Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR November 2015 Contents the Parliament. On 27 August 2014, he went into
the Senate Chamber and in response to a question
without notice from Senator Conroy, stated “There
are really only three places we can go for the design
of a new submarine: the French, the Germans and the
Japanese. We are engaging all of those”.
Meanwhile, and despite the Defence Minister’s
pronouncement, Defence were still running to the
original plan. In a September Senate Economics
Committee hearing the following exchange
Senator CONROY: “What was the basis for
suspending Option 1 [a MOTS submarine
modified to conform to Australian legislative
requirements]? And what does 'suspending'
mean? Suspending sounds fairly dramatic and
out of the game. In your words, what does
'suspending' option 1 and option 2 [A MOTS
submarine with a US Combat System] mean?”
RADM SAMMUT, inter alia: “We had not done
any further work on the options so that we could
focus our energies on option 3 [Son of Collins]
and option 4 [a new design].
This gave cause for the Defence Minister to
explicitly state the folly of ‘Son of Collins” and ‘a new
design’ in the Chamber the following month. At the
October 2014 Senate Estimates, this exchange took
SENATOR JOHNSTON: “I am attempting to
establish on the record the truth of the matter,
and I will not be verballed by you in circumstances
where you refuse to put on the record matters
that are very important. I said in that interview that
we will pursue options three and four, unless they
turn out to be fantasy. Senator, you and I both
know that those two options are fantasy”.
Senator CONROY: “That is certainly what you
seek to assert, but”
SENATOR JOHNSTON: “It is there in black and
white if you want to read the thing properly”.
Senator CONROY: “It is there in black and
white that today you are committing to building
12 new submarines here in Adelaide. I will move
SENATOR JOHNSTON: “Unless the options
that the government was setting out as being
the basis for their promise were fantasy. Can I
tell you again, for about the twelfth time, what
the government of the day was promising was
SEA 1000 PH III – ‘OPTION J’
Meanwhile a third plan, affectionately known now
as ‘Option J’, was already in play. Unfortunately
for Defence, it was a plan that originated and was
executed by powerful Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFAT) brethren inside the Prime Minister’s office and
the senior positions inside Defence.
It centred around a handshake deal made in
February 2014 between Prime Minister Abbott and
Japan’s Prime Minister Abe. Australia was to enter
into a joint program with the Japanese on a Soryu Mk
II submarine procurement; not for sensible submarine
related reasons, simply to meet the geo-political
objectives of the insiders colloquially referred to as
‘the crew of HMAS DFAT’.
Defence were not happy, but in the end played
SEA 1000 PH IV – ‘CEP”
Australia was set to have a Japanese designed Soryu
Mk II as its future submarine up until February 2015
when Abbott’s leadership was challenged.
In response to a need to shore up South Australian
liberal member’s votes in a leadership spill motion,
the Prime Minister’s office concocted
the concept of Competitive Evaluation
Process (‘CEP’). SEA 1000 would now be
Defence was not aware of the CEP
concept, but reacted quickly to the idea
and played along.
The CEP commenced a couple of weeks
later and, perhaps by accident rather than
good fortune, has moved SEA 1000 to
an almost reasonable position; short of
the fact that Australia is back on the risk
horse, proposing an Option Four unique
design of submarine (i.e . like Collins –
an orphan), albeit to be designed by a
reputable submarine design house.
SEA 1000 PH V – ‘UNDER
“The King is dead, long live the King”.
Abbot was deposed in September 2015
and replaced with a more commercially
savvy Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
This factor coupled with Johnston’s earlier
promise of delivering a fully costed 2015
DWP again changes the course of the
No doubt with the DWP numbers not
adding up, hints are being made that
Australia will now get six submarines, with
14 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter NOV 2015
HMAS Sirius and HMAS Sheean conduct manoeuvres, as a Chetak helicopter from INS Shivalik flys overhead, during AUSINDEX 15.
14/10/2015 10:36 pm
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