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Kristina Keneally, who is contesting the seat of Fowler in Sydney, has been asked about China’s security deal with the Solomon Islands, describing it as a “government failure”.
“First of all, the Solomon Islands are a sovereign nation. I’m going to let them make their own decisions about what they release and don’t release,” she said.
“But I make this point. The Australian government, the Morrison government, was warned that China was seeking to strike a deal with the Solomon Islands.
“We saw yesterday the extraordinary commentary from the head of the office of national intelligence, Andrew Shearer, saying this was not an intelligence failure.
“That means it was a government failure. It was a failure by Mr Morrison not to seek to speak to Prime Minister Sogavare. It was a failure by Mr Morrison not to send his Foreign Minister to the Solomon Islands.
“Mr Morrison dropped the ball here in what has been the most significant national security failure since World War II as a result Australia is less safe,” Ms Keneally added.
“Now, China does have a foothold now, just 1600km from Cairns.”