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Thursday, 17 September 2015
Page: 7128


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (12:24): Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave has been granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: The competitive evaluation process for the future submarines is nearing completion. It would create considerable uncertainty and delay the process if the government were to change the scope of the CEP. Submarine expert and head of TKMS Australia, Dr John White, said at a Senate Economics References Committee hearing in July:

… a prudent approach to such a major acquisition is to canvass the market and see what is available, including from overseas.

That said, all three potential international design partners will be providing options for a build in Australia, and the defence white paper due in the coming weeks will detail the number of submarines required by the Navy. Senator Xenophon is aware of these facts. The government will not play politics when it comes to providing our Defence personnel with the equipment they need to protect Australia and its interests.