Liz Truss is branded ‘demented’ by former Australian prime minister Paul Keating for hardline comments against the Beijing regime: Labels Boris Johnson’s Government ‘disreputable’

  • Paul Keating, Labor PM from 1991-96, lashed out at the Foreign Secretary
  • She used a visit to Australia to hit out at Beijing’s economic and military bullying
  • Keating, 77, has previously been seen as an apologist for the communist regime
  • He also lashed out at Boris Johnson’s government, branding it ‘disreputable’ 

Liz Truss has been branded ‘demented’ for taking a hardline stance on China in an astonishing outburst by a former Australian prime minister.

Paul Keating, who was a Labor PM in the early 1990s, lashed out at the Foreign Secretary after she used a visit Down Under to hit out at Beijing’s economic bullying and military threat.

Keating, 77, who has previously been seen as an apologist for the communist regime, also lashed out at Boris Johnson’s government in general, branding it ‘disreputable’ in an astonishing tirade in a little-known Australian newspaper. 

‘[Her comments] are nothing short of demented. Not simply irrational, demented,’ he wrote in an opinion piece, calling her words ‘nonsense’.  

Ms Truss has been in Australia for high level meetings in recent days and said China taking advantage of the Ukraine situation ‘couldn’t be ruled out’.

‘Russia is working more closely with China than it ever has. Aggressors are working in concert and I think it’s incumbent on countries like ours to work together,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Paul Keating, who was a Labor PM in the early 1990s, lashed out at the Foreign Secretary after she used a visit Down Under to hit out at Beijing’s economic bullying and military threat.

Ms Truss has been in Australia for high level meetings in recent days and said China taking advantage of the Ukraine situation ‘couldn’t be ruled out’.

Ms Truss with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne at Admiralty House in Sydney last week, when she attacked China over its economic and defence policies.

Mr Keating, who while PM in 1991 to 1996 turned Australian foreign policy towards Asia, is a frequent apologist for China.

He has heaped scorn on the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the US, and the UK and ridiculed Britain’s ability to be a force in the Asia-Pacific at the National Press Club last year, likening the UK to ‘an old theme park sliding into the Atlantic’.

This weekend he took another shot at Britain’s ‘delusions of grandeur and relevance deprivation’ in thinking it could make a dent in China’s influence.

‘The reality is Britain does not add up to a row of beans when it comes to East Asia. Britain took its main battle fleet out of East Asia in 1904 and finally packed it in with its ‘East of Suez’ policy in the 1970s. And it has never been back,’ he wrote. 

Ms Truss blasted China over its ‘economic coercion’ of Australia last week, saying Beijing’s bullying was a ‘wake-up call’ to other countries. 

China – which had been Australia’s top trading partner – introduced tariffs and other trade actions against the country on barley, wine, beef, seafood and coal exports when the relationship between the two nations soured in 2020.

Speaking in Sydney, Ms Truss said the UK and Australia were determined to act together in ‘calling out China’ when it blocks products from Lithuania or imposes ‘punitive tariffs on Australian barley and wine’.

‘The situation with Australia – the economic coercion we saw – was one of the wake-up calls as to exactly what China was doing and the way it was using its economic might to try to exert control over over other countries,’ she said.

She said Australia and the UK are ‘facing global challenges with multiple aggressors… We are seeing the alignment of authoritarian regimes around the world.’  

This further enraged Mr Keating, who also took the opportunity to take a shot at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ongoing problems.

‘Truss would do us all a favour by hightailing it back to her collapsing, disreputable government, leaving Australia to find its own way in Asia,’ he wrote.

He said that Ms Truss, who is tipped by many to be the UK’s next prime minister, is ‘looking wistfully for Britain’s lost worlds of the 19th and 20th centuries’.

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