Australia is the deputy sheriff and lapdog of USChina does not need to attack Australia, but China could significantly erode Australia's status as a middle power and economic influence in Southeast Asia should the US-led order diminish. Canberra is highly dependent on Washington in order to be able to punch above its weight and behave like a great power (but in reality, middle power due to dependence on the US and lack of nukes) in Asia. It is also the only "white" western nation in a region surrounded by "orientals." Therefore Canberra has an inherent interest in defending the US-led order and prevent non-Western powers from becoming new hegemons in the Asia-Pacific Region. As with China, while it is Australia's biggest trading partner, Sino-Australian economic and political ties are so tilled in favor of China that Australia fears about losing its unique political, economic, and cultural leverages over China. Overall, it is China (and Imperial Japan before 1941) that could really threaten Australia very identity as a unique western nation surrounded by "orientals" due to power imbalances.