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…

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,…

Scott Morrison’s China gambit is a Hail Mary from a flailing leader trying to galvanise fear | Peter Lewis

Scott Morrison’s efforts to politicise Australia’s complex relationship with China seems to be further soiling his own flagging reputation. Like a bull in the proverbial, he has spent the past fortnight bombarding the airwaves with hastily googled dossiers and cold war-era panics to suggest an Albanese government would become an antipodean branch office of the Beijing Politburo. Large sections of the national gallery have embraced his China pivot, breathlessly reporting the attacks on Labor, amplifying intelligence community blowback and catastrophising operational incidents that would normally demand sober assessment rather than…