Australia is likely to be embroiled in war with China sooner than we think. The public needs to wake up - quickly.

This was the shocking take out of journalist Peter Stefanovic’s documentary Are We Ready For War?, screened on Sky News last night.

The answer sadly is a resounding no.

Speaking from beyond the grave, having given his last television interview to Stefanovic before he died of cancer, former Major General Jim Molan urged Australians to accept at least a doubling of the defence budget.

Currently we spend $48.7 billion a year, or 1.96 per cent of our GDP.

Family First supports this.

Defence Minister Richard Marles was non-committal when asked by Stefanovic.

Molan said the allies had at least an 18-month warning period before the start of hostilities in World War II.

The Chinese Communist Party, which has one million soldiers and two million military personnel – the world’s largest, has us on notice. Not that the public have any awareness but they should be jolted now.

“They (the CCP) have already given us warning. We are withing the strategic warning time for the next war,” Molan said in the most frightening comment of the one-hour program.

CCP dictate Xi Jingpin has already declared he will take Taiwan with force if necessary.

More than 2700 sorties have violated Taiwanese airspace this year in what is a major escalation.

The CCP has the capacity to take out satellites which the American and Australian military rely on as well as the ability to cut undersea cables.

Molan things an initial Chinese strike would be with missiles against American bases and ships in the western Pacific, destroying US capability to defend Taiwan.

Australia would inevitably be drawn into helping the US in any action not just because we are allied with the Americans, but because Australia would be next.

The fight for Taiwan would be a fight for Australia.

“We are woefully unprepared for a regional war in relation to the resilience of our nation,” Molan said.

Australia has just 60,000 military personnel, which includes soldiers.

“The big threat to us is that somehow someway China will challenge us as a liberal democracy, it might be in direct conflict with us, it might be in a war with us and our great and powerful friend, the Americans, with us as collateral damage to that particular war.”

Unlike Australia, Japan is acting.

It will double its military spending in the next five years to US$320 billion per year, the world’s third largest defence budget after the US and China.

Taiwanese government officials told Stefanovic the democracy was willing to do whatever it takes to defend itself.

“Private shooting lessons have quadrupled in the last six months,” Stefanovic reported.

Former SAS captain now federal Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said while Australia obviously could not defend itself against China, our capability was so poor we would struggle against a “peer adversary”.

Stefanovic played a grab of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin saying: “We will not allow Australia to have a capability gap going forward”.

This is encouraging but we don’t have enough ammunition to last a week, our fuel reserves are offshore and our nuclear submarines are 20 years away.

This was Sky News at its best. As the documentary finished a poignant dedication to Jim Molan AO DSC Major General (retd) flashed on the screen.

We would honour his memory by heading his warning. Urgently.