Statement: HMAS Toowoomba

The Coalition condemns the actions of the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) in which Royal Australian Navy divers on HMAS Toowoomba were injured in international waters last Tuesday.

While the responsibility is solely on the Chinese PLA Navy, the Albanese Government also has some serious questions to answer.

Reports that the Prime Minister knew about this incident and deliberately withheld information until after leaving for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit are, if true, outrageous and unacceptable.

The Prime Minister must explain why he chose to wait until after he left the country to disclose this information, and whether he raised it directly with President Xi Jinping at APEC.

What we continue to see from the Prime Minister and his Labor government is a lack of leadership and a lack of action.

In a week in which the government has failed its most basic task - to keeping Australians safe - the Albanese government has again proved that it can’t be trusted on national security.

We have always said that we will judge the Chinese Communist Party on their actions rather than their words, and this provocative behaviour contradicts the Government’s belief they are witnessing a stabilisation of the relationship with China. This incident is evidence to the contrary.

The Prime Minister must immediately disclose whether he raised this matter with President Xi, or whether it was withheld for expedient political purposes. Any failure to do so would rightly raise questions around Anthony Albanese’s ability to lead our nation.

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