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Thursday, 17 September 2015
Page: 7129


Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (12:26): I seek leave to amend motion No. 870 by removing clause (b)(i): 'commit to the procurement of 12 submarines'.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Is leave granted for Senator Whish-Wilson to move that amendment?

Senator Conroy: Could you repeat the amendment?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Yes, Senator Whish-Wilson, if you could—and I should have it in writing, too. I assume it has not been circulated?

Senator WHISH-WILSON: We have spoken to the respective officers, but I do apologise, Deputy President; we—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I do not have it. So could you repeat that amendment, Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I seek leave to amend motion No. 870 by removing a clause: '(b)(i) commit to the procurement of 12 submarines'—taking it out.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Is leave granted for Senator Whish-Wilson to move that amendment? Leave is not opposed, Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I move:

Omit subparagraph (b)(i).

I seek leave to make a short statement.

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

Senator WHISH-WILSON: We have worked with senators. I contacted Senator Conroy and Senator Xenophon, who were moving this motion, to see if we could have that clause removed. The Greens do have a very clear policy around the defence of this nation and its self-defence, but, as was highlighted by the government, we are not committing to the procurement of 12 submarines without more information. We have grave concerns about an escalation of submarine numbers from the six we currently have to 12 and about what their roles would be. We also would like to highlight that $70 billion could be effectively spent in other areas of defence, and we do not have the information we need to support 12 submarines. However, we have also made it very clear that we do support local procurement and we have said this publicly before. We have also told the various unions and workers groups we would support any submarines being made in South Australia and in Australia rather than being made overseas, but we will not be committing to 12 submarines at this point.