Saturday 4th of December 2021

scumo diplomacy...


Labor has fired a warning shot at the Morrison government over its nuclear-powered submarine plans, demanding assurances that Australia will maintain its freedom to make different decisions from the US on military engagements.

The senior opposition frontbencher Penny Wong will pose the question in a speech on Thursday, saying maintaining autonomy is important for Australia’s sovereignty as the country becomes more technologically dependent on the US.


Wong will accuse Scott Morrison – now in the US for talks with President Joe Biden and other world leaders – of failing to do the “diplomatic legwork” before announcing the Aukus defence cooperation plan to replace the $90bn French submarine project.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson will say a lack of preparation means Morrison is now in “damage control” before the Quad leaders’ meeting with Biden and the prime ministers of India and Japan on Friday.

“Last week Mr Morrison had the air of ‘mission accomplished’ about him – when the response to the announcement made painfully obvious that only a fraction of the job has been done,” Wong will tell the United States Studies Centre on Thursday.


While not departing from her party’s qualified support for the announcement, Wong will renew calls for the Coalition to set up a bipartisan process that includes Labor so the success of the multi-decade acquisition is not “at the mercy of changing political winds”.

Morrison joined a virtual hookup with Biden and the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, last week to announce a new security partnership called Aukus, widely seen as a response to China’s military modernisation but angering France, which says it was deliberately kept in the dark.

Australia, the US and the UK will spend the next 18 months “identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia” with expectations they will be built in Adelaide.


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