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Election 2022 LIVE updates: Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese defend economic records after final TV debate

To national security for a moment, and Scott Morrison says he doesn’t agree with assurances from China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, that Beijing’s movements in the South Pacific are not a security threat.

“I think it’s of great consequence … I don’t want to give any amplification for the views of the Chinese government,” the prime minister said today in response to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

“I support the Australian national interests, not the Chinese government’s view of what national interests are, whether it be in Australia or across the Pacific, and that’s why I’ve always taken a very strong stance on this, a stance that I’ve been criticised for right across the country.”

China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Security in the Pacific has become a key pillar of the election campaign following revelations of a security pact between China and the Solomon Islands.

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Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned that the threat posed by China in the region was the same island-hopping tactic used by Japan in World War II.

“China is now utilising the same tactical positioning, and it is imperative in this campaign that the Australian people are fully aware of this. It is not alarmism. It is a reality, and we have to be awake to it,” Joyce said.

When asked about this issue today, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said: “China has changed its posture. They are more aggressive in the region. We need to, in the words of the [Joe] Biden administration [in the US], have competition without catastrophe.”

Cut through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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