it’s going to be on the budget,” Mr. Dutton said.
I’m concerned about Australian content as well.
“I want to make sure that there is a very clear message to the primes here … we’re not going to tolerate slippage in relation to the Australian content. Mr Dutton said he had already made it clear to the Defence Department that additional expertise and resources were on hand, if needed, to deliver these projects on time and on budget.