Scott Morrison reemerges from the backbench to call out China

Former prime minister Scott Morrison reemerges from the backbench to call out China and praise himself for standing up to ‘bullying’ from the communist superpower

Former prime minister Scott Morrison is demanding Australia step up its pressure on China’s human rights abuses while praising his own efforts to call out ‘bullying’ by Beijing.

Mr Morrison is due to give a speech on Friday to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international group of lawmakers working to reform how democratic countries approach the country.

He will urge the Albanese government to consider using Magnitsky-style sanctions laws against Chinese government officials to hold them accountable for human rights abuses.

Mr Morrison will also argue western nations are ‘appeasing’ China’s ambitions in the South China Sea and not advancing global concerns about the nation’s human rights record.

 Ex-prime minister Scott Morrison wants the government to consider sanctions on Chinese officials

‘The benign and accommodating view of China has proved to be, arguably, the most misplaced assumption in international relations since Neville Chamberlain proclaimed ‘peace in our time’ on his return from Munich in 1938,’ he will tell the conference.

‘It has led the west to appease China’s ambitions, including the conversion of island atolls into military installations in the South China Sea, and partitioning global concerns about China’s human rights record from the main track of strategic dialogue with and about China.’

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said Australia has continually raised human rights issues with China in official talks, but he said it was important to do this respectfully.

‘We obviously value a productive relationship with China and it’s possible to stabilise our relationship whilst also raising these issues of human rights,’ he told reporters in Canberra.

‘What we seek to do is to pursue these issues in a way which makes the greatest difference.’

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said while Australia had a good relationship with China, there would always be tensions.

‘There are human rights abuses … and the Australian government would be making representations to Beijing on a constant basis and we have done that as a country for years,’ he told Nine’s Today program.

‘The human rights abusers are there and it is right that they are called out.’

Mr Morrison will also discuss how he ‘rallied like-minded countries’ in Quad and AUKUS meetings to ‘call out the bullying of the Chinese government’.