Defence Minister Peter Dutton has issued a dire warning as tensions with China increase.
“The only way that you can preserve peace is to prepare for war and to be strong as a country,” said Mr Dutton.
“That’s the reality. Not to cower and be on a bended knee and be weak.”
The White House says it would have significant concerns if China established a military base in the Pacific after signing a security deal with the Solomon Islands.
“We are a country with a proud heritage that we commemorate today,” Mr Dutton added.
“The most important day on our calendar and we’re determined to make sure we can have peace in our country.”
Mr Dutton said it is important to “invest into the men and women of the Australian Defence Force”.
“You give them the capabilities,” he said.
“The arrangement we’ve entered into with AUKUS and particularly with the United States and the United Kingdom and now with Japan and India, these are all countries that want peace and the preservation of that peace in our region.
“We will work shoulder-to-shoulder with them to make sure that’s achieved.
“Curling up in a ball, pretending that nothing is happening, saying nothing, that is not going to be in our long-term interests and we should be very honest about that.”