Australian news, and some related international items

This black smoke rolling through the mulga’: almost 70 years on, it’s time to remember the atomic tests at Emu Field

The Convesation, Liz Tynan, Associate professor and co-ordinator of professional development GRS, James Cook University: May 4, 2022 

The name Emu Field does not have the same resonance as Maralinga in Australian history. It is usually a footnote to the much larger atomic test site in South Australia. However, the weapons testing that took place in October 1953 at Emu Field, part of SA’s Woomera Prohibited Area, was at least as damaging as what came three years later at Maralinga.

The Emu Field tests, known as Operation Totem, were an uncontrolled experiment on human populations unleashing a particularly mysterious and dangerous phenomenon – known as “black mist” – which is still being debated.

Operation Totem involved two “mushroom cloud” tests, held 12 days apart, which sought to compare the differences in performance between varying proportions of isotopes of plutonium. The tests were not safe, despite assurances given at the time.

Between 1952 and 1957, Britain used three Australian sites to test 12 “mushroom cloud” bombs: the uninhabited Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast and the two South Australian sites. (An associated program of tests of various weapons components and safety measures continued at Maralinga until 1963.)

The British government, with loyal but uncomprehending support from Australia under Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies, proceeded despite incomplete knowledge of atomic weapons effects or the sites’ meteorological and geographical conditions.

The British government, with loyal but uncomprehending support from Australia under Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies, proceeded despite incomplete knowledge of atomic weapons effects or the sites’ meteorological and geographical conditions.

The first British atomic test, Operation Hurricane, held in 1952, was a maritime test of a 25 kiloton atomic device detonated below the waterline in a ship anchored off part of the Monte Bello Islands.

Operation Totem was designed to test two much smaller devices – 9.1 and 7.1 kilotons respectively – by detonating them on steel towers in the desert.

At the time, Britain was in the process of commissioning a new reactor at Calder Hall in Cumbria (designed to make plutonium for both military and civilian uses) that would produce nuclear fuel containing more plutonium-240 than a previous reactor.

Totem was intended to test “austerity” weapons made from nuclear fuel eked out of this reactor. (Plutonium-240 can potentially make nuclear weapons unstable, in contrast to the fuel of choice for fission weapons, plutonium-239, which is more controllable.)

Totem was a “comparative” test. Its innermost technicalities are still kept secret by the British government.

A greasy black mist

The two tests at Emu Field were fired at 7am, on 15 October and 27 October.

The first test, Totem I, produced a mysterious, greasy “black mist” that rolled over Aboriginal communities around Wallatinna and Mintabie, 170 kilometres to the northeast of Emu Field. The black mist directly harmed Aṉangu people. Because no data was collected at the time, it is impossible to quantify precisely, however, the anecdotal evidence suggests death and sickness occured.

The British meteorologist, Ray Acaster, gave an account of the phenomenon, and its possible causes, in 2002:

The Black Mist was a process of mist or fog formation at or near the ground at various distances from the explosion point … Radioactive particles from the unusually high concentration in the explosion cloud falling into the mist or fog contributed to the condensation process … The radioactive particles in the mist or fog became moist and deposited as a black, sticky, and radioactive dust, particularly dangerous if taken into the body by ingestion or breathing.

The black mist was an horrific experience for all in its path. Survivors gathered at Wallatinna and Marla Bore in 1985 testified to the Royal Commission into the British Atomic Tests in Australia on its effect on individuals and communities.

Among those who testified was Lallie Lennon, who lived at Mintabie with her husband and children in 1953. After breakfast on 15 October they heard a deep rumble, followed by weird smoke that smelt of gunpowder and stuck to the trees. Lallie, her children and the others with her all got sick with diarrhoea, flu-like symptoms, rashes and sore eyes. Lallie’s skin problems were so severe, it looked like she had rolled in fire.

Another witness, the later tireless advocate for the survivors of the British atomic tests, Yami Lester, was a child at the time of Totem and lost his vision after the tests.

He recalled his experiences in testimony to the royal commission, and elsewhere. Interviewed by two London Observer journalists in a story republished in the Bulletin under the title “Forgotten victims of the ‘rolling black mist’”, he said:

I looked up south and saw this black smoke rolling through the mulga. It just came at us through the trees like a big, black mist. The old people started shouting ‘It’s a mamu’ (an evil spirit) … they dug holes in the sand dune and said ‘Get in here, you kids’. We got in and it rolled over and around us and went away.

Contaminated planes
The second test, Totem II, took place on October 27 in completely different meteorological conditions and did not produce a black mist. Its cloud rose quickly into the atmosphere and broke up soon after. However, radioactivity from both Totem I and Totem II travelled east across the continent, crossing the coast near Townsville.
Air force crews from both Britain and Australia flew into the atomic clouds. A British Canberra aircraft with three crew aboard entered the Totem I cloud just six minutes after detonation, far earlier than any of the other cloud sampling aircraft.

For a brief period the radioactivity to which they were exposed was off the scale. The aircraft was flown back to the UK, where it was found to carry extensive residual radioactive dust despite having been cleaned in Australia.

While air crew were exposed to contamination in flight, RAAF ground crew were worse affected, since they were largely unprotected and worked for hours on the contaminated planes. The risk to both air and ground crew was extensively examined by the Royal Commission.

One account by Group Captain David Colquhoun, head of RAAF operations at Emu Field, mentioned a gathering of crew in a hangar at Woomera, where a doctor ran a Geiger counter over those present.

As it reached the hip of one man, “the Geiger gave a very strong number of counts”. The young man then said he had a rag in his hip pocket he had used to wipe grease “off the union between the wing and the fuselage”. This rag was heavily contaminated.

Abrogating responsibility

After America’s McMahon Act of 1946 made it illegal for the US to work with other countries on atomic weaponry, a secret British Cabinet committee made the decision to conduct tests of a British bomb – but not on its own territory.

Britain explicitly abrogated all responsibility for those who lived near the Emu Fields site. Britain maintained through to the royal commission – and in years beyond – that it was not responsible for Aboriginal welfare in the face of atomic weapons tests.

The extent of the huge British atomic weapons testing program here is still largely unknown by Australians. The Australian government forced the British government to contribute to the cost of remediation of Maralinga in the mid-1990s, although Monte Bello and Emu Field were largely left untouched.

The story of Emu Field has been forgotten for nearly 70 years. Bringing it back into our national consciousness reminds us the costs of harmful political decisions are often not borne by the decision-makers but by the most powerless.

The author would like to thank Maralinga Tjarutja Council for allowing access to the Maralinga lands, including Emu Field.

The Secret of Emu Field: Britain’s forgotten atomic tests in Australia, by Elizabeth Tynan, has just been published by NewSouth

May 5, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

 Unions NSW opposes nuclear powered submarines and the AUKUS treaty.

Paul Keating ,Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney Branch, 26 Apr 22,

Unions NSW declares its total opposition to the reckless announcement by Scott Morrison that Australia would be developing nuclear-powered submarines as part of a military alliance with the US and UK.

 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 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.

Extraordinary sums of money have been wasted with the previous submarine contract scrapped only five years after it was signed. That contract was worth $90 billion – nuclear submarines will cost much more.

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

  The Australian government has repeatedly tried to set up nuclear waste dumps on First Nations land. This will intensify that pressure.

  The billions wasted on submarines should be spent on:

Building an Australian 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 increases for health workers and investments in our health systems;

·         Pay increases for teachers and investments in public schools to make them covid-safe;

·         Investing in firefighting capacity and ensuring we are ready for the next bushfire season.

 Workers have no interest in war with China or any other country. Every effort should be made to pursue peaceful relations.

 Unions NSW stands in solidarity with workers in all countries in opposing war and wasteful environmentally harmful military spending.

We pledge our opposition to oppose the development of nuclear submarines in Australia, and the development of any other nuclear industry.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Various groups oppose plan for nuclear submarine base – ”a military target” at Port Kembla, New South Wales

Planes, trains, automobiles … and nuclear subs: the local issues at play in the federal election

Guardian  Stephanie Tran and Khaled Al Khawaldeh, Mon 2 May 2022

 ………….Submarine base in Port Kembla

Max, 26, works for a non-profit and lives in the electorate of Cunningham, held by retiring Labor MP Sharon Bird. He is worried about the prospect of a base being built in Port Kembla to house the future nuclear-powered submarines to be built under the Aukus agreement.

“This announcement was made with no consultation with the community, no proposal for consultation moving forward and a potential for my home to have a giant target on its back,” he said.

The Wollongong suburb, 100km south of Sydney, was flagged by the Coalition as the potential home of its new nuclear-powered submarine base. However, experts have raised concerns that the base could endanger the community by making it a military target, and some in the community are wary over the safety of the submarines’ nuclear reactors.

Alison Byrnes, the Labor candidate for Cunningham, said that if elected she would ensure that the community was consulted on the decision.

“I will make it a priority to seek a detailed briefing from the minister for defence on this plan, as well as Defence’s proposed assessment process,” she said.

The Liberal party emphasised the economic benefits of the project, but did not address the community concerns……..

Greens candidate Dylan Green said he did not want to see his community “getting caught up in a nuclear arms race”.

“Our government should be strengthening diplomatic ties with neighbouring states, not inviting conflict by investing in warships with primarily offensive capabilities,” he said.

Alexis Garnaut-Miller, from the Australian Citizens party, was “absolutely and resolutely opposed to this nonsensical proposal of building nuclear submarines or any development of nuclear submarine presence in Port Kembla”……

May 2, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Call to dump nuclear, go hydrogen for submarines

Australia cannot afford to allow Scott Morrison’s nuclear submarine plans to proceed, according to federal parliament’s only ex-submariner. 7 News, Marion Rae, 27 Apr 22,

Scott Morrison’s nuclear option for future Australian submarines is another budget disaster in the making, according to federal parliament’s only former submariner.

“We can’t afford to allow this bathtub admiral’s nuclear fantasy to go any further,” Independent senator Rex Patrick said on Tuesday.

The South Australian senator wants hydrogen fuel-cell submarines to be considered instead of the program he says will ruin Australia’s sovereign capability and deal a huge blow to his state’s defence industrial base.

New technology has allowed hydrogen fuel-cell powered submarines to become a viable non-nuclear option for endurance and silence, with some navies already operating or building with the new propulsion systems.

The senator said Australia needs a new submarine capability in the water in 2026, not 2040, and it should be built in Adelaide not contracted to foreign shipyards.

“I get that nuclear submarines are very capable. As a former submariner and having spent time at sea on the nuclear USS Santa Fe, I get it more than any other member of the federal parliament,” he said.

“But I also understand the capabilities of modern hydrogen fuel-cell submarines.”

He recommends a $20 billion spend on 20 highly capable submarines, rather than an estimated $171 billion on eight nuclear-powered vessels.

The previous $90 billion deal with a French company was scrapped last year in favour of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS security pact, with a termination payment that could exceed $5.5 billion.

The Morrison government has already committed to building a new nuclear submarine base on Australia’s east coast, with the location to be announced after the election…………..

Senator Patrick said it was wrong to claim conventional submarines would not survive the modern operational environment, pointing to the fleets of Germany, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.

“It doesn’t matter how good the pros of a nuclear submarine are – if it arrives too late, costs too much and undermines sovereign capability then it’s the wrong solution,” he said.

April 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Anzac Day and the conflict-loving neocons,16300, By David Donovan | 27 April 2022

This year’s Anzac Day has been politicised into a call-to-arms against China by our Coalition leaders. Founder and publisher Dave Donovan calls for war profiteers to be condemned.

ACCORDING TO one report, Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s opponent in Dickson, Labor candidate Ali France, is increasingly confident of deposing him from his marginal north Brisbane seat.

“It will be better than last time around,” she told Roman Mackinnon[I’m] definitely feeling hopeful we can kick him out.”

We can hope, but not too much. Because Dutton is the sort of former cop who looks as if he might have enjoyed a bit of kicking in his time ─ on the boot end, not as the ball.

On the day before Anzac Day, Dutton – out of what seems more a skull than a living head − honoured the grim sacrifice of generations of Australian military personnel, by preparing us all for more war. We need to prepare for war with China, said Peter Dutton, 

It’s the oldest trick in the book: the khaki election. Beloved by conservatives like Dutton, whose reptile brains are ever ready for fight and flight. And it just might work for them again. Because Australia is a war-loving nation, with a people ever ready to send the cream of their youth to kill and be slaughtered in any scrap going down, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

We love war so much, Remembrance Day in November is not enough for us, we need to relive the action again each year in April for what has truly become our national day. On 25 April, we take the day off for marches and parades, for drinking and gambling, all to recall our futile role in an ill-planned invasion of a distant land for a European empire. One that ended in disaster and defeat, but which has become some sort of macabre national death cult and celebration – yes, celebration, because that is what it is − of militarism and folly.

Of course, it’s not our fault, we Australians. It is how we have been taught. The death cult has been inculcated into us almost from the teat. It is an intrinsic part of our culture. I don’t need to tell you, knowledgeable reader, about the military-industrial complex or that war is a racket. Our National War Memorial in Canberra is sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

You know that, like you know that it is good for business. And Australia is deeply invested in the war business. After Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey shooed the car industry from our shores in 2014, the Coalition’s only plan to maintain a heavy manufacturing base in this country is through the production of war materials: guns, rockets, tanks, troop carriers, shells and other such armaments.

They also, through normalising war, ensure there is always enough new meat to send to the slaughterhouse each time. A country that profits from war, surely, has a vested interest in perpetuating it.

Isn’t that something we should consider on Anzac Day each year, as we mourn our dead? That our Government does not really care about the tragedy and sacrifice of war, or the deaths of our children, but instead wants to make a buck out of it?

Scott Morrison cares so little for those he considers his lesser – the ones he would send to fight China – that he was seen on Monday, during the Dawn Service, texting on his phone. War is just a potential vote winner for him, as it is for the ghoulish Dutton.

Celebrate Anzac Day, certainly. Take to the streets and honour the dead. But do it with a sense of outrage. That we needlessly sacrificed so many of our brave sons and daughters. For nothing but the conquest of empire and the dreams of mortal power of our cold and psychopathic leaders.

Take to the street to condemn those who feel no pangs about sending our children off to die. Take to the streets on Anzac Day to condemn the warmongers and profiteers. Because there is no glory in war: just blood, and tears, and shit and death.

April 28, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines in an Adelaide shipyard – sitting ducks for a disastrous terrorist attack: conventional submarines – cheaper, safer


Once launched nuclear submarines are a very powerful weapons with an indefinite range. They are very hard to find and destroy in open water and pose a major direct threat to an adversaries home territory.

In the unlikely event they were destroyed in the water the reactor should shut down and sink with the boat to the abyssal depths of the ocean. While the reactor may leak to some extent the pressure and cold water contain the problem.

However, prior to launch the submarine is a sitting duck, vulnerable to a wide range of submarine and land-launched precision missiles. The logical time to strike would be when the boats are almost complete but not launched.

Questions for the government

  1. What is the likely impact of a missile strike on a nuclear submarine in the shipyard?
  2. What modelling does the government have regarding the spread of radioactive material from the reactor if it was hit by a precision missile?
  3. How many years would Adelaide need to be evacuated for after a disaster?
  4. Given the government’s rhetoric, why would a large adversary not destroy our SSN before launch given the threat they pose?
  5. Having spent $20 billion on each boat over ten years, will the government be upset if the SSN are destroyed on the day of the launch?

Our Plan: 20 advanced conventional submarines

The Democrats advocate avoiding this problem by building advanced conventional submarines.

This would save about $80 billion, ten years, and Adelaide……

April 28, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment



A ground-breaking legal complaint has arisen after First Nation’s elders Andrew and Robert Starkey discovered an unexploded missile on their country. The brothers discovered the missile, manufactured by arms multinational Saab, in Lake Hart West, a registered Indigenous heritage site within the vast Woomera Prohibited Area. The Starkeys are Kokatha Badu (respected senior figures, or lore men) from the Western Desert region of South Australia who have devoted decades to protecting heritage sites on their land.

In a complaint to the OECD, the Starkeys alleged that Saab had breached OECD guidelines by failing to undertake or maintain ‘adequate human rights due diligence which could prevent their product from being used in human rights violations’, and which also resulted in a failure to ‘protect and preserve the integrity of [those] heritage sites’ for which the Starkeys have custodial responsibilities

Michelle Fahy, 4 Feb 2022

Australia hasn’t seen anything like this case before. In fact, in the world of OECD complaints, it’s a first.

The Starkey complaint has resulted in a precedent-setting initial assessment from the OECD that could have ramifications for multinational weapons companies. The OECD’s Australian contact point has decided that arms export permits granted by national governments do not provide weapons companies with immunity from responsibility for human rights violations resulting from the use of their products or services.

This decision overturns earlier OECD precedents set by other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, which allowed weapons companies  to shelter behind  arms export permits. The initial assessment in the Starkey complaint says that government-issued arms export permits on their own are insufficient protection, and that the OECD guidelines require global arms manufacturers to conduct ongoing due diligence on human rights issues. Manufacturers of weaponry used to commit war crimes against civilians in Yemen, for example, could now be exposed to similar complaints.

The Defence Department, which has long fobbed off the Starkeys’ heritage concerns, took a year to remove the missile. Andrew says they next tried to approach Saab—whose marketing tagline is ‘It’s a human right to feel safe’—but were again brushed off and referred back to Defence. The Starkeys then lodged their complaint with the OECD’s Australian National Contact Point (AusNCP) in September 2021.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are a comprehensive code of responsible business conduct that governments have committed to promoting. Each country that chooses to adhere to the guidelines must establish a national contact point to promote and implement the guidelines. The complaints procedure is intended to provide a non-adversarial ‘forum for discussion’ to examine and resolve complaints against multinationals.

The OECD covers most of the world’s weapons makers— 80 of the top 100 arms corporations, according to an analysis of data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. These companies represented 80 per cent (US$425 billion) of the US$531 billion in sales by the top 100 in 2020. Saab, ranked thirty-sixth, had US$3.4 billion in sales in 2020.

Saab responded to the Starkeys’ complaint saying, amongst other things, that its supply of weaponry to Defence was subject to ‘strict export control laws’ aimed at preventing their use in harmful ways and that Swedish export controls ‘require human rights issues to be considered’. This rote argument is parroted across the arms industry and is one that Australia’s Defence Exports Controls Office relies on to justify its continued arms exports to nations engaged in serial human rights abuses, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab EmiratesIsrael and Indonesia.

‘No nation gets to pick and choose which laws to comply with, nor do they get to choose who will or will not be held accountable’, says the Starkeys’ international human rights lawyer John Podgorelec. ‘The international law has to be applied as evenly to the Saudi Yemen conflict as it would to the Russia Ukraine conflict.’

Weapons companies have long benefited from a myopic reliance on one-off export permit approvals. However, the extensive evidence of war crimes and the resultant catastrophe still unfolding in Yemen, fuelled in large part by US– and UK­ supplied weaponry, shows that the so-called strict permit approval system is an abject failure in protecting human rights.

The AusNCP’s initial assessment sounds a warning to the arms industry worldwide. The AusNCP has now offered its ‘good offices’ to facilitate a negotiated resolution between the Starkeys and Saab. The Starkeys are ready to negotiate. Whether the ‘good offices’ phase proceeds depends on Saab, which has so far said it will ‘review the findings, and continue to engage with the AusNCP, to determine any further required actions’.

Andrew Starkey is pleased with the result so far, but his relief is tempered with discontent. ‘The situation is so bad in Australia. The legislation is so weak that we needed to rely on international law to get justice.’

Dr John Pace, who is also advising the Starkeys, is a globally recognised expert in human rights law with more than fifty years’ experience, including at the United Nations. Pace says that the obligation for due diligence on human rights grounds never abandons the equipment. ‘It is an ongoing, responsive and changing process, not a one-off rubber stamp.’

Amnesty International has noted, in Human rights policies in the defence sector, that, ‘There is now a clear global consensus that companies have a responsibility to respect all human rights wherever they operate’. There is also increasing acceptance that good business practices in one area do not offset harm in another. Corporate behaviour must be globally consistent.

A significant factor influencing the handling of the Starkeys’ complaint is the web of conflicting interests in which Saab features strongly. Such conflicts were not disclosed to the Starkeys during the complaint process. It is this inconsistency in its corporate behaviour that has brought Saab undone. As Andrew says, ‘Defence seems more interested in protecting a Swedish company than in protecting Australian culture’………………………………………………………………

The due diligence guidelines are clear about avoiding adverse impacts on human rights and, in particular, the importance of engaging with Indigenous peoples who might be affected by the activities of the business. One adverse impact noted by the OECD in relation to human rights is ‘Failing to identify and appropriately engage with indigenous peoples where they are present and potentially impacted by the enterprise’s activities’.

The Starkeys are concerned that similar problems will recur. Says Andrew, ‘For us this is the same as the British atomic tests. We are the ones left to deal with the mess. They are erasing us one site at a time up there’.

Christina Macpherson <>Apr 22, 2022, 9:02 PM (11 hours ago)
to me

April 22, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Will Australia’s nuclear submarines end up being built overseas?

ABC7.30 / By Angelique Donnellan,  18 Apr 22, In 1938, wharfies at Port Kembla, south of Sydney refused to load smelted iron ore bound for military production in Japan for its war against China.

Key points:

Independent Senator Rex Patrick is concerned Australia’s nuclear submarines may end up being built overseas
Defence expert Clive Williams believes it would be cheaper to build the subs in the US or the UK
Port Kembla in NSW is being considered as a base for the nuclear submarines

Some locals, including Alexander Brown from Wollongong Against War and Nukes, says the peaceful legacy is reason for the town not to become a defence base for Australia’s new nuclear submarines.

“We’re a city of peace, and we’re a city of renewable and sustainable employment. We don’t want to turn into a defence industry town,” he told 7.30.

“If nuclear submarines are based here in Port Kembla, we’re looking at accident risks for us, for sea life, for the ecosystem that we all depend upon.”

Port Kembla is being considered as a potential $10 billion east coast nuclear submarine base location, along with Newcastle and Brisbane.

Debra Murphy from Illawarra Regional Development Australia said the town should embrace the opportunity.

Along with the base proposal, the historic AUKUS deal to deliver eight nuclear-powered submarines remains a work in progress during its initial 18-month consultation period…………

Defence Minister Peter Dutton wouldn’t be drawn on when the new nuclear submarines would be built and go into service, or the amount of construction work that would happen in Australia.

Under the previous French submarine deal, there was a public pledge to spend 60 per cent of the contract value in Australia………..

Concerns subs may be built overseas

South Australian Independent Senator and former submariner Rex Patrick said the language around a local build was too vague.

Every day, it looks more and more likely that this submarine will be built overseas,” Mr Patrick told 7.30.

“The government keeps squeezing on the schedule and that means that they have to reduce risk wherever they possibly can.

“The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has predicted that this project will cost about $170 billion. An overseas build is the exporting of $170 billion of taxpayers’ money and thousands of Australian jobs to foreign shipyards.”……………………..

Expert says subs should be built overseas

Defence researcher Clive Williams from Australian National University said considering the complexity of a nuclear submarine, taxpayers would get better value for money if the boats were constructed in the US or UK.

“I think building at Osborne in South Australia is fraught with danger and could well be another defence procurement disaster. I’m sure that it’ll wind up in cost overruns, changes to design, fiddling around with it, and so on,” he told 7.30.

“I think a much safer bet is to go with an overseas purchase.”………………………………

The government is pursuing the nuclear option after cancelling a contract last September with the French to build 12 diesel-electric submarines, a move that is likely to cost up to $5.5 billion in compensation to the companies involved, including Naval Group.

Mr Dutton said negotiations were ongoing and the settlement would be made public when finalised.

April 19, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pine Gap’s role in China–US arms race makes Australia a target

Rakesh, April 15, 2022

Developments at the U.S.-Australian satellite intelligence base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs give the United States an unprecedented ability to detect Chinese spacecraft from space and potentially destroy them.

Previously, detection was mainly based on ground-based radars, which are no longer seen as suitable for identifying these spacecraft if they were weapons. China has said it has only tested new space vehicles.

As shown below, two different versions of the latest Pine Gap satellites can do this job together. The difficulty is how to further destabilize the nuclear balance between China and the United States in order to help maintain peace.

Last October, it was reported that China had tested a nuclear-capable highly maneuverable hypersonic glider after it was lifted into space by a missile. The nuclear warheads released from US intercontinental ballistic missiles are also manoeuvrable and independently targeted. But the United States sees a serious threat from these hypersonic vehicles that can drive at more than five times the speed of sound.

This development makes Australia more closely integrated with any American offensive in space, as well as with defensive capabilities. Yet there has been no political debate in Australia about the consequences of avoiding war. No senior politician is trying to create momentum to support a new arms control deal, as Presidents Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev did in 1971, when the number of nuclear weapons escalated alarmingly, to more than 30,000 each.

The latest arms build-up is highlighted by a meeting in late March between Australian intelligence and military officials and senior US military officers at Pine Gap. Although the United States clearly considers Pine Gap to be crucial in fighting war in space, these military officers did not speak to the Australian media. Instead, they choose to talk to a London-based journalist Financial Times.

It is unclear whether the government intends to inform the Australian public about developments at Pine Gap. These have implications for Australia’s own security and its potential obligations under the outer space treaty, which limits the militarization of space without completely banning it. If Pine Gap was not already a Chinese nuclear target, it probably will be now.

That Financial Times reported the head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, said the United States wanted to integrate all elements of the U.S. military power with its allies. In this context, Aquilino said Australia has capabilities that make it an “extremely advanced partner”. He said increased visibility in space would help counter Chinese hypersonic weapons. “The ability to identify and track and defend against these hypersonics is really key.”

The head of the U.S. Space Command, General James Dickinson, was also interviewed for the play, saying Australia was a “critical partner” in efforts to improve space domain awareness and monitor Chinese space operations. He said, “This is the perfect place for many things to do.”

The deputy head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Lieutenant General Charles Moore, said digital convergence between the United States and Australia gives the Unit

Pine Gap’s own satellites also pick up signals from radars and weapon systems, such as ground-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, fighter jets, drones and spacecraft, along with other military and civilian communications. From Pine Gap, a huge amount of military data is fed into the American war machine in real time.ed States “the potential to conduct offensive operations.” He added that cooperation with allies created an “asymmetric advantage” over China, which lacks similar partnerships. One consequence is that China cannot gather near as much electronic intelligence from across the globe as the United States.

An idea of the growing importance of Pine Gaps for the United States is given by its extraordinary growth. Originally, it was a ground station for a single satellite to collect what is called signal intelligence as it orbited 36,000 kilometers above the Earth. There are now at least four much more powerful satellites connected to the base. Their antennas automatically intercept everything that is transmitted within their frequency range. This includes a large selection of electronic signals for intelligence analysis, including text messages, emails, phone calls and more. In addition, terrestrial antennas at Pine Gap and other Australian locations pick up a large amount of information transmitted via commercial satellites.

Pine Gap’s own satellites also pick up signals from radars and weapon systems, such as ground-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, fighter jets, drones and spacecraft, along with other military and civilian communications. From Pine Gap, a huge amount of military data is fed into the American war machine in real time.

Pine Gap operates in connection with similar interception satellites attached to a base at Menwith Hill in England. Their use to lead counterfeit drone strikes that have killed a large number of civilians has been much debated in England. The combined coverage of the two bases includes the former Soviet Union, China, Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Atlantic landmass.

Pine Gap is also linked to infrared satellites, which are of great interest to Americans. Their original function, which is still important, is to provide early warning of the firing of nuclear-armed Russian or Chinese ballistic missiles. Added options now allow them to use their infrared telescopes to detect and track heat from spacecraft as well as from large and small missiles and military jets. Some satellites have very elliptical orbits that can go close to Earth instead of being 36,000 kilometers above Earth.

These satellites now provide highly coveted information about Chinese spacecraft, amplified by the data from the signal intelligence satellites. Taken together, this gives access to signals and infrared intelligence, and its location relative to China, Pine Gap plays a crucial role in the United States’ plans to fight wars in space. This capability will be enhanced by a new space-based detection and tracking system called Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR).

On April 6, the leaders of the AUKUS pact – Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and Joe Biden – announced that they would develop hypersonic missiles and subterranean robots after previously promising to supply Australia with nuclear submarines from around 2040.

These new missiles will also travel at more than five times the speed of sound, but are air-breathing unlike those designed for use in space. The United States and Australia had already developed hypersonic cruise missiles using ramjet engines.

No figures are available, but the cost of developing, building and testing very long-range missiles will be high. A large part of the test is expected to take place in Australia. The new missiles are also intended for use against Chinese targets.

Again, China can be expected to build more missiles with the ability to target Australian and US forces in the region. Separately, Secretary of Defense Peter Dutton announced that the Australian government will spend $ 3.5 billion on new missiles with a longer range of 900 kilometers for Australian ships and fighter jets.

The background to what is happening at Pine Gap illustrates how much more important the base is to the United States than any contribution Australia may have made by a pair of fighter jets or frigates to the United States’ integrated international force that was at a distance from China. At this stage, neither side of Australian policy seems willing to refuse participation in yet another US-led war that violates Australia’s obligations under both the UN Charter and Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty. Both documents oblige Australia to reject the use of force in international relations, other than defensively.

Although rarely mentioned, Pine Gaps’ growing importance to the United States increases Australia’s leverage with the United States to refuse to contribute ships, aircraft and troops to an integrated military force should it violate international rules. It may be harder to dismiss some aspects of Pine Gap’s operations. But there are provisions in the ground rules that Australia only acts with “full knowledge and agreement” with what is happening. Australia does not have to agree.

A further question is how to revive arms control negotiations between Russia and the United States and include China. The two large ones have 1550 intercontinental warheads, but they also have smaller ones. According to the Pentagon, China had only about 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2021 and about 200 smaller warheads. This gives China reasonable cause for concern that it does not have enough strategic warheads to be able to retaliate against a US first attack and thus perpetuate deterrence.

To overcome this, the Pentagon projects that China will have around 1,000 intercontinental warheads by 2030. All sides must reach a new agreement to make major cuts in the number of warheads if the chances of nuclear war are to be reduced.

Whether or not China develops hypersonic spacecraft, it is already committed to getting more traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles that can disperse maneuverable warheads. Restraint on all sides is necessary.

I asked the Secretary of State, Marise Payne, and her Labor counterpart, Penny Wong, if Australia could refuse to integrate with the United States and other forces if they considered a proposed deployment in violation of Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty or the UN Charter. I also asked if Australia could withdraw its military assets from integrated US operations if there was a more urgent need for Australia to confront a local threat that was not of interest to the US. None of them responded before the print deadline.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 16, 2022 as “Mind Pine Gap”.

April 18, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, religion and ethics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Defence expert spills the beans – small nuclear reactors for Australia are all about militarism, not ”peaceful energy”

A Milestones Approach to introduction of small nuclear reactors in Australia, Defence Connect 13 Apr 22, Navy veteran and defence industry analyst Christopher Skinner examines whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Milestones Approach should be adopted in Australia in light of the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine program.

Last Friday the Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) ran a very successful conference in the Aerial Centre of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) which brought together members and interested people face-to-face for the first time in more than two years.

Significant information and viewpoints emerged, and among these, perhaps the most positive was the clear message from international expert on nuclear legal and regulatory matters Helen Cook that the International Atomic Energy Agency Milestones Approach for introduction of nuclear power, as proven in international use by many countries, is able to be progressed even within all the legislative constraints at federal and state level within Australia.

Passage through the full three phases takes 10 to 15 years which sounds realistic for Australia.

The IAEA Milestone Approach is very well explained in webpages, documents and videos all readily available from IAEA in several languages. This approach has three phases and the first of these, called the pre-project activities phase covers all 19 of listed nuclear infrastructure issues that Australia will face both for the AUKUS submarine acquisition program and any future consideration of small modular (nuclear) reactors (SMR) which unsurprisingly are remarkedly similar to nuclear attack submarine (SSN) reactors except for some additional criteria for military use, such as shock proofing and platform motion in six dimensions.

Applying the Pareto Principle, 80 per cent of the criteria for SSNs also apply to SMRs so why not progress those 80 per cent to save time later.

The suggestion was made that the IAEA Milestones Approach should be adopted right now for the AUKUS program with the expectation that most of the work could be applied to a future SMR program if and when that is approved as an optional carbon-free energy source to be included in Australia’s energy roadmap………….

It is encouraging that Defence has announced 300 scholarships for graduate and technical education in nuclear science, technology and engineering, and some of the recipients were attending the conference.

The AUKUS SSN program will be the largest technically complex program ever undertaken in Australia and it behoves all scientific, technical and engineering institutions to contribute to its success. Similarly for the workforce development institutions to create the courses and contribute to the more general knowledge of nuclear science, technology and engineering.

However there is still a level of fear and apprehension in the community about anything nuclear as was shown in the recent University of Queensland study report What would be required for nuclear energy plants to be operating in Australia from the 2030’s?, a timeframe not dissimilar to the AUKUS submarine program. At the end of the study, the team concluded there were only two main issues to be addressed to build public trust through:

  • more detailed explanations of the processes involved over the entire nuclear fuel cycle to ensure safety, and long-term sustainability of radioactive waste; and
  • greater assurance of the risks involved and especially the measures to be taken to minimise the risk of accidents and to mitigate the effects of such accidents when they did occur.

As the ANA conference clearly showed, there are parallel development paths being considered for SMRs and nuclear submarines for Australia, and there are many points of common interest that will benefit from a complementary approach.

The encouraging news from the conference was that the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is working closely with Defence’s Nuclear Powered Submarine Task Force in several working groups that were recently announced in the AUKUS progress report.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear risks, the war in Ukraine, and Australia’s significant contribution to these dangers

The war in Ukraine: Nuclear power, weapons and winter, Pearls and Irritations, By Jim Green, Apr 11, 2022,

Six weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the death and destruction has been devastating. In addition, the targeting of nuclear power plants by Russia’s military has raised the spectre of a nuclear disaster.

The Russian military’s seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ‒ at a time when at least one of the plant’s six reactors was operating ‒ was the most dangerous incident. The partial loss of power to the plant further raised the risk of a disaster.

To say that the seizure of the Zaporizhzhia plant was reckless would be an understatement. Dr. Edwin Lyman from the Union of Concerned Scientists summarised the risks:

“There are a number of events that could trigger a worst-case scenario involving a reactor core or spent fuel pool located in a war zone: An accidental ‒ or intentional ‒ strike could directly damage one or more reactors. An upstream dam failure could flood a reactor downstream. A fire could disable plant electrical systems. Personnel under duress could make serious mistakes. The bottom line: Any extended loss of power that interrupted cooling system operations that personnel could not contain has the potential to cause a Fukushima-like disaster.”

The Russian military also seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Workers were held hostage for 25 days. Off-site power was lost for five days, but generators supplied the necessary power to cool nuclear waste stores. It has been difficult to extinguish forest fires in the contaminated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone due to military conflict.

Several other nuclear facilities have been hit by Russian military strikes, including a nuclear research facility at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and two radioactive waste storage sites.

At the time of writing, there haven’t been any major radiation releases resulting from Russia’s invasion. But the risk remains, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi continues to express “grave concern” and to note that “an accident involving the nuclear facilities in Ukraine could have severe consequences for public health and the environment.”……………….

The risk of nuclear warfare is low, but it is not zero. It doesn’t help that NATO and Russian military doctrines allow for the use of tactical nuclear weapons to fend off defeat in a major conventional war. It doesn’t help that some missiles can carry either conventional weapons or nuclear weapons, increasing the risk of worst-case thinking and a precipitous over-reaction by the adversary.

And it doesn’t help that Putin’s statements have included threats to use nuclear weapons, or that a referendum in Belarus revoked the constitution’s nuclear-weapon-free pledge, or that Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko joined Putin to watch the Russian military carry out a nuclear weapons exercise, or that Lukashenko has said Belarus would be open to hosting Russian nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, points to other concerns:

“Russia and Belarus are not alone in their aggressive and irresponsible posture either. The United States continues to exploit a questionable reading of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that prevents states from ‘possessing’ nuclear weapons but allows them to host those weapons. Five European states currently host approximately 100 US nuclear weapons: Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey.”

In a worst-case scenario, the direct impacts of nuclear warfare would be followed by catastrophic climatic impacts known as ‘nuclear winter’. Earth and paleoclimate scientist Andrew Glikson noted in a recent article:…………………….

The myth of the peaceful atom

Russia’s deliberate and accidental strikes on nuclear sites in Ukraine aren’t the first attacks on nuclear facilities by hostile nation-states……….

For decades, the nuclear industry and its supporters denied and trivialised the connections between ‘peaceful’ nuclear programs and weapons proliferation. But nuclear power has been in such a desperate state in recent years that the industry now acknowledges and even celebrates the connections between power and weapons. Those connections are said to justify greater taxpayer bailouts and subsidies for nuclear power programs in the UK, the US, France and elsewhere.

In the UK, Rolls-Royce is promoting small modular reactors (SMRs) on the grounds that “a civil nuclear UK SMR programme would relieve the Ministry of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability”. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a 2020 speech that without nuclear power there would be no nuclear weapons, and without nuclear weapons there would be no nuclear power (“Sans nucléaire civil, pas de nucléaire militaire, sans nucléaire militaire, pas de nucléaire civil”). In the US, the Nuclear Energy Institute argues that a failure to provide further subsidies for nuclear power would “stunt development of the nation’s defense nuclear complex”…………………………..

Australia’s contribution to global nuclear risks

Australia has uranium export agreements with all of the ‘declared’ nuclear weapons states, all of them breaching their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; countries with a history of weapons-related research based on their civil nuclear programs; countries that have not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; countries expanding their nuclear weapons capabilities; and undemocratic, secretive states with appalling human rights records.

Australia’s uranium export agreements with Russia and Ukraine were much of a muchness: federal parliament’s treaties committee issued strong warnings about the inadequacy of nuclear safeguards, the government of the day ignored those warnings, and no-one has any idea about the security or whereabouts of Australian uranium and its by-products in Russia or Ukraine.

Australian governments, and uranium companies operating in Australia, also contribute to global nuclear risks by exporting uranium to countries with lax safety standards and inadequate nuclear regulation. The most dramatic illustration of that problem is the fact that Australian uranium was in the poorly-managed, poorly-regulated Fukushima reactors during the explosions, meltdowns and fires in March 2011.

Ukraine provides another example. Even before the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s nuclear industry was corrupt, regulation was inadequate, and nuclear security measures left much room for improvement.

Australia also contributes to global nuclear risks because of the bipartisan support for the US alliance and ‘extended nuclear deterrence’. As a result, Australia routinely undermines global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives. A case in point is Australia’s efforts to undermine the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the government’s refusal to sign or ratify the treaty.

And the Australian government’s pursuit of submarines powered by weapons-useable, highly-enriched uranium undermines global non-proliferation efforts. If it’s okay for Australia’s military to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material, then it’s okay for the world’s other 190-or-so countries to have access to weapons-useable nuclear material. What could possibly go wrong?

 Detailed information on nuclear threats resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is posted at

April 12, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AUKUS in the hypersonic missile wonderland

Pearls and Irritations By Binoy Kampmark, Apr 9, 2022,

As this idiotic, servile venture proceeds, Australian territory, sites and facilities will become every more attractive for assault in the fulness of time.

If further clues were needed as to why AUKUS, the security pact comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, was created, the latest announcement on weapons would have given the game away.  Australia, just as it became real estate to park British nuclear weapons experiments, is now looking promising as a site for hypersonic missile testing, development, and manufacture.

In a joint statement from US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a commitment was made “to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen cooperation on defence innovation.”

To this can be added February efforts of officials from all three countries to, according to the ABC, scour Australia for sites best suited for the nascent nuclear-powered submarine program that seems all but pie in the sky. To date, the country has no infrastructure to speak of in this field, no skills that merit mention for the development of any such fleet, and a lack of clarity as to when the vessels might make it to sea. Nor is there any clear sign what model of submarine – UK or US – will be preferred…………………

The Morrison government is trying to leave the impression that this will eventually realise the dream of self-sufficiency, a notion repeatedly fed by such think tanks as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. It describes this as “a major step in delivering a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise, officially announcing strategic partners Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia.” The Prime Minister also sees such weapons as part of a broader Australia “strategic vision” dealing with long-range strike capabilities.

…………. As this idiotic, servile venture proceeds, Australian territory, sites and facilities will become every more attractive for assault in the fulness of time. That may well be quite a way off and, judging by any military ventures in Australia of this kind, we can hope that this will be more a case of decades rather than years.

April 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Defence Dept blocks access to advice on location choice for Australia’s nuclear submarines base

Labor’s defence spokesperson, Brendan O’Connor, questioned whether the government was “hiding their advice because the prime minister has made a political decision in shortlisting three east coast submarine bases”.

“Australians deserve to know if the government went through rigorous processes or if these bases have been chosen on a whim close to an election.”

“The timing of this announcement just before an election and the fact that it departs from the Navy’s previous analysis is quite inexplicable,” Patrick said.

Defence blocks access to advice on location choice for Australia’s nuclear submarines base

Labor demands government reveal how it shortlisted Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla as potential sites for base   Daniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent, @danielhurstbne, Sat 9 Apr 2022

Voters will be kept in the dark on how Scott Morrison’s government selected three potential bases for Australia’s planned nuclear-powered submarines, after the advice was blocked from release.

With the prime minister preparing to formally call the election within days, Labor demanded the government reveal how it shortlisted the locations to prove the announcement was “not just a marketing ploy”.

Morrison named Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong’s Port Kembla as three contenders for a new eastern submarine base, and revealed Aukus-related infrastructure works would cost up to $10bn, in a keynote national security speech last month.

The government is expected to lock in one of these sites late next year, once further studies and negotiations are completed.

Morrison said the “three preferred locations” were identified “following significant work by Defence reviewing 19 potential sites”, although a minister later said it was the cabinet’s national security committee that had “narrowed it down to three”.

Guardian Australia applied to the Department of Defence under freedom of information laws seeking the site analysis. The request also covered any advice, briefings or submissions prepared for the defence minister, Peter Dutton, regarding the preferred locations.

Continue reading

April 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AUKUS hypersonic announcement will ‘escalate global tensions’, warns CND

”………………… In a joint statement on Wednesday, the trio announced that they would now “commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities. ”

Growing proliferation

Australia is already co-operating with Washington on hypersonic weapon development as part of the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE). UK officials said they will not be formally joining SCIFiRE. They will instead co-operate in research and development in the area so they can expand their options.

Hypersonic missiles travel at five times the speed of sound and can be armed with either conventional or nuclear warheads.  Faster than cruise missiles, they can in theory evade existing air defence systems. The US, Russia, and China have all  undertaken testing of the weapon.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “The latest expansion of the AUKUS military pact will further escalate global tensions, at a time when the threat of nuclear war is at its highest in decades. The announcement that a programme initially centred on providing a non-nuclear state with nuclear-powered submarines – in itself risking wider nuclear proliferation – will now include hypersonic missiles, is of great concern. This AUKUS expansion will accelerate arms racing in the Asia-Pacific region, leading to  increased militarisation, and potentially helping provoke conflict over Taiwan. Not to mention the fact that military budgets are already escalating – what will the opportunity cost be for embarking on a whole new class of weaponry be?”

April 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No – it turns out that the nuclear submarines not likely to be built in Australia – Morrison

I am in awe. The man is a marketing genius.  He managed to make sure that the  submarine development plan for Adelaide was shut down –    by promising an even better nuclear submarine development in Adelaide.  Now that wondeful new job-making enterprise vanishes into the ether.  But – no worries –  he”ll be able to convince us that an attack on Australia by China is imminent, -so natioal security tops employment.  So no doubt Australians will rejoice and re-elect the champion marketer.

PM won’t commit to build nuclear subs locally  Joseph Brookes,, 6 April 2022  Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not commit to building Australia’s nuclear powered submarines locally, saying any industry development considerations will be trumped by the need to acquire the capability as soon as possible.

The refusal, made Wednesday as the AUKUS arrangement was expanded to other technologies, follows Defence Minister Peter Dutton also flagging Australia would need to “get the balance right” between supporting local industry and securing capabilities in response to rising foreign threats.

The AUKUS arrangement was announced in September and the “intent” to build new nuclear powered submarines in Australia was a welcome direction for the local defence industry because the new plan also meant the previous submarine program was being scrapped.

A taskforce is continuing to assess options for acquiring the new submarines, including which vessel type and where they will be built.

In February, Defence Minister Peter Dutton had to address concerns about local industry missing out after a high-ranking Defence official told an industry conference the department is “maturing beyond ascribing a percentage” of local industry involvement and was unlikely to set a minimum like previous major ship builds.

A few weeks later the minister suggested a decision on submarine type would be revealed before the election after the taskforce made significant progress earlier this year.

But he was promptly contradicted by Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said a decision was not anticipated before the election because of the processes that would be required stretching into a caretaker period.

On Wednesday, during an announcement about the expansion of the AUKUS arrangement to hypersonic technologies and electronic warfare, the Prime Minister backed away from any commitment to local industry.

He was asked if he could guarantee if the new submarines, beyond the nuclear reactor, would be built in Australia.

“We’re working through all of those issues at present what, and that is certainly our intention to maximise all of that [local manufacturing]. Of course it is,” he told reporters.

“But it’s also the paramount goal is to ensure we get that capability as soon as we can, and it’s in the best form that it can be working with our partners.”

April 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment