Australian news, and some related international items

This week – AUKUS, nuclear submarines and the new dangers of weapons proliferation and war.

Paul Keating has explained the folly of antagonising China, constantly provoking further militarisation. Regional countries are concerned at the heightened militarisation, and the passage of nuclear submarines through their waters. The use of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuel brings risks of weapons proliferation. Now the previously nuclear-free zone looks like soon to be bristling with nuclear weapons .

And the big corporations that rule USA policy, UK policy, and now Australian policy, will be rejoicing. Watch as UK’s BAE Systems and USA’s General Dynamics fight it out for the loot from Australian tax-payers.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AUKUS, nuclear submarines, Highly Enriched Uranium and weapons proliferation

The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

Australia’s acquisition of SSNs under AUKUS could well open a Pandora’s box of proliferation with non-nuclear-weapon states such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea among others also going in for nuclear-powered submarines and keeping nuclear fuel (both low- and highly-enriched uranium) outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. This would weaken the IAEA safeguards (verification) system already facing challenges from new technologies and open up possibilities of diversion of nuclear material for nuclear weapons.

Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will risk opening a Pandora’s box of proliferation, By Tariq Rauf, 22, 2021 The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

After first suffering a seeming “brain snap” to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) some years back, at long last Australia has been promised a fleet of eight SSNs by the Biden administration under the newly minted and awkwardly named AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) alliance against China.

Fresh from an ignominious debacle in Afghanistan that led to that bedevilled country once again falling under the repression of the murderous Taliban, the Biden administration has capped off its recent Afghan escapade by driving a stake through the global nuclear non-proliferation regime through its ill-advised decision to supply SSNs and related technology to Australia.

The problem

Nuclear-powered submarines of the United States (and the United Kingdom) reportedly are fuelled with highly-enriched uranium (HEU) of 93 per cent to 97 per cent enrichment level that can last for up to 33 years — this is the same enrichment level as for use in nuclear weapons. In contrast, French nuclear-powered submarines run on low-enriched uranium 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent enrichment level and need to be refuelled on average after about 10 years but do not need weapon-grade enriched uranium.

Nuclear ship propulsion technology and reactor design for military vessels as well as the isotopic composition and quantity of their nuclear fuel remains highly classified. When Canada was considering acquiring a fleet of SSNs in 1987, the two potential suppliers were France (Rubis/Améthyste-class) and the United Kingdom (Trafalgar-class).

In the case of the United Kingdom, Canada was informed that US Congressional approval would be required for the UK to construct and supply SSNs (with US design reactors and nuclear fuel) to Canada. The nuclear ship propulsion reactor design and nuclear fuel information would be subject to a high level of classification. With this requirement for secrecy, Canada would not have been able to provide detailed information to the IAEA under its Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/164) thereby creating a loophole or gap in IAEA safeguards coverage in Canada. A certain (likely unspecified) large quantity of HEU for naval nuclear fuel would be taken out of safeguards for use in the SSNs and the spent fuel coming out the boats after 30 years or more also would be subject to secrecy. Thus the IAEA would not be able to measure the quantity or isotopic composition or to verify the HEU in naval use.

The IAEA Additional Protocol, to safeguards agreements, provides for the “broader conclusion” regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities. As such, to be clear and precise, were Australia to withhold from the IAEA information on and access to its naval nuclear fuel, then the IAEA would be unable to provide a broader conclusion for Australia under its additional protocol INFCIRC/217/Add.1.

Australia and the two other AUKUS states have communicated to the IAEA director general their intention for the Royal Australian Navy to acquire a fleet of SSNs and this means that at some future time Australia would be invoking paragraph 14 of its NPT safeguards agreement to exclude significant quantities of highly-enriched uranium for naval nuclear fuel. Thus, the claim by AUKUS states “that a critical objective of this cooperation will be to maintain “the strength of both the nuclear non-proliferation regime and Australia’s exemplary non-proliferation credentials” and that they will be “engaging with the IAEA throughout the coming months” is at best an oxymoron.

It should be matter of serious concern for the IAEA board of governors that the “IAEA will engage with them [AUKUS] on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the agency” — as this does not make much sense in that the paragraph 14 provisions on keeping HEU naval nuclear fuel out of safeguards apply only to Australia and not to the UK and the US (the latter two being nuclear-weapon states).

The only responsible course for the IAEA board of governors should be to warn Australia regarding the deleterious effects on safeguards should it implement paragraph 14 provisions and keep large quantities of HEU for its fleet of SSNs outside of IAEA safeguards. The IAEA board would be well advised to reject any request placed before it from Australia or from any other NPT non-nuclear-weapon state to implement paragraph 14 provisions. Rather, the board should take the responsible decision to revoke application of paragraph 14 of INFCIRC/153 (Corr.) and in all related safeguards agreements, much like the board rescinded the original provisions of the Small Quantities Protocol in 2005.

Australia’s acquisition of SSNs under AUKUS could well open a Pandora’s box of proliferation with non-nuclear-weapon states such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea among others also going in for nuclear-powered submarines and keeping nuclear fuel (both low- and highly-enriched uranium) outside the scope of IAEA safeguards. This would weaken the IAEA safeguards (verification) system already facing challenges from new technologies and open up possibilities of diversion of nuclear material for nuclear weapons. The AUKUS decision to equip Australia with SSNs not only is a fool’s errand but also could pose a grave threat to regional and international security.

This article was first published by the Toda Peace Institute and is reproduced with permission. Tariq Rauf was formerly head of verification and security policy coordination, office reporting to the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and previously advised Canada’s parliamentary committees on national defence and foreign affairs.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA has conned Australia into paying for its super-costly nuclear submarine project

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

Has PM put Australia on the hook to finance struggling UK, US submarine projects? Michael West Media, By Marcus Reubenstein| September 23, 2021,

“Almost comical”. Experts lambast Scott Morrison’s “crazy” AUKUS deal to buy nuclear submarine tech from parlous UK and US programs. Marcus Reubenstein finds a real prospect Australia will be used to “underwrite” the foundering foreign submarine industry.

Twenty-five years of ongoing maintenance delays for nuclear submarines, chronic shortage of both parts and skilled workers, under capacity at shipyards, and attack class submarines missing from deployments for up to nine months. These sound like potential problems for Australia’s future nuclear submarine fleet but they are actual problems right now confronting the US Navy and its fleet of 70 submarines.

The US is at the cutting edge of nuclear propulsion. It has the largest and most sophisticated submarine fleet in the world, its first nuclear submarine was commissioned 67 years ago, and the US has literally decommissioned twice as many nuclear subs as Australia is planning to buy. 

If the US cannot manage to keep its fleet in the water, how can the Morrison government commit up to $100 billion of taxpayer money to secure nuclear submarines and guarantee they will be always operational and ready for deployment?

Professor Hugh White, ANU Professor of Strategic Studies, former Deputy Secretary of Defence and an eminent figure in strategic policy, wrote in The Saturday Paper, “The old plan was to build a conventionally powered version of a nuclear-powered French submarine. It was crazy.”

“The new plan—to buy a nuclear-powered submarine instead—is worse”. 

Says White, “There is a reason why only six countries, all of them nuclear-armed, operate nuclear powered subs.”

The sales pitch is underway 

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

The ripples of the announcement, however, reached British shores in double-quick time. Just two days after the AUKUS alliance UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallis announced a $320 million (£170m) grant to be shared between BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to develop technology for Britain’s next generation submarines. 

According to Department of Finance figures, In the past twelve months BAE Systems has collected $1.88 billion from Australian taxpayers. The Astute class submarine, touted as one of the two options Australia is considering, is manufactured by BAE Systems. 

US Naval analyst, and Forbes Defense columnist, Craig Hooper predicts AUKUS could give the US Navy a big shot in the arm as well. He says a deal with Australia could effectively underwrite major improvements to the US Navy’s outdated submarine maintenance facilities by supporting “America’s decade-long, $US25 billion ($34.6 billion) effort to refit the U.S. Navy’s four aging public shipyards. With yard repair costs already high, America would go to great lengths to welcome any additional bidders for shipyard capability improvements.”

US subs in dry dock In a report published six months ago, the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found: “The Navy’s four shipyards have experienced significant delays in completing maintenance on its submarines (all of which are nuclear-powered).” ………. Should Australia go down the nuclear sub path what choice will it have other than to outsource the fleet’s maintenance?   …..

Her Majesty’s sub optimal fleet

Britain, touted as the alternative nuclear submarine supplier to Australia, has problems of its own. The Royal Navy operates ten submarines, only four of them were designed and commissioned this century. 

Like their American nuclear counterparts there are systemic problems keeping these subs in service……

That report also indicated significant delays to the BAE Systems built Astute hunter-killer submarines, the same class of nuclear submarine being touted for Australian as part of the AUKUS deal……….

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former subs boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

Former subs boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

A former head of ASC has blasted Australia’s “insane deal” with the US and the UK to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide, deriding a “hocus pocus” announcement he says raises major issues about nuclear and defence capability. Tom Richardson @tomrichardson 

 Hans Ohff, who was managing director and CEO of the then-Australian Submarine Corporation from 1993 to 2002, says he does not believe the mooted submarine deal will materialise as planned for Australia, saying: “I believe it will be stymied because the US military establishment will not underwrite the tacit agreement made between the US President, the British and Australian PMs.”

Ohff insists “there will be no transfer of technical know-how to Australia”, arguing “the submarine propulsion train – not just the reactor – will be a black box accessible only to the US”.

In an emailed statement sent to InDaily’s Your Views, Ohff, who is also a research fellow at Adelaide University, said it was incumbent on the federal government “to inform the Australian people on the strategic, environmental, commercial, and political ramifications and consequences before deciding on the acquisition of nuclear-powered attack submarines”.

“We need to fully appreciate the issues and complexities associated with the design, assembly, operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines powered with highly enriched… weapons-grade uranium,” he said.

“We need to understand that the acquisition of HEU [Highly Enriched Uranium]-235 fissile material would challenge the spirit if not the letter of the Treaty of Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”

Speaking to InDaily, he went further, saying the plan would have “unbelievable consequences, both here and in Europe” as well as “massive consequences for Outer Harbor”.It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious… Prime Minister Morrison and his Defence Minister have blown up the bridge behind them

“There are big issues with putting highly enriched uranium reactors anywhere in Australia, let alone Outer Harbor,” he said.

In further correspondence, he said “a nuclear-safe site has to be identified [and] a concerned population will have to agree to the warehousing, installation, launching and pre-commissioning of submarines that include HEU-235 reactors”.

Ohff described the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security pact as effectively “spur of the moment between Biden, Johnson and Morrison”, saying: “In the end we won’t get the subs the Government wants to procure – it’s all hocus pocus.”

In the end, the US military is unlikely to agree to the transfer of technology,” he said.

“It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious.”

Ohff said he had received concerned reactions from industry contacts “all over the place”.

“In Europe, everyone over there is shaking their head,” he said.

Ohff said he “agreed entirely” with strong criticism of the new subs plan by independent senator and former submariner Rex Patrick, who – like him – has also been an outspoken critic of the now-scuppered deal with Naval to provide a fleet of Shortfin Barracuda Attack Class vessels.

Ohff wrote for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in 2017 that the French model “unites design and building risks, high program costs and an extended delivery schedule [but] promises few or no capability gains.

He told InDaily today the design was “not suitable for anything” but “that’s not the issue”.

“The issue is how to get out of that contract properly and into a new one – who wants to deal with Australia now for next generation submarines?” he said.

“It appears that Prime Minister Morrison and his Defence Minister have blown up the bridge behind them before securing an alternative solution to the ill-conceived, impractical and expensive French Attack submarine design,” Ohff said.

He said if the nuclear-powered subs were built at all, “it won’t be till the 2040s, and the world will have changed dramatically by then”.

“By 2040 the Virginia class will be an outdated design, no longer built for the US Navy [and] unlikely to be relevant for warfare in the second half of the 21st century,” he said.

“Carrier Battle Groups will no longer be effective against autonomous weaponry; and the China question will be resolved one way or another.

“[Australia] requires submarines now.

“Nuclear boats in 20 to 30 years will not resolve this issue [and] leasing nuclear submarines from [Britain or the US] is unrealistic.”

Ohff said the Life-of-Type Extension of the Collins Class fleet would be “more complex, more time-consuming and more expensive” than the Government expects, “leaving the Navy without submarines to train submariners, let alone fight a war”,

“If the government doesn’t expedite the procurement of modern SSKs ‎[diesel-electric submarines] for operational availability by the 2030s, the Royal Australian Navy will no longer be a submarine navy,” he said.

He said a next-generation Collins Class would have been the “obvious choice”, criticising diplomatic missteps to date, including “Tony Abbott’s handshake-agreement with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe being overturned by [Malcolm] Turnbull in favour of the French”.

He said the German tendered price had been “a fraction of the French proposal [but] they were not selected on unexplained or spurious grounds”.

He said Australians “need to be satisfied that we have capacity to develop and deploy the management systems and procedures necessary to safely operate and maintain these vessel at sea and in port

“Thus, if the government doesn’t immediately commit to six conventional-powered AIP [Air-independent propulsion] subs that can be in service by mid-2030 the RAN will have no submarine squadron, save for a few ageing Collins boats.”

He said basing “a squadron of US Navy nukes in Australian waters would be politically untenable”, arguing: “Deploying Astute or Virginia-type submarines in the littoral waters of the [South China Sea] would be suicidal.‎” 

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former Labor PM Paul Keating castigates Labor for supporting the Liberals’ AUKUS and submarine deal.

Keating turns fury on Labor and government over AUKUS deal By Deborah Snow, September 22, 2021 Former prime minister Paul Keating has escalated his attack on the new AUKUS security partnership unveiled by the Morrison government, unleashing fury on his own side for supporting the deal and characterising it as the “surrender” of Australia’s control of its military.

In a no-holds-barred statement, the former Labor leader said Prime Minister Scott Morrison has led Australia away from the Asian century and back towards a “jaded and faded Anglosphere”, with the current ALP leadership “complicit in [a] historic backslide”.

Mr Keating takes particular aim at Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Senator Penny Wong, saying that in her five years in the role she has “by her muted complicity with the government’s foreign policy and posture… neutered Labor’s traditional stance as to Australia’s right to strategic autonomy”.

“Instead Wong went along with the stance of [former coalition foreign minister] Julie Bishop and [current foreign minister] Marise Payne … and did it with licence provided by Bill Shorten as leader, and now, Anthony Albanese”.

Mr Keating’s furious broadside comes amid worsening diplomatic fallout from the AUKUS announcement, which saw Australia dump its $90 billion contract to acquire conventionally powered submarines from France in favour of a new, trilateral “security partnership” with the UK and the US which would provide the Royal Australian Navy with eight nuclear-powered submarines, at an as-yet-unknown cost.

Mr Morrison hailed the pact, unveiled to a surprised world on September 16, as a means of fostering deeper integration of Australian, US and UK security interests in the Indo-Pacific, along with enhanced access to a range of cutting-edge defence technologies and munitions…….

Mr Keating, who served as a member of the international advisory board of the China Development Bank, (alongside, at one stage, the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger), has long championed Australia forging its own destiny in Asia.

He accused Mr Morrison of “shopping” Australia’s sovereignty by “locking the country and its military forces into the force structure of the United States” through the planned nuclear submarine acquisition.

“It takes a monster level of incompetence to forfeit military control of one’s own state”, he said, “but this is what Scott Morrison and his government have managed to do”

Mr Keating’s intervention will be deeply discomfiting to Labor, which initially hailed the AUKUS announcement an affirmation of “what Labor has been calling for: deeper partnerships with allied and aligned nations to build a region which is stable, prosperous and respectful of sovereignty”. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Labor would insist on transparency around costs, an assurance that the deal would not lead to a domestic civil nuclear industry and a boost in local jobs.

However, as the diplomatic fallout builds, Senator Wong has become more critical of Mr Morrison’s handling of the deal, saying it has been done with “insufficient regard to… how this positions Australia with other partners.” 

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Morrison and cronies have really botched this nuclear submarine deal

With an election deadline approaching, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton perhaps have judged that a campaign fought on national security concerns will be much more successful in motivating a fearful public to vote to the right on the spectrum.

‘Sub-standard’: Submarine deal botched by Morrison and his cronies, Independent Australia, By George Grundy | 23 September 2021  ”………………. It’s unclear just how much money has been wasted on the now-abandoned French project, but it’s in the billions. Extraordinarily, Morrison didn’t even have the good grace to inform France of the change in plans until just prior to fronting the media. His claim that he “tried” to speak to the French President the night before the announcement is just another example of how stupid he must think the Australian public are.

Imagine the damage this does to Australia’s reputation abroad. Just imagine trying to negotiate in good faith any kind of bilateral or multinational agreement with Morrison still in charge. Our word is our bond and Scott Morrison has guaranteed that, in the near future at least, Australia’s word is worthless and not to be trusted.

Actually, we won’t have to wait: Australia is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU, of which France is a key member. The threat of tougher tariffs for countries that, like Australia, don’t meet their Paris Climate Agreement targets is likely to be rigidly enforced and France is already trying to delay negotiations in order to punish Australia.

The Glasgow Climate Conference, in just six weeks, is now sure to be a doozy.

Then there is, as with every Morrison announcement, the sheer emptiness in the details. There is no contract, no design, no agreed budget. It’s not clear where the submarines will be built, what level of Australian involvement there will be or how the nuclear fuel will be handled………

If Australia becomes the first nation to rely solely on the supply of enriched uranium from partners abroad, it means a significant element in national defence strategy is entirely dependent on another sovereign country.

After all that spending, Australia’s new military posture will be more assertive yet more reliant on allies abroad. And if we even consider the second option, homemade fuel, it merely confirms very reasonable suspicions that this inevitably paves the way for a domestic nuclear program.

This is something that has long been the dream of those on the far-Right, who will find any way to avoid stopping digging up coal and see the fictitious “zero emissions” allure of nuclear power as a salve to those who give a damn about the environment………….

It should also be noted that China hasn’t involved itself in a single war since 1945. Instead, we have thrown in our lot with the belligerence of the UK and America, which has invaded fifteen countries in the last 40 years.

The deal also greatly enhances the chances of America’s “rotation” troop bases in Australia becoming permanent and larger, something Defence Minister Peter Dutton has already discussed. American fighter jets on Australian soil would, correctly, be viewed as a dramatic escalation by China and other Asia-Pacific nations……..

It is possible to hold the belief that China is a vital trading partner whilst at the same time harbouring concerns about Chinese military and territorial expansion, but at best these submarines will be arriving in 20 years. Destabilising a region while hoping things hold together for two decades until the cavalry arrives is not generally noted as a sound military strategy.

The insanity of this decision is best exposed when you consider the climate change disasters that are already ravaging the world with terrifying regularity. $90 billion would offer so many opportunities for climate risk mitigation it boggles the mind………

With an election deadline approaching, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton perhaps have judged that a campaign fought on national security concerns will be much more successful in motivating a fearful public to vote to the right on the spectrum…….,15547

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Federal government’s nuclear submarine promotion masks a huge mess of its own making

I am going to press for the Senate to open an immediate inquiry to ensure that all the angles, including alternative conventionally-powered submarine procurement options, are fully explored and understood

We need such an inquiry to inform Government, Opposition, the Parliament and, most importantly, the Australian people before the next election.

This is a huge decision taken in response to a Liberal Party own goal which has cost the taxpayer and national security dearly. We don’t want an even bigger repeat of a failure and this massive project should not proceed further without full transparency and scrutiny.

Rex Patrick, a former submariner, is an independent senator for South Australia.

Nuclear-level spin masks a massive failure  17 Sept 21

This week’s nuclear submarine announcement raises questions that need full and transparent examination. What is certain, writes Rex Patrick, is that the Federal Government’s atomic marketing efforts are designed to cover a huge mess of its own making.

In many respects Scott Morrison’s nuclear submarines announcement fits the Prime Minister’s standard modus operandi.

Having presided over a huge shambles, he’s always ready to pull down the curtain and then present something new and shiny to the electorate as a distraction to the failure.

In this case, however, he’s taken his marketing strategy to a new atomic level.

I’ve been a strong critic of the French submarine deal. The projected delays and cost overruns, jointly the fault of Defence and Naval Group, were huge and unacceptable. The Government managed to achieve Australia’s worst-ever defence procurement disaster – which is saying a lot.

Although they repeatedly refused to admit it, and fought tooth and nail to prevent the release of information about the problems with the Future Submarine Program, the Government knew they had a total lemon on their hands – a lemon of their own making.

Continue reading

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Maritime and electrical trades unions stand against nuclear submarines

Maritime and electrical trades unions stand against nuclear submarines Kerry SmithSeptember 21, 2021Issue 1320Australia   On September 21, International Day of Peace, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said it opposed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reckless commitment to develop nuclear-powered submarines as part of a military alliance with the United States and Britain.

At a time when Morrison should have been pursuing vaccination supplies and providing maximum support to our health system and millions of people in lockdown, he has been pursuing secret military deals”, the MUA said.

“The deal will continue to escalate unnecessary conflict with China. Workers have already been impacted, with seafarers stranded on coal ships and some trades shut down.”

The MUA said $90 billion had been “wasted with the previous submarine contract”, scrapped just five years after it was signed. Nuclear submarines will cost much more.

“Only six countries in the world have nuclear submarines, and they all have nuclear power stations”, the MUA said, adding: “Advocates for nuclear power and nuclear weapons have been emboldened. The submarines will use highly enriched uranium ideal for nuclear weapons.”

The government has repeatedly tried to set up nuclear waste dumps on First Nations people’s land and the decision will intensify that pressure.

Instead, the union is calling for the billions to be redirected to: building a strategic shipping fleet in Adelaide that could operate in cabotage and international trades; building renewable energy and offshore wind turbines to ensure we prevent global heating from exceeding 1.5°C; raising JobSeeker payments to well above poverty levels; pay rises for health workers and investment in public health systems; pay rises for teachers and investment in public schools to make them COVID-19 safe; and investment in firefighting capacity to be ready for the next bushfire season.

Workers have no interest in war with China or any other country”, the MUA said, adding that it stands in “solidarity with workers in all countries in opposing war and wasteful environmentally harmful military spending”.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is also opposed to the nuclear submarine deal, saying on September 16 that it would expose Australia to greater danger on multiple fronts.

ETU National Assistant Secretary Michael Wright said: “This decision represents a betrayal of responsibility to Australia’s non-nuclear policy and a betrayal of two generations of highly-skilled, secure, well-paying Australian shipbuilding jobs.”

Further, Wright said, nuclear technology is inherently dangerous: “Has Morrison given any thought to where the spent fuel rods from these nuclear submarines will be stored? Australians have a right to know the answers to these important questions before the prime minister makes such dangerous decisions on our behalf.”

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, opposition to nuclear, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled, ABC, By Jack Hawke and Nick Dole in London 22 Sept 21,

Australian officials had written to their French counterparts to say they were “satisfied” with how a $90 billion submarine deal was progressing on the same day it was announced the deal was being cancelled, France’s defence ministry has claimed.

Key points:

  • Australia has terminated a $90bn deal to buy 12 conventionally-powered submarines from France in a deal brokered in 2016
  • Instead it has teamed up in a new alliance with the UK and US, which will deliver nuclear-powered submarines
  • France’s defence ministry says it feels “cheated” and “blindsided” by Australia’s decision

Herve Grandjean, a spokesman for the defence ministry, also told the ABC the French feel cheated and blindsided by the announcement.

It is the latest in a barrage of criticism from France following Australia’s decision last Thursday to pull out of the deal for 12, French-built submarines in order to forge a new defence relationship — AUKUS — with the United Kingdom and the United States, which will see Australia gain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

The fallout has also included France recalling its ambassadors to Australia and the US at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had tried to call Mr Macron on the evening before the announcement, but France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Canberra only informed Paris one hour before Mr Morrison joined a video link-up with British counterpart Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden to announce the new deal. 

Mr Grandjean told the ABC on the same day AUKUS was announced, the French had been reassured by Australian officials the submarine program was continuing as planned.

“We received an official letter from the Australian ministry of defence, saying that they were satisfied with the advancement of the project and with the submarine’s performance, which meant that we could launch the next phase of development of these submarines,” he said.

“We were very surprised by the announcement, which was not at all in line with the official letter we had received.

“So, yes, we do consider there was duplicity. We do consider we have been deceived.”………

…………… Mr Grandjean said that, in August this year, there was a meeting with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her French counterpart in which there was no indication the contract was in jeopardy.

He said it also appeared none of the Australian engineers or military personnel involved in the French submarine program – which was being headed up by French defence contractor Naval Group – had any idea about the policy shift.

………. He said the AUKUS deal would be “bad news” for Australians and that, instead of getting new French submarines in 2030, Australia would likely have to wait until 2040 for nuclear-powered ones.,,,……….

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

An incompetent threesome – Morrison, Biden; Johnson – out of their depth on nuclear submarine decision

How to lose friends and infuriate people, SMH, Niki Savva   22 Sept 21 Scott Morrison’s momentous national security announcement last week should have been a turning point for him and the government. Instead, because he delayed making one tough call, leaving himself open to accusations of backstabbing and deception from a great friend and ally, he robbed himself of a much-needed reset.

A few days later he again squibbed what should have been a straightforward decision involving a senior colleague, on a matter which goes to the heart of transparency and probity.

Both were about trust. Both provided insights into the most troubling aspects of Morrison’s character and management style. Both have left a very bad smell.

The first was the big-bang unveiling of the new Anglospheric alliance – upending decades of diplomatic endeavours in Asia – which included the planned acquisition of nuclear submarines from the US or the UK.

By waiting until the night before the announcement to advise President Emmanuel Macron (Morrison’s office refuses to answer when asked if they actually spoke) he was torpedoing the $90-billion contract with France for conventional submarines, he guaranteed they went nuclear.

The second sounded like a transmission from a parallel universe. Morrison presented Christian Porter’s resignation from Cabinet as industry minister after refusing to disclose names of anonymous donors as the action of a man upholding standards………………….

Over breakfast, Australians watched Morrison standing beside a man who could not remember his name, who looked like he should have stayed in bed, and another man who looked like he had just got out of bed.

Sleepy Joe Biden, fresh from the Afghanistan withdrawal disaster, and Boris Johnson, who has had trouble counting the number of children he has, desperately seeking to create a place for Britain in the world post-Brexit.

One of Australia’s most senior and most respected former diplomats, John McCarthy, who chafes at the overhyping of the deal while not dismissing its importance, is still mulling over its implications. But he seems sure about one thing: none of those three leaders is up to the challenges which lie ahead.

McCarthy says Morrison has limited experience and probably lacks the smarts. Biden is not a bad man but is mediocre, and if Lord North, prime minister from 1770 to 1782 during most of the American War of Independence, is the worst the UK has ever produced, then Johnson is right up there with him.

McCarthy names two leaders he believes would be capable. One, Angela Merkel, has just retired and the other – cue the French horn – is Macron.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Vatican’s Cardinal Parolin concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subs

Vatican’s Cardinal Parolin concerned over deal for Australian nuclear-powered subsSep 22, 2021by Catholic News ServiceROME — Plans by the United States and Great Britain to give Australia the technology needed for nuclear-powered submarines go counter to global disarmament efforts, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state…….

“One cannot but be concerned” by the announcement made in mid-September by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the cardinal said.

Parolin, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union and Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, were speaking Sept. 22 at a conference on “Christian Values and the Future of Europe” sponsored by the European People’s Party…………..

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September 22 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Honest Australian Government Ads And The Great Australian Coverup” • Here is a series of ads created to show the truth about the Australian government’s approach to climate change. Don’t watch them if you are easily offended. They are intelligent and honest, but full of Aussie bawdy humor and satire. Each ad is […]

September 22 Energy News — geoharvey

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment