One of Clive Palmer’s senators says Australia must double the size of its military to counter the threat of a Chinese invasion.
A day after Mr Palmer stoked controversy by describing the Chinese as “bastards” and “mongrels” who shoot their own people, Jacqui Lambie has weighed in.
The outspoken Palmer United Party senator for Tasmania says she strongly supports her leader’s comments about “China’s military capacity and threat to Australia”.
“If anybody thinks that we should have a national security and defence policy which ignores the threat of a Chinese communist invasion – you’re delusional and got rocks in your head,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
We need to double the size and capacity of our military right now.
The Chinese threat to the western world was at an unprecedented high, she said.
A former Australian Defence Force non-commissioned-officer, Senator Lambie says China is controlled by “an aggressive, anti-democratic, totalitarian government”.
“We need to double the size and capacity of our military right now,” she said.
Senator Lambie’s comments come despite Mr Palmer’s attempts to play down his comments on the ABC’s Q&A program.
He tweeted that his comments were “not intended to refer to Chinese people” but to the company CITIC Pacific, with which Mr Palmer is locked in a legal fight.
Nonetheless, government ministers such as Treasurer Joe Hockey have lined up to condemn the outburst.
“I think it is hugely damaging for Mr Palmer to make those sort of comments,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Mr Hockey said the billionaire miner had been a big beneficiary of Chinese investment in Australia.
“He is in a very obvious legal dispute with his Chinese partners but I’d say to Mr Palmer, please don’t bring down the rest of Australia because of your biases.”
The PUP leader is embroiled in a legal battle with Chinese state-owned company CITIC Pacific, which has accused the mining magnate of siphoning off $12 million in funds.
Mr Palmer has strenuously denied accusations that his company Mineralogy misused CITIC Pacific’s cash to finance PUP’s federal election campaign.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce agrees Mr Palmer’s comments were inappropriate.
“You can’t just drop your bundle on national television,” he said.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the comments as “offensive, unnecessary and unacceptable”.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Palmer’s remarks were irresponsible.
“China is one of our most important relationships and unwarranted sprays like this are not helpful at all.”