Questions raised as Albanese heralds 'new dawn' in Australian defence: 'Disgraceful'
A former submariner and Australian senator has blasted the secrecy around the largest defence acquisition in the nation's history.
A former submariner and Australian senator has warned we need to "look past the excitement" of tomorrow's announcement around the largest defence acquisition in the nation's history.
The secret $100 billion deal has been in the works since late 2019, with a reported leak suggesting there will be up to five US-designed nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, and at least an additional two UK-designed vessels in the early 2040s.
Rex Patrick, former South Australian senator and submariner in the Royal Australian Navy, has questioned why everything around the AUKUS program has to be revealed through "rumours and leaks".
"That is not the way democracies deal with big decisions," he said on ABC RN this morning.
"I think it’s hugely problematic — something close to the point of disgraceful — that you have a government that embarks on something you yourself said is a significant investment where theres been almost no discussion."
He detailed to the ABC what he thinks should have already been mentioned.
"We’ve not heard anything about things like nuclear stewardship, who will be the regulator of the waste? How will they deal with waste? Where will these things be based? You got to ask, why are all of these things being held secret?".
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He also thought it was risky to acquire two different models of nuclear-powered subs, predicting the "Brits will end up being late" with the UK vessels, given that they are "already late with their (own submarines)".
"Why would you go with five other class of submarine and then switch to a different type, it just doesn’t make sense," he said on radio.
What do we know so far?
The reason behind rotating submarines from the US and UK is said to be because the program is a "trilateral" effort, with Australian naval personnel also studying at US nuclear facilities and colleges to increase their skills when it comes to building the submarines.
Have arrived in the United States with @CN_Australia ahead of AUKUS discussions with @rishisunak and @joebiden. pic.twitter.com/1TU5lbqq4s
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) March 12, 2023
However Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to unveil the full details of the plan alongside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden in San Diego on Tuesday.
"It's a new dawn in San Diego and a new dawn tomorrow for Australia's defence policy tomorrow," Prime Minister Albanese said on Monday.
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