Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Home > AUSTRALIA > Australia must be left ‘strategically naked’ for 20 years under a nuclear submarine agreement, Rudd says

Australia must be left ‘strategically naked’ for 20 years under a nuclear submarine agreement, Rudd says

Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd share an awkward moment
Australia must be left ‘strategically naked’ for 20 years under a nuclear submarine agreement, Rudd says

Former prime ministers on both sides of the policy are calling for a rapid acceleration in the build-up of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, with claims that Australia would otherwise stand “strategically naked” for the next two decades.

In an agreement with the UK and the US, Australia will have access to nuclear technology to help switch to nuclear-powered submarines.

The Navy would be the first initiative from a newly formed trilateral security partnership called AUKUS.

An 18-month Defense Forces task force will now examine how Australia can become a “reliable steward” of nuclear submarines, while Federal Labor said it received advice that the new submarines might not be built until 2040.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told ABC it was too long to wait, given the fleet’s aging Collins-class submarine fleet.

“We are being left strategically naked for 20 years, based on what I see to be the pile of this new submarine project,” Rudd said.

Rudd found an unlikely ally of former Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was pursuing an agreement with Japan to buy its submarines as a replacement for the Collins Class fleet before the Turnbull government awarded France the lucrative submarine contract in 2016.

Abbott later said he regretted not supporting nuclear submarines in the first place.

“The challenge now will be to get these new submarines into the water as quickly as possible,” he told Sky News.

“Honestly, time is not on our side with a decision of this kind. The best time to do that was always five years ago. But the second best time is now.”

‘Losing billions deserves a full investigation,’ says Carr

The new partnership also marks the end of the Australian government’s $ 90 billion project for French-designed submarines to be built in Adelaide.

There are also growing calls for an inquiry into the billions of taxpayers’ money spent on the now unwanted contract, where around $ 2 billion has already been spent on attack-class submarines.

Former Secretary of State Bob Carr took to social media to call for an inquiry into the decision-making process.

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“How we got the submarine contract fatally wrong and lost billions deserves a full investigation,” Carr said.

“In any other portfolio, it would result in a royal commission.

“Which experts stopped? Where did they get their advice? Can we trust their assessment of nuclear power?”

South Australian Independent Senator Rex Patrick said that although the cost of leaving the project was better than the government continuing with the program, there should be independent oversight of the billions of dollars spent on a program that would not come in. walk.

“We have a bunch of very elderly people in Canberra who have guided us through a program that failed and that cannot be left without any kind of investigation.”

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese also called for a joint mechanism between senior members of government and the opposition to provide two-party oversight of the partnership.

“We need to know the full cost of abandoning the existing program, but we also need to know what the cost of the proposed program will be,” Albanese said.

Australia will spend more on defense

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia should spend more on defense as a requirement of the new partnership.

Vice Admiral Paul Maddison, director of the UNSW Defense Research Institute, argued that the money already spent on the French contract was not necessarily a waste.

“I think if you sat down with the top sea leaders here in Australia, if you sat down with companies that have invested in infrastructure and in the supply chain and that have been focused on a future submarine capability in Australia, that there are measurable benefits that have been… introduced over the last few years as people have become wiser, ”said Vice Admiral Maddison.

“Let’s face it, a modern submarine is the most complex and sophisticated weapons platform on the planet, and it takes a lot of capital to develop and maintain the perishable and unique tests that go into submarine construction, operation and maintenance.

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