Scott Morrison has denied stoking tensions with China through alarmist rhetoric for domestic political gain.
Labor has accused the prime minister of indulging in political opportunism and endangering Australia’s relationship with China.
Mr Morrison rejects the accusation.
“Australians can always rely on the Liberals and the Nationals, the coalition government, to do what’s right in Australia’s national security interests,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“Under a coalition government, we will always stand up for Australia.”
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the prime minister was using foreign policy for domestic benefit.
“My concern is that not only does he not fully comprehend Australia’s interests in relation to China, he doesn’t even seek to,” she told the ABC.
“It’s always about the domestic political advantage — either in the internal fights within the Liberal Party in pandering to the far right, or in seeking to pursue some partisan advantage over the Labor Party.”