Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo, one of Australia’s senior officials, has said liberal democracies must brace for war while searching for peace amid elevated global tensions.
Pezzullo said the possibility of war was increasing.
“Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarization of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war, let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again … for the curse of war,” Pezzullo said in a letter to staff on Anazac Day, which honours the country’s war dead.
Pezzullo did not specify the catalyst for his warning but it follows a sharp deterioration in Australia’s relationship with China and a rise in regional tensions over Taiwan.
Australia’s opposition Labor party criticized Pezzullo’s comments.
“I think that is pretty hyper-excited language and I am not sure our senior public servants should be using that language,” Labor party lawmaker Bill Shorten told Australia’s Channel 9.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under Beijing’s control.