It’s unprecedented for Dutton to label a Chinese spy ship sailing outside Australia’s territory an ‘act of aggression’ | Daniel Hurst

The defence minister, Peter Dutton, has called the presence of a Chinese spy ship off the coast of Western Australia “an aggressive act” but his department was far more sober in its assessment and international law experts have poured cold water on the claim. It is not the first time such Chinese vessels have been in Australia’s exclusive economic zone. So, given we are a week out from an election and the Coalition wants the narrative refocused through a “we live in uncertain times” lens, let’s put the politics aside…

Chinese-speaking voters critical of Coalition’s ‘militaristic’ stance on China in lead-up to 2022 election, WeChat study shows

The Coalition’s muscular position toward China is not going down well with Chinese-speaking voters, while Labor is facing criticism over its more generous approach to humanitarian immigration, an analysis of WeChat audience comments reveals. The study of more than 3,000 political news stories and associated comments appearing on the Chinese social media platform, WeChat, has been undertaken by researchers at Monash and Deakin Universities over the past 11 months, including during the election campaign. It provides an insight into the Australian political news reaching Chinese speakers and how they are…

Kevin Rudd calls Peter Dutton an ‘idiot’ over China comments – video

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has attacked defence minister Peter Dutton, calling him an ‘idiot’ for believing hairy-chested commentary about China would improve Australia’s strategic circumstances. Rudd was speaking with former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop at an event at the Australian National University to promote Rudd’s new book on China-US relations titled The Avoidable War ► Subscribe to Guardian Australia on YouTube The Guardian

Kevin Rudd attacks ‘idiot’ Peter Dutton over ‘hairy-chested’ comments on China

Kevin Rudd has launched a personal attack on Peter Dutton, labelling the defence minister an “idiot” for believing hairy-chested commentary about China would improve Australia’s strategic circumstances. The former Australian prime minister also took aim at Beijing, saying that if Chinese officials really wanted a reset in the relationship with Australia he “could not think of a dumber thing to do than what they just did in the Solomons”. Rudd was referring to the fallout from the signing of the security deal between China and Solomon Islands, in a wide-ranging…

From India’s highs to Thailand’s lows, Asia’s weather is hitting extremes

The final days of April saw further unbearable temperatures recorded in India and Pakistan. Temperatures peaked at 49C in Jacobabad, Pakistan on 30 April, with a high of 47.2C observed in Banda, India. The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that average temperatures in April were the highest for northern and central parts of the country since records began over 100 years ago. Heatwaves are a common occurrence at this time of year in India and Pakistan, but scientists believe the intensity, duration and arrival time of the conditions witnessed so far…

New Zealand foreign minister blames ‘relationship failure’ for China-Solomons security deal

The shock over China’s security deal with Solomon Islands is evidence of “a relationship failure” , New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister has said, confirming that the pact took New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations completely by surprise. The deal marks Beijing’s first known bilateral security agreement in the Pacific. The text of the final deal is secret, but a draft leaked on social media in March granted Chinese military and police significant access to the country, allowing China to “make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and…

Coalition accused of stalling ban on imports made using slave labour

The Morrison government has been accused of stalling action to prevent the importation of goods made using slave labour, as it insists it needs more time to consult business and upgrade IT systems. Despite repeatedly raising concerns about forced labour practices in China’s Xinjiang region, the government has cited “practical challenges” in a new report explaining why it cannot immediately take up recommendations of a bipartisan committee. Anti-slavery campaigners say they are “disillusioned that the ‘fair go’ values we hold as a people are not reflected in this government response”.…

Labor ‘gravely concerned’ by Karen Andrews’ claim about potential China election interference

Labor has raised grave concerns about the home affairs minister’s use of “privileged access to intelligence reporting”, after Karen Andrews publicly alluded to a potential attempt by China at interference in the federal election. The shadow minister, Kristina Keneally, has written to Andrews to remind her of “the vital convention that opposition is briefed on any developing matters of national security” during the election caretaker mode. The letter, seen by Guardian Australia, was sent after Andrews implied China might have timed the announcement of a security deal with Solomon Islands…

Factcheck: the Coalition says Labor always ‘takes China’s side’, but are the parties’ positions so different?

As the Coalition campaign seeks to revive the talking point that Labor always “takes China’s side”, Scott Morrison implored reporters to “just look at the record”. So we did just that and found the claims by the prime minister and his senior ministers are either factually inaccurate, misleading, or lack context. Claim What I don’t understand is that when something of this significance takes place, why would you take China’s side? – Scott Morrison in response to Labor criticism over the security agreement between China and Solomon Islands, leaders’ debate,…

Solomon Islands-China pact is worst policy failure in Pacific since 1945, Labor says

Labor has lashed the Coalition in the wake of the newly signed security agreement between China and Solomon Islands, branding it “the worst Australian foreign policy blunder in the Pacific” in decades. The Coalition government sounded the alarm over the deal, arguing the pact has been negotiated in secret and could “undermine stability in our region”. The foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, and the minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said they were “deeply disappointed” by the deal, and would “seek further clarity on the terms of the agreement, and…

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