By Darrell Egan
In a statement from Australian Shadow Defence Minster Brendan O’Connor’s office authorised from Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong, Australian Labor appears to be accepting the nuclear powered submarine deal, with some house keeping checks as follows:
“While there is much that we welcome, it’s also clear that today’s announcement is the single biggest admission of failure on the part of the Morrison-Joyce Government over its $90 billion Future Submarines program.”
The Morrison-Joyce Government must also urgently explain:
- The cost of this new plan.
- The number of submarines to be built.
- The impact of today’s announcement on local jobs and businesses.
- The timeline for construction and delivery of the nuclear-powered submarine capability.
- The impact on the Life of Type Extension (LOTE) of the Collins Class submarines.
- How local skills and know how will be delivered through the biggest acquisition in Australia’s history.
With $4 Billion spent on his deal there will be sure to be further costs and a lot of political effort to be put into this project, how much money and political will be left for an Albanese government to follow through of Clean Energy jobs in the future, in now seemingly accepting this nuclear submarine deal with some conditions?
This issue will test principles or in a word of similar part meaning “Mana” in Maori in both sides of the Labor Pacific with Anthony Albanese’s counterpart Jacinda Ardern clearly stating New Zealand will not allow these nuclear submarines near in New Zealand territorial waters.
If a Labor government gets in accepting these nuclear submarines it will be interesting to see how this pans out with their Labor counterparts across the Pacific.
Albanese, along with Opposition Foreign Minister Penny Wong, in this statement seek to enhance greater ties with the AUKUS pact Scott Morrison has signed Australia on to.
The AUKUS pact seeks to have a more militarily aggressive stance in building up forces in the South China Sea and the elephant in the room question is that will an Australian Labor government in accepting these nuclear submarines, have them deployed to the South China Sea in the decades these are deployed, putting Australia on a war footing?
In Foreign Policy terms in regards to AUKUS there is a stance on this issue regarding Australia’s Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong and New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta with the New Zealand Foreign Minister not wanting to expand Five Eyes remit let alone going along with AUSUS pact’s hawkish approach.
With New Zealand standing by traditional Labor values in relation to the nuclear issue and a strong stance on Nuclear Proliferation, even if the nuclear product for these submarines is produced off shore, we will see who prevails in this test of Labor Party Mana.
This article was originally published on Dazza Egan Australia & China Watch Journo.
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