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Abbott government refuses to rule out buying Japanese submarines for Australian fleet



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SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE SENATOR FOR VICTORIA

DAVID FEENEY MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE MEMBER FOR BATMAN

MEDIA RELEASE

Abbott government refuses to rule out buying Japanese submarines for Australian fleet

Defence Minister David Johnston has today refused to rule out buying Japanese submarines for Australia’s Future Submarine fleet.

Given three opportunities in the Senate to rule out this possibility, Senator Johnston refused.

It follows Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telling The Australian newspaper that recent discussions with the Japanese Government included: “the prospect of purchasing even an entire submarine.”[1]

“This confirms yet another Abbott Government broken promise and another Abbott Government pre-election lie,” Shadow Defence Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said.

Before the election, at a press conference at submarine builder ASC in Adelaide, Senator Johnston said:

“The Coalition today is committed to building 12 new submarines here in Adelaide, we will get that task done, and it is a really important task, not just for the Navy but for the nation. We will deliver those submarines from right here at ASC in South

[1] Hand across the seas, The Australian, p13, 17 June 2014.

Australia.”

[SENATOR DAVID JOHNSTON - PRESS CONFERENCE - ADELAIDE - 8 MAY 2013]

“The Minister’s refusal to rule out buying Japanese submarines for Australia’s Future Submarine fleet is a hammer blow for our domestic submarine building capability,” Senator Conroy said.

“This confirms that the Abbott Government has no commitment whatsoever to building Australia’s Future Submarine fleet in our country.

“Australia deserves a Minister who is prepared to stand up for our strategically vital ship building industry and its thousands of highly skilled workers.

“The Government is clearly preparing to kill off Australia’s submarine building capability, just as it has killed off Toyota, Holden, Ford, and Australia’s car part industry.

“It follows the Coalition’s short-sighted and job-destroying decision to exclude Australian companies from building two new Royal Australian Navy supply ships, which will instead be built in Spain or South Korea.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence David Feeney said: “The greatest testimony to the failure of the Abbott Government’s sustainment of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry is its lack of commitment to the SEA 1000 project to be built on Australian soil.”

“The Budget’s oversight also reveals that the Coalition has no plans to bridge the ‘valley of death’.

“The Abbott Government’s lack of plans for supporting the domestic shipbuilding industry threatens thousands of jobs and a vital national capability.”

THURSDAY, 19 JUNE 2014