Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022


Solomon Islands

1:44 pm

Photo of Jacqui LambieJacqui Lambie (Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie Network) Share this | | Hansard source

I will tell you what is scaring the living hell out of me right now—what is going on in the Solomon Islands. The Chinese government is this close to getting a deal that will let them set up a military base with one of our closest neighbours. We could have Chinese naval vessels floating around just outside our waters and Chinese military assets and equipment in our backyard.

This deal will not make our region more safe. It will just increase tension and increases the chances we will get conflict. I'm calling on the Solomon Islands government not to sign onto a deal that will make our region less safe: you will not gain anything from running to China, I can assure you. You might make a quick buck but it will come at the cost of your own sovereignty. It will come at the cost of that, I can assure you. Don't subject yourself to the wishes of a totalitarian government with an appalling track record on human rights.

To the Australian government: you took your eyes off the road! You should be ashamed of yourselves! China is making moves in the Pacific, that is quite clear. What happened to your Pacific Step-up? What happened to it? You told us five years ago that you would protect us from this happening and here it is—it's happening! I can tell you now that you've failed and you've failed miserably.

You sit there and talk about national security. What a disgrace—what an absolute disgrace from the government! Once again we have a lack of planning and a lack of foresight, and now Australians are going to pay the price. I don't know if Labor will be any different, don't get me wrong, but we're the ones in the world who look like we've fallen asleep. This car is hurtling off the road and I can tell you that we could be about to hit a tree. It's not just bad for us: we just signed on to AUKUS and how does it look for our UK and the US allies that we can't even keep the Chinese military out of our own backyard?

I suggest that the foreign minister makes a beeline to the Solomon Islands parliament and gets this sorted out immediately for the sake of our national security. Stop talking it up and get it done!