Australia is about to enter its fourth year of economic punishment at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. That’s no small encumbrance. When the Australian Labor Party assumed power in May, many political watchers speculated it might pursue a softer approach to Beijing after senior Labor leaders—including Penny Wong, now foreign minister—had criticized then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison for mismanaging the relationship with Australia’s largest trading partner. Others, such as former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, urged the new government to pursue a more independent foreign policy that was less reliant on the US.
Fortunately, the opposite is occurring. The Labor government isn’t only supporting the foreign-policy approach of its predecessors in the center-right Liberal Party; it is promising to fast-track Liberal-era plans to work with Washington to counter the Chinese threat. That a Labor government is doing so should reassure the Biden administration that Canberra knows that working more closely with the US is the only way to prevent Beijing from achieving its expansionist ambitions.