Monday, 17 September 2018
Future Submarine Project; Order for the Production of Documents
Senator Patrick is interjecting there saying that it's not a sensitive number, but he has made a number of requests of a similar format—seeking information that traditionally has been the domain of the executive to work on behalf of the Commonwealth.
There are other comments that have been made here about the Collins class and its capability and about nuclear submarines. Again, Collins class has actually been a good capability, and I'm on the record as saying that I think then Minister Beazley was poorly treated by history because the Collins class has appropriate support to make sure that through life it has come back to having four or five out of six submarines available. I was in Hawaii recently where we saw very good capability being delivered by HMAS Rankin. There are comments that Senator Hanson made about the South China Sea. She said that we need a submarine that can do all these things and yet has said we should buy one off the shelf from Europe. Everyone knows—the Germans have said, the Swedes have said, the Spanish when they're in competition have said and the French have said—that none of their existing designs would meet the purpose. All of those countries have said that they had to redesign their production boats in order to meet the objectives that the Australians had. So the arguments that have been presented here (a) show that it's a political attack and (b) demonstrate very clearly why we should never allow the executive to cede its role to the parliament when it comes to these kinds of information.