'Could not beat Taliban rebels!' Former Aus PM brutally mocks US hopes of defeating China

Mr Keating, 77, issued a statement on Thursday which condemned a potential “further dramatic loss” of Australian sovereignty. The former Australian Prime Minister, in power from 1991-1996, was criticising the new strategic alliance named AUKUS.

The partnership was jointly presented this morning by current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden.

Mr Keating said the agreement “will amount to a lock-in of Australian military equipment and thereby forces, with those of the US.”

He continued in his statement: “Material dependence on the US robbed Australia of any freedom or choice in any engagement Australia may deem appropriate.

“Australia has had great difficulty in – running a bunch of Australian-built conventional submarines – imagine the difficulty of moving to sophisticated nuclear submarines, their maintenance and operational complexity.”

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“The former Labor prime minister is entitled to his views and to be respected for his views but they are not views my government shares.

“My government is grounded in the decisions of Curtin and Menzies.. our relationship with the United States is a forever relationship.”

A joint statement from the leaders of the AUKUS partnership read: “We resolve to deepen diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

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