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The Albanese Submarine deal: A Transparency Free Zone

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Today’s multi billion-dollar submarine announcement represents a serious failure of public policy with the Australian public and the national parliament shut out of the decision making process.

The original AUKUS decision in 2021 was made in secret by Scott Morrison and a small number of ministers and has never been properly scrutinised or debated by MPs or Senators.

“This whole process has been a transparency free zone,” said Dr Alison Broinowski AM, former diplomat and President of Australians for War Powers Reform.

“AUKUS was secretive from the word go and was presented by Morrison as a fait accompli and the Albanese government has proceeded along a similar unacceptable path.”

“Along with the mind boggling price tag for the submarines there have been serious questions raised about exactly how much control Australia will have over the new AUKUS arrangements. These concerns about sovereignty have been raised by two former prime ministers, large sections of the union movement, and multiple defence and security experts.”

Why was today’s announcement made in the US and not here in Australia?  This raises suspicions once again that Australia will be taking a subservient role to the United States.

“Despite the best efforts of some media outlets and many politicians it is clear that the military threats we face have been wildly exaggerated, seemingly to justify a massive defence build up.” This week the US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the House Intelligence committee that “It’s not our assessment that China wants to go to war”.

Today we discovered the real cost of the AUKUS sub program: $368 billion. “How can such enormous allocations be given the green light without any reference to Parliament? Will other government programs suffer cuts to pay for submarines that won’t even arrive for 20 years?” asked Dr Broinowski.

“Under AUKUS we’re told that US military forces will have significantly more access to Australia, especially in the NT, where more than a billion dollars is being spent on new facilities to cater for long-range American bombers”

“Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has said the US won’t be required to confirm or deny if these bombers are armed with nuclear weapons.

“The government does not have a social licence for these massive changes because they have chosen secrecy and centralised decision making over proper debate and consultation.”

Media Release 14 March 2023

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