20 October 2021

Statements by Senators

The safeguarding of our prosperity and peaceful way of life will only ever come from the strength of our enduring friendships with other like-minded nations.

The recent announcement of the new regional security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States is a testament to our ability to bring such nations together in defending our sovereign interests.

But many questions still remain.

Whilst I lament the typical bungling of the coalition’s handling of the Future Submarine program, I nonetheless also welcome the prospect of the acquisition of a nuclear-propelled submarine fleet for the Royal Australian Navy and the role that these vessels will play in the Asia-Pacific and Antarctic regions.

The transition away from diesel-electric to nuclear propulsion for Australian submarines represents a significant challenge; however, having spent some time aboard HMAS Collins with Senator Hughes, who is also here in the chamber, I also know that our submariners will welcome the opportunity to meet this task.

The development of advanced submarines also promises new opportunities for Australian industry.

It is my hope that, by demonstrating the capacity of industry to put this new technology to sea, we might also come to appreciate the opportunities it presents outside of a defence context, as many, including the Australian Workers Union, have advocated, because there is no denying that our prosperity in the future will depend on our ability to access cheap, abundant energy to power the Australian economy in a clean and emissions-free manner, and the peaceful atom, as it has been termed, may very well have a role to play in achieving this.