The Albanese government must respond to Paul Keating’s ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unhinged’ attacks on Australia’s closest allies, James Paterson has argued #Albanese #government #respond #Paul #Keatings #extraordinary #unhinged #attacks #Australias #closest #allies #James #Paterson #argued #englishheadline


The Albanese government must respond to the “extraordinary” and “unhinged” comments made by former prime minister and “Labor legend” Paul Keating, Senator James Paterson has argued.

The former prime minister used a National Press Club address on Wednesday to describe the AUKUS submarine deal as the ‘worst international decision by an Australian Labor government since Billy Hughes,” accuse foreign minister Penny Wong of “running around the Pacific Islands with a lei around your neck handing out money,” and attack multiple journalists who asked questions.

“Even by Paul Keating standards, this was an utterly extraordinary performance at the National Press Club today,” Senator James Paterson said.

“An unhinged spray at his friends and former colleagues in the Labor Party and the government, an attack on our closest allies and friends, the United States, the United Kingdom and also India.”

The shadow minister for cyber security and countering foreign interference said Keating’s outburst demanded a “serious response” from the Albanese government.

“When Mr Keating’s made contributions like this in the past, Anthony Albanese has often dismissed them by saying Mr Keating was entitled to his views…I think this demands a much more serious response,” Senator Paterson said.

“Paul Keating is not just a random person in the street. He’s not just a former Labor prime minister but a Labor Party legend admired by many of the current Labor MPs, Senators and Ministers.

“This demands…a response from the Prime Minister, from the Foreign Minister, from the Defence Minister, comprehensively setting out how they depart from his thinking.

“If they don’t then people will be thinking that there is some sort of sympathy for these thoughts.”

Senator Paterson said that when Malcolm Fraser had disagreed with Coalition government policy the Liberal Party had “set out very clearly the ways in which we disagreed with him,” and they would be expected to do the same if a revered former Liberal leader acted like Paul Keating.

“If one of our living former veterans like John Howard came out and made some unhinged comments like this, I can assure you we would be out there very clearly explaining how we disagree,” he said.

“Thankfully, John Howard doesn’t behave like that.”

‘Rubbish in the Labor party’: Paul Keating on Australia’s long term strategic interests

Senator Paterson, a prominent China hawk, said “it was very telling” that the only country Keating was unwilling to criticise was China, noting journalists had given him multiple opportunities to criticise China’s treatment of the Uyghurs.

“He refused to take up that opportunity multiple times and then went on to say that the treatment of Uyghurs is somehow in dispute. It is not in dispute,” the Senator said.

“There is ample evidence on the public record that we know that millions of Uyghurs have been interned against their will, that their culture has been subjugated and destroyed by the Chinese government, that they are being persecuted in one of the worst human rights abuses we’ve seen in the 21st century.

“So him being unwilling to call that out and in fact, to call that into question is a very dark stain on his public reputation.”

English Headline

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