The last thing Australia needs is that both the government and the opposition are “closing the options” with China rather than keeping them open, says Professor Michael Wesley of the University of Melbourne.
“Both sides are now burning their national security credentials, burning their toughness – and what it does is remove the creative possibilities for moving the relationship forward in a pragmatic way,” Professor Wesley told Sky News Australia.
He said he was not optimistic about the trajectory of Australia’s relations with China.
“We have unnecessarily disproportionate the meaning of the agreement between China and the Solomon Islands: it is very difficult to go back now.
“I fear that, if not stuck in this level of antagonism, there will definitely be some sort of cold relationship between Australia and its main trading partner for a while yet.”