Senate debates

Monday, 17 September 2018

Documents

Future Submarine Project; Order for the Production of Documents

11:05 am

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

This is a classic example, to use a submariner's term, of silent running. 'Silent running' is used to describe submarines in their stealth mode of operation; an operation deliberately designed to evade discovery and remove or eliminate superfluous noise. That is what this is. This doesn't just apply to a $200 billion submarine program; this applies to military spending in this country full stop. Silent running is a stealth mode of operation designed to evade discovery.

Two hundred billion dollars—that's 10 Gonskis. That's six National Disability Insurance Schemes. That's enough money to fund an infrastructure revolution around this country and fill the infrastructure gap that has been identified by this Senate. That's enough to fix homelessness in Australia. That's enough to do so many things we need for our nation, and we can't get simple answers to simple information requests. This is a critically important issue. The Greens will be supporting this motion today because it's so powerfully symbolic of what is wrong with the scrutiny around the military apparatus in this country.

If you want to read a good essay about this, I recommend you read James Brown's 'Firing line', which was published in 2016 in the Quarterly Essay, which I was lucky enough to provide a response to. It is about how we need whole new processes in this place to scrutinise not just military spending in parliament but the military industrial complex and a number of decision-making processes around how the executive makes decisions in sending ADF personnel to foreign deployments, especially to active deployment. We will be supporting this motion today. I'd like to have talked a lot more about exactly what the Greens think about the Future Submarine program but I don't have time.

Question agreed to.

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