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ZEW Expectations Sentiment Surges in May

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Articles appearing this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald carrying comments from former Special Operations Commander Australia Major-General Adam Findlay regarding his view that there is a 'high likelihood' of war between China and Australia in the future.

  • Findlay is alleged to have made the comments in April 2020 as part of a briefing to Australian special forces soldiers, with the statements only coming to light recently.
  • The article reads, ""Who do you reckon the main [regional] threat is?" General Findlay asked his troops and officers before answering: "China" [...] General Findlay said that to "stop war from breaking out" Australia's military must compete against the "coercive constraints" imposed on Australia by China. In undertaking its own grey zone missions, Australia's aim was to "put the adversary at a disadvantage, put us at an advantage" and avoid war."
  • In late March, Australia's Defence Minister Peter Dutton stated that Australia was "already under attack" from China in areas of cybersecurity, while he wants the gov't to have a "more frank discussion with the public" about China's intentions regarding Australia.
  • Australia's more hard-line rhetoric towards China comes at a time when the gov't of New Zealand is taking the opposite approach, refusing to criticise China as part of the Five-Eyes intelligence network (alongside Australia, the US, the UK and Canada). This has led to reticence from NZ's western allies, concerned the gov't of PM Jacinda Ardern is no longer a reliable partner in combating China's increasing military influence in Asia.