Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne (left) and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Sydney on Friday (Image: AAP//Bianca De Marchi)

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was in Sydney at the weekend for high level ministerial talks with her Australian counterparts. Not surprisingly, former prime minister Paul Keating had something to say.

In a typically combative spray published in public policy journal Peals and Irritations, Keating called Truss “demented” for her suggestion that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could inspire China to similar aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

But beneath the bluster was a deeper point about Britain’s place as a serious strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific.