Coalition views national security as vote-winner but history shows Australians can turn to Labor in times of war

By Editorial
April 27 2022 - 1:30am
The Coalition wants us to 'prepare for war to ensure peace'. Picture: Anna Warr

A FORTNIGHT into this six-week election campaign and two areas - energy and national security - have begun to rise above a mass of other potential considerations to become the defining issues, thus far, of the road to May 21.

National Senator Matt Canavan may be on the outer, as things stand, in Coalition circles, but he came to the Hunter a week ago with a plan to trip-up Labor on coal, and his resultant tangle with Pat Conroy, triggered a debate that was still going yesterday.



The Coalition is delighted that it has Labor at sixes and sevens on how, if in power, it would treat greenhouse gas emissions from coalmining.


Domestic political advantage is one thing, but the debate over coal, as we all know, is international.

The more the Coalition attacks Labor for attempting to do something about fossil fuel emissions, the more it paints itself as the international laggard it denies that it is.

The February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine made it likely from the start that national security would be a major topic of the 2022 election campaign.

Now, the security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China has brought a climate of uncertainty and fear closer to home.

This is a dangerous area, politically, for ALP, and it knows it, even if it long ago jettisoned any real pretensions to being a party of socialism.

The historical echoes of US government discomfort with the Whitlam administration still reverberate today.

The "special relationship" that all involved like to say they enjoy, when it suits them, is not always as clear-cut, or as trusting, as it's portrayed.

As evidenced by Senator Jim Molan's visit to Swansea RSL yesterday, the Morrison government will do it all it can to paint the ALP as automatically inferior to the Coalition on all things related to defence and national security.

Voters will make their own minds up on this and other questions but whatever attitude some Labor MPs may have had to China - even recently - the scales have surely fallen from all eyes by now.

Additionally, despite supposed military brass support for conservative governments, history records Australians voting Labor at times of major military conflict, including both world wars; wars we fought, it is worth remembering, in the name of democracy.

WAR, WHAT'S IT GOOD FOR: Politicians in every nation will talk up a need for increased security - and some will take their countries to war, or be forced to defend their country. But whatever happens, it's in the young of the world who do the fighting, and pay the price. Soldiers' graves at Cobden Cemetery, Corangamite, Victoria. Picture: Lillian Altman