Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines carries a “very high risk” of failure and faces enormous challenges in recruiting and training enough skilled workers.
Follow Labour’s most revered living leader, Paul. eat launching a scathing attack on the historic military agreement, which he described as Australia’s worst international decision since conscription policy during the First World War.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced details of Australia’s submarine pact with the US and UK, part of the AUKUS security alliance, on Tuesday.
As part of the deal, Australia will command a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines over the next three decades.
Turnbull said Australia would need to train thousands of skilled workers, who then faced the challenge of finding work in a relevant field after the project ended.
“The human resource challenges of this are really considerable, because we don’t have a nuclear industry in Australia,” he told ABC RN.
The former Liberal leader said the deal was at “very high risk” of not going through because Britain’s submarines had not yet been designed.
Turnbull also questioned whether Britain was going to be “financially strong enough” to be Australia’s partner in delivering the ships, with the country’s economy forecast to be the worst-performing large advanced economy this year.
He said that unlike the UK, France, with which Australia tore up a $90bn submarine deal for AUKUS, was already in the Indo-Pacific and had millions of citizens located there.
Turnbull said that all of these issues should have been discussed publicly.
“We have been caught up in this uproar where anyone who raises any concern about it is accused of lacking or implying patriotism,” he said.
Mister eat he condemned the $368 billion price tag and questioned Australia’s sovereignty within the deal.
Defense Minister and Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles said Mr. eat he remained a revered figure within the Labor Party.
He told ABC 7.30 that no matter what the former Prime Minister said about him, Mr Albanese or Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the government would not say a bad word about Mr. eat.
“The Hawke-eat it was the great reformist, long-term, peacetime government of our history,” Marles said.
He said the government had worked hard to stabilize Australia’s diplomatic relations with China.
“We want to have a productive relationship with China, but we note that we are seeing the largest conventional military buildup in the world today since the end of World War II,” Marles said.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Keating’s comments showed there was division within the Labor Party over AUKUS.
“I think it is incumbent on Richard Marles and others…to rebuke Mr. eat”, he told reporters in Melbourne.
“(The government) should follow the advice of the military and intelligence chiefs instead of Paul eat.”