Keating’s comments cracked me up, with it’s “old school” Aussie slang, but this report from Australia’s MSM highlights the growing division between those who think the West should embrace China, and those who think caution and critical thinking is wise. MH
The Daily Mail Australia
Mon, 06 May 2019 13:55 UTC
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has slammed Australia’s security bosses as ‘nutters’ in a bizarre interview less than two weeks from the Federal Election. Speaking to ABC, Mr Keating discussed the economic impact Labor’s policies would have on the nation, before slamming ASIO and ASIS, accusing them of being anti-China and ‘running Australia’s foreign policy’.
‘When the security agencies are running foreign policy, the nutters are in charge,’ he said.
“They’ve lost their strategic bearings, these organisations.”
Mr Keating, who was Labor prime minister between 1991 and 1996, has called for spy chiefs to be sacked in a bid to improve relations with China, saying he would ‘clean them out’.The politician said problems began to mount in the security council after former journalist John Garnaut helped to write a classified report for ASIO on Chinese influence in Australia.
‘Once that Garnaut guy came back from China and [Malcolm] Turnbull gave him the ticket to go and hop into the security agencies, they’ve all gone berko ever since,’ he said.
Paul Keating said Australia’s security agencies went ‘berko’ after former journalist John Garnaut helped write a classified ASIO report on China
‘When you have got the ASIO chief knocking on MPs’ doors, you know something’s wrong.’
Mr Keating said any incumbent government needed to rethink Australia’s relationship with China.
‘You know, China, whatever you think, China is a great state,’ he said.
‘It’s always been a great state and now has the second-largest economy, soon the largest economy in the world.
‘If we have a foreign policy that does not take that into account, we are fools.’
Following the inflammatory comments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on Bill Shorten to denounce Mr Keating’s remarks, noting the agencies had prevented 15 terror attacks in Australia.
‘For what the Labor Party calls a Labor legend to go out there and attack the credibility of our security agencies that have been saving lives in this country, I think is very disappointing,’ the PM told reporters in Nowra on Monday.
‘I think that should be disowned and I think the leader of the Labor Party, Bill Shorten, should be having something to say about that in denouncing what Paul Keating had to say.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on Labor to denounce Mr Keating’s remarks, with Labor Leader Bill Shorten telling reporters there would be no ‘clean out’ of Australia’s security agencies under a government he led. Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said there would ‘absolutely not’ be a full-scale clean-out of Australia’s security agencies under a Shorten government.
‘People love Paul Keating for his colourful language,’ she told ABC Radio National on Monday.
‘We have a very good relationship with Australia’s security agencies.’
She said Mr Keating did not run Labor policy, noting the opposition valued regular briefings it receives from agencies.
‘Paul Keating is right to say that China is an absolutely vital economic partner for Australia and we have to have a good relationship with China,’ Ms Plibersek said.
Labor’s Deputy Leader said the party enjoyed a ‘very good’ relationship with security agencies, but said Mr Keating was right to highlight China’s importance