“My concern is that not only does he not fully comprehend Australia’s interests in relation to China, he doesn’t even seek to,” she said.
“It’s always about the domestic political advantage — either in the internal fights within the Liberal Party in pandering to the far right, or in seeking to pursue some partisan advantage over the Labor Party.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton also warned the possibility of conflict between the two countries could “not be discounted”.
“Our leaders do not make us safe by beating the drums of war with China,” Senator Wong said.
“It’s Beijing that benefits from other countries thinking war is inevitable.”
As Senator Wong called for a fundamental change in dealings with Beijing to focus on “more strategy, and less politics”, the Prime Minister hit back at her remarks.
“A Coalition government will always stand up for Australia,” Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne.
“And we’ve demonstrated that. Defence spending under Labor was basically sacrificed…we have spent the time rebuilding our Defence Force capability,” Mr Morrison said.