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Australia must ‘prepare for war’ in order to preserve peace, Peter Dutton has declared in an Anzac Day interview.

Speaking from Samford Valley in Queensland with a brass band playing in the background, the Defence Minister said Australia must ‘be strong’ and ‘not cower’.

He said the best way to deal with Russia and China is to ‘stand up and stare down any act of aggression’.

‘The only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war and to be strong as a country. Not to cower, not to be on bended knee and be weak. That’s the reality,’ he told the Today show. 

‘Curling up in a ball, pretending that nothing’s happening, saying nothing – that is not going to be in our long term interests and we should be honest about that.

‘I just think that’s the lesson of history’.

Mr Dutton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin – who launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 – to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Chinese troops at the opening ceremony of a joint counterterrorism military exercise last year in Orenburg, Russia

Chinese troops at the opening ceremony of a joint counterterrorism military exercise last year in Orenburg, Russia

Chinese troops at the opening ceremony of a joint counterterrorism military exercise last year in Orenburg, Russia

‘We have to be realistic that people like Hitler and others aren’t just a figment of our imagination or that they’re consigned to history,’ he said.

‘We have in President Putin at the moment someone who is willing to kill women and children and that’s happening in 2022.

‘It’s a replay in part of what’s happening in the 1930s.’

Mr Dutton also warned that China was become increasingly determined to project power beyond its shores. 

‘The Chinese through their actions and through their words are on a very deliberate course at the moment.’ he said.

‘We have to stand up with countries to stare down any act of aggression to make sure we can keep peace in our region and for our country.’

Since president Xi Jinping came to power, and particularly in recent years, Beijing has pushed an increasingly assertive foreign policy.

China has reinforced territorial claims in the South China Sea, killed Indian troops in the Himalayas, and frequently flown fighter jets over Taiwan. 

Members of the Australian Army Band take part in the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service in Sydney

Members of the Australian Army Band take part in the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service in Sydney

Members of the Australian Army Band take part in the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service in Sydney

While Mr Dutton was speaking, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor deputy leader Richard Marles were in Darwin for services on Monday, as the nation marked the 107th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

Mr Albanese remained in isolation at his Sydney home as he recovers from Covid-19.

Mr Morrison said in a statement ahead of the service it was a day of rededication to the principles and values many Australians had fought for.

‘Even now, as we come together, on this Anzac Day, around the world and particularly in Ukraine, there is a new fight for freedom,’ he said.

‘And Australia is playing its part in that conflict, to support those who believe in freedom – freedom from those who would seek to coerce them, freedom from those who would seek to impose their will.

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has destroyed the city of Mariupol (pictured)

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has destroyed the city of Mariupol (pictured)

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has destroyed the city of Mariupol (pictured)

‘Australia has seen this before and we have stood against it.’

He said it was a time for the nation to look forward ‘with optimism and with confidence, because of the freedom and because of belief and our passion for our country and our future together’.

Mr Albanese said in a video message the Australian character was confirmed at Gallipoli and since then Australians had ‘stood steadfast as warriors and as builders and keepers of the peace’.

‘Yet as the war in Ukraine so tragically reminds us, darkness is not vanquished from the world,’ he said.

‘It reminds us freedom cannot be taken for granted. It reminds us that freedom isn’t free.’

National security is set to remain a key issue in the election campaign with Labor and the coalition exchanging barbs over the handing of the Solomon Islands government’s deal with China.

Mr Morrison said on Sunday there would be no Chinese military naval bases in the region.

‘Working together with our partners in New Zealand and, of course, the US, I share the same red line that the US has when it comes to these issues,’ he said.

‘Prime Minister Sogavare has been very clear to me saying there will be no such base. So that is what he has said. So he clearly shares our red line.’

With AAP 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lays a wreath at the Anzac Dawn Service at the Darwin Cenotaph

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lays a wreath at the Anzac Dawn Service at the Darwin Cenotaph

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lays a wreath at the Anzac Dawn Service at the Darwin Cenotaph

Source: DailyMail

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