• Staff Writers

PM Morrison stands against a 'transactional' world


Scott Morrison warns Australia faces its most dangerous security environment since WWII and says liberal democracies must unite against autocratic aggression.


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a wake-up call for Europe and represents "a new arc of autocracy" that threatens to disrupt the world order, the prime minister warns.


Scott Morrison will tell a Lowy Institute forum on Monday that Australia faces its most dangerous security environment since World War II and Western liberal democracies must stand together against autocratic aggression.


The "rules-based international order" that has supported peace and stability for decades and allowed sovereign nations to pursue their interests free from coercion is under assault, Mr Morrison's speech notes indicate, stating:

"A new arc of autocracy is instinctively aligning to challenge and reset the world order in their own image.
"We face the spectre of a transactional world, devoid of principle, accountability and transparency, where state sovereignty, territorial integrity and liberty are surrendered for respite from coercion and intimidation, or economic entrapment dressed up as economic reward."

Mr Morrison will blame the "well motivated altruistic ambition" of international institutions for opening the door to the threat, which he says he has been warning about for years.


With a federal election due in May, he will say the "clear eyed" coalition government has taken action to bolster the country's resilience despite criticism, but the veil is now being lifted.


"And so Australia faces its most difficult and dangerous security environment in 80 years," Mr Morrison will say. 


The speech comes after Australian missiles arrived in Ukraine as part of the federal government's promised $70 million in military assistance, in addition to non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Mr Morrison in a phone call over the weekend he deeply appreciated the support from Australia.


Australia has fast-tracked the approval of 1700 visas for those fleeing the war and Mr Morrison is flagging a potential resurrection of the temporary safe haven program that accommodated Kosovars during the Kosovo War.


The prime minister says Europe has had "a major wake-up call" from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and welcomes signs of a tougher stance by countries such as Germany, Sweden and Finland against "autocrat adventurism".