Doorstop, Canberra Airport – 8 February, 2015

QUESTION:

Minister has the Prime Minister announced an open tender to decide the future of our submarines?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Can I say a couple of things about our submarines. Since I was appointed I’ve obviously been looking at all these issues. The first visit I made to any ship building yards in Australia was to the Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide and I must say I was very impressed by the workers there and by what I was shown both in terms of the air warfare destroyer and in terms of the work on the refurbishment of the Collins Class Submarine.

It’s clear that as a result of that visit all the other deliberations that I’ve been undertaking including all the consultations with my colleagues in South Australia that there will be a competitive evaluation process as part of how we determine what the appropriate submarines for the future are. I’ll have more to say about that when I’ve worked through this, I’ve always said that I would approach this in a cautious and conservative way, that we would go through whatever evaluation was required in this respect that we would continue the consultations and that’s where we are at the moment.

QUESTION:

Mr Andrews do you think that some of the concerns over some of the leadership style of Mr Abbott given the um unwillingness to listen over the tender decisions?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Look um as I’ve said and I’ve said this directly to my colleagues in South Australia, I took a couple of them along to the ASC, Senator Fawcett, David Fawcett and Matt Williams, the Member for Hindmarsh, they both came along with me for at least part of that visit to the ASC, and I’ve had consultations with other of my colleagues from South Australia. This is an ongoing process we’re not going to be rushed about it, I’m going to be cautious and careful about I but there will be a competitive evaluation process.

QUESTION:

Did the Prime Minister consult with you before he made this announcement about the open tender?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

I’ve been in consultation with the Prime Minister on a very regular basis about not only this but a whole range of Defence matters.

QUESTION:

But do you think that decision will appease some South Australians the fact that there is a competitive open tender?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Look, South Australian colleagues are obviously concerned for the interests of the people that they represent in South Australia, and I’m sure that a competitive evaluation process is something which they will welcome. But ultimately that’s a decision for them, but I think we’ve been very genuine about this. As I said I visited South Australia, it was one of the first visits I’ve made as Minister for Defence, I will continue these consultations with them and I think as we continue to act as an adult government which we are endeavouring to do then we will get the best outcome for everybody in Australia so far as our security is concerned which is almost always the first priority of the Defence Minister, but also for people in Australia generally.