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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that Australia will join US military efforts to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, citing Australia's interest in ensuring oil tankers can move freely. The prime minister said "15-20 per cent of refined oil destined for Australia transits through the Strait of Hormuz" and stressed that Australia's involvement would be "modest, meaningful and time-limited."
The commitment follows a request from senior members of the Trump administration at the AUSMIN consultations in Sydney earlier this month for allies including Australia to join a coalition force in the Persian Gulf.
Critics have argued the move will draw Australian resources away from the Indo-Pacific and warn Australia's military involvement could be seen as an "act of aggression" in breach of international law. Director of the Foreign Policy and Defence program at the United States Studies Centre Ashley Townshend said "while we have clear interests in freedom of navigation, this crisis is one of Trump’s making. Diplomacy, not military presence, is the solution".