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11 November 2020

Independent Senator Rex Patrick today condemned the Coalition Government for blocking a vote on a Senate motion that expressed support for Taiwan.

“Taiwan is a vibrant democracy of nearly 24 million people that faces a growing threat of military coercion from China,” Senator Patrick said. 

“Today I moved for the Australian Senate to adopt a motion supporting Taiwan’s democracy and autonomy. The text of my motion was substantially drawn from the joint US-Australian statement agreed by Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds at the AUSMIN meeting in the United States in July.”

“It’s extraordinary then that the Government cannot bring itself now to support a motion that reaffirms Australia’s longstanding view that any resolution of differences between China and Taiwan must be peaceful.”

“It’s equally unacceptable that the Government cannot express support for Taiwan’s democracy, and the right of the Taiwanese to determine their own future free from threats or coercion.”

Beijing has recently turned up its threats against Taiwan and has indicated that military action is an option to force Taiwan’s reunification with the Chinese mainland. 

“I don’t think it could be in any way acceptable to allow Taiwanese democracy and the fate of nearly 24 million people to be subject to military coercion and, if unsupported, forced surrender to Beijing," Senator Patrick said.

“It would involve a betrayal of democratic principle and a strategic setback of grave significance for Australia’s security of the Asia-Pacific region.” 

“A failure to support Taiwan’s democracy and autonomy would be quite comparable with the Munich settlement of 1938 and the resultant Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.” 

“No doubt the Chinese Communist Party will be pleased with the Coalition Government’s Senate obstruction, but I doubt there’ll be any thanks from Beijing. They’ll likely turn up the heat another notch.” 

The text of Senator Patrick’s Senate motion can be found here.

A speech by Senator Patrick on China’s threats to Taiwan can be found here.