CANBERRA, AAP – Anthony Albanese has accused Scott Morrison of risking mining exports to China by putting domestic politics ahead of foreign policy.
The Labor leader will step up his criticism of the prime minister’s approach to Australia’s largest trading partner in a speech to mining industry bosses in Canberra on Wednesday.
Mr Albanese says Mr Morrison has no long-term strategy to deal with a more assertive China while also finding trade co-operation in both nations’ interest.
“Mr Morrison is making the grave error of prioritising his domestic political interests over Australia’s national interests,” he will say.
“Australia needs more strategy and less politics when it comes to managing our differences with China.”
Mr Albanese also takes aim at Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s recent statement that conflict with China over Taiwan could not be discounted, and at Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo’s “drums of war” warning.
“(They might) well inflame nationalistic sentiments and secure a grab the six o’clock news,” he will say.
“But foreign policy is not a game. It’s not a photo op. It’s a serious business with profound security and economic implications.”
Mr Morrison last month denied using tensions with China as a domestic political tool.
“Australians can always rely on the Liberals and the Nationals, the coalition government, to do what’s right in Australia’s national security interests,” he said.
Mr Albanese believes the minerals industry should also be concerned by “the debt sentence” in the federal budget and the government’s refusal to embrace emerging technologies.
An elected Labor government would aim to revitalise manufacturing by adding value to products mined in Australia, such as with lithium batteries, through a $15 billion reconstruction fund.
Mr Albanese said more manufacturing would also benefit steel, iron ore and coal alongside new industries with job creation across sectors.
“Embracing renewables will create tens of thousands of secure jobs – jobs you can raise a family on.”