Following the Government’s announcement earlier about the Future Submarine Programme, the Shadow Minister has ‘upped periscope’ and called on the government to undertake “a competitive tender process” for the future submarine programme.

In an embarrassing situation for Senator Conroy, Defence has advised Government that the Future Submarine Programme could be delayed by at least five years if it were to go through a formal tender for the design and build.

After six years of Labor inaction on Submarines, surely Senator Conroy does not want to risk Australia’s safety and security by delaying this programme further?

So Senator Conroy would now add five years of delay to Labor’s six years of procrastination.

Senator Conroy should explain how he would plug the capability gap created by his plan for further delay.

One would have thought after Senator Conroy’s last experience with a tender process that he would have kept his head down on this point.  Not so.

Who could forget the infamous Australia Network Tender debacle?

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into Senator Conroy’s handling of the Australia Network Tender that brought into question the Government’s competence, and found:

  • There was a conflict of interest in the Government’s decision making.
  • Approval processes for the tender were unclear.
  • Ministers and Cabinet appeared unclear about approval processes for the tender.
  • Changes to the tender criteria were unusual.
  • Sensitive information was too widely distributed.

I encourage Senator Conroy to stop making a fool of himself and come on board to support the significant investment in our national security and the creation of at least 500 new high-skill jobs in Australia.