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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Poking Sticks at China and our Defence forces

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

.Australia is going through a difficult geopolitical experience. China has decided we are unlovely people and have cancelled purchase of some goods – coal, wine, barley … but not iron ore. Plus, our ministers are denied access to their opposite numbers in the Chinese government. The world’s second best economy constantly offers nicely written criticism of the believed Aussie buffoons.

We have two warriors fighting back, Defence Minister Peter Dutton and journalist Greg Sheridan. Both are very clever and are willing to tell the world what they think of Chinese behaviour. Today I shall offer some of their current thinking.

Peter Dutton is perhaps the more forthright. ‘Dutton doubles down on war talk’, was his offering in The Australian on November 24, 2021. He accused his criticism of Beijing of ‘completely unacceptable behaviour towards Australia and its regional neighboughs.' 'We have seen coercion and “grey zone” activity and other cyber attacks on our country, on our near neighbours’.

Greg Sheridan said in the Weekend Australian; ‘Our defence capability is pitiful and must be boosted with more weapons’. He also said that ‘Defence Minister Peter Dutton delivered a historic speech to the National Press Club. For the first time since Brendan Nelson held the post under John Howard, a Defence Minister gave a speech which directly addressed the central strategic challenge and directly tied the purposes and structure of the defence force to that challenge’.

And in conclusion: If there is not a fair bit of action on a number of fronts, ‘The Morrison government will be finally marked as delivering great speeches but not delivering the security that comes from genuine defence capability.

Peter Dutton

Greg Sheridan is equally direct. Here is some quotes from The Australian on December 2, 2021, starting with the ‘extreme contradiction at the heart of all Australian defence policy’.

Many war planes have been quietly withdrawn from action and some of them are the only ones that could carry missiles.

‘The only new weapons the government has announced … are three categories of missiles – Tomahawks for the air warfare destroyers, and Collins Class subs; extended range for JASSMs for Super Hornets and F-35s; and Long Range Anti-Ship missiles for Super Hornets. But, sadly: ‘We have not yet received one new missile’.

‘The brutal contradiction of our national policy is at one level unfathomable. As one of the richest of nations in the world, we are doing almost nothing to provide a relevant, sizeable, meaningful, capable defence force over the next five years.’ (My take – we need to copy Israel.)

Our defence force can become far better and larger if we wish to make it so. ‘So far, the Morrison government has allowed the paralysing force of defence establishment inertia to prevent this. Nuclear-powered subs literally on the never-never are no substitute for action that will shape a meaningful force over the next five to 10 years.’

Greg Sheridan in action.


Fiona Prior visits 'God's Country'. More here.

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Vern Hughes
Vern Hughes
Dec 06, 2021

Dutton and Sheridan are both wrong on China. Sheridan is a life-long war-monger. He supported Australian involvement in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and quite explicitly couched his support in terms of paying our 'premium' for being in a military alliance with the US. He is still a Cold War Warrior but since the USSR has bitten the dust, China is now the target. Sheridan's analysis of China is as flawed as his analysis of the Soviet Union. Vietnam was never a domino about to fall, paving the way to annexation of Australia. The Right in Australia is stuck in a primitive time-warp. It is fighting a culture war it is losing day by day. And in desperation it thinks war with…

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