It was the very thought that came into my own head the moment I heard this: ‘Reality of our time’: Dutton warns Australians to prepare for war. Of course, my Latin is a bit rusty so the thought occurred to me only in English. However, the more up-to-date and erudite chaps and chapesses at The Spectator were able to go straight to the original.
- Yesterday, classically-literate defence minister Peter Dutton raised the campaign temperature by saying, ‘Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.’ Actually, that’s what a Roman chap called Publius Flavius Vegetius wrote the best part of 2,000 years ago. Dutton translated it on the Today show as ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’, with reference to Red China knocking on our door through its deal with the prime minister of the Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, our PM talked of ‘red lines’ being crossed if China militarises the Solomons: how the Reds would be thrown back behind that red line, if they crossed it, wasn’t spelled out by the government (nor did Labor spell out what they would do). But you can take it as given that those choices of words were workshopped in Liberal focus groups, and yesterday they set the media agenda.
Whatever and however Scott Morrison may be remembered, it won’t be as “Pig Iron Bob”. Labor will undoubtedly invent some other means to traduce [more Latin] our Prime Minister. This is a more complete version of what Dutton said: Peter Dutton warns of a potential chemical weapon attack and says China ‘would play Penny Wong like a fool’ if she becomes the new foreign minister. If you don’t think this is a very real issue, than think about this.
She [ie Penny Wong] told the Guardian’s Australian Politics Podcast that recent tactics by Scott Morrison to paint Labor as soft on China will only make the situation worse.
The Prime Minister in February branded Labor deputy leader Richard Marles a ‘Manchurian candidate’ after he called for closer defence ties with China on a trip to Beijing in 2019.
Ms Wong said the extraordinary attack to portray the Opposition as weak on national security and a puppet of an enemy power, was an act of ‘desperation by the government’.
‘It is also a trashing of Australia’s national interests because one of the things that makes us strongest is our unity,’ she said.
‘What we won’t do is play domestic politics with the China relationship.’
And what she definitely will not do is indicate that the CCP is a potential threat to Australia. And just what is the CCP?
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and sole ruling party of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Labor needs to be more specific about national defence along with border protection.