Door Stop Interview at the RUSI Submarine Conference – 25 March, 2015
An Australian build – is that something the Government would consider?
We have made a decision about this. What Mr Shorten has said this morning is promising a complete fantasy. We have had words for years and years form Labor and no action. We are going to get on with the job. We are going to get the new generation of submarines. We have said that there will be a significant Australian involvement in that. That’s our position and we are getting on with the job.
You say it’s a fantasy. Was it a fantasy that you went to the last election with this policy?
Our position is quite clear. I’ve set out the process and I repeated it again this morning. We are in that process now and we are getting on with the job because we can not afford to have a capability gap so far as our defence needs in the future are concerns. That’s the advice that I have clearly. As I have said, what Mr Shorten is promising is more words from Labor – promising a mirage that will never eventuate.
So you don’t support him at all?
It’s clear what we are doing. We’ve got a competitive evaluation process. The ASC itself has said that they can not build a submarine from ground up in Australia so it will have to involve an international partner. We are looking at the three countries that have a proven track record in recent years in building submarines, namely Japan, France and Germany. Indeed next month I will be going to visit shipyards in France and Germany as part of my own look at this process.