Australian Labor Party leader outlines militarist foreign policy


Australian Labor Party leader outlines militarist foreign policy

Oscar Grenfell

2 November 2018

Labor Party leader Bill Shorten used a speech on Monday at the Lowy Institute, a corporate think tank, to outline an aggressive foreign policy aimed at expanding Australian imperialism’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

With a federal election due to be held before May, the address was a clear signal to the Australian military-intelligence apparatus, and to Washington, that a Labor government would intensify Australia’s alignment with US-led preparations for conflict with China, while extending Australia’s own predatory operations in the region.

Shorten said the “international order,” established on the basis of US economic and military superiority after World War II, was “being disrupted.” He specifically referenced China’s growing influence and the Trump administration’s “America First” program, characterised by a turn to trade war, which is leading to economic and military tensions with foes and nominal allies alike.

Shorten’s remarks formed part of a broader discussion within the Australian corporate and political establishment over the implications of Trump’s reckless, and often erratic, foreign policy. Sections of the ruling elite are deeply fearful that the US economic measures and military provocations against Beijing threaten their lucrative business relations with China.

Shorten declared that his government would be prepared to differ with Trump, but this would be done “within the enduring framework of our close relationship” with the US. The Labor leader declared that Australians would be “more responsible allies” of Washington by voicing these concerns.

Shorten is in line with the dominant section of the political…

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