Senate debates

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Questions without Notice


2:57 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

Our assistance to support Tonga is consistent with what we do for our good friends across the Pacific and is not limited to a single mission. Rather, it is our enduring presence and our high-quality development, policing and defence cooperation programs that have built trust over decades.

Under the coalition, defence, stability and national security are a priority. Those opposite, unfortunately, take a different view. While under this government our investment in the region and in defence is at record highs, the Labor Party gutted the defence budget by $18 billion—the lowest level as a proportion of GDP since 1938. While we on this side take a strong stand with our partners in the region and, indeed, across the world, Senator Wong won't condemn former Labor Prime Minister Keating for his appeasement of China. That's the contrast we have in this place. We don't shy away from prioritising—

You know, you might not like hearing it, but that's what you're going to do. That's your record: cutting defence in the past, and you would do it again.


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