Leading article Australia

Subs deserved to be sunk

25 September 2021

9:00 AM

25 September 2021

9:00 AM

The argument put forward by Christopher Pyne and fellow Turnbullites that back in 2016 it was impossible to foresee the belligerence of China and the changing geopolitical dynamics that would make the French diesel submarines obsolete before they’d even been designed is as self-serving and fatuous as it is plain wrong. This magazine has been campaigning against the French deal and in favour of Australia purchasing or leasing (or both) American nuclear submarines for at least five years. Indeed, here is Chris Ashton in our 7 May, 2016 cover story shortly after the French subs deal was announced: ‘Despite the superiority of the Barracuda over the German and Japanese proposals, this project will do little to secure Australia strategically, SA financially, or the Libs electorally. It is a craven exercise in pork-barrelling, expensive smoke-and-mirror “job creation”, and appeasement of protectionist industrial attitudes and deranged environmental instincts that is likely to be more embarrassing than the decades-long Collins fiasco’.

And so it proved. Many of our writers, David Flint, James McCann, James Allan, Mark Lawson, Daryl McCann, Tom Lewis (whose essay was last year’s Thawley Prize runner-up) and numerous others have over the intervening years analysed the monumental economic, military and strategic flaws of the Turnbull-Pyne submarine deal, along with warning repeatedly of the ever-growing threat of Xi Jinping’s military build-up and aggressive territorial ambitions, for which only nuclear-powered submarines offer any genuine deterrence.

As well, this magazine and its editor have repeatedly urged the Morrison government to embrace nuclear energy as the only means of re-building our virtually non-existent manufacturing and industrial base given the proclivity or our political leaders to play footsie with the insane concept of ‘net zero’ emissions. Indeed, in our editorial of 10 July, ‘How to win the next election’, we suggested ‘Scott Morrison and the Coalition have a unique opportunity to go to the next election with their own version of the GST: pledging to lift the moratorium on nuclear energy in Australia on the first day of a new parliament. The pitch is simple: “If you really believe in net zero emissions, nuclear power is the only way to get us there whilst keeping us economically strong. But to do so we need a solid majority in both houses of parliament.”  Lifting the moratorium on nuclear power would also allow us to lease or buy US nuclear subs off the shelf as an immediate and powerful deterrent to any malicious intentions being harboured to our north.’

The cleverness of doing it the other way around – first going for the nuclear subs and then, presumably, bringing in our own nuclear energy further down the track – is impressive politics and neatly kills deux oiseaux with one stone. This is undeniably the high point of the Morrison government to date and kudos to all those involved in the decision-making.

Next step, make scrapping the moratorium on nuclear power an election pledge and the Coalition’s credible solution to ‘net zero’ – and leave Labor floundering at the next election.

Lawless Victoria

Dan Andrews has made a mockery of Victorian law and order and, worse, is threatening the very fabric of that great state’s democracy with irrational, illogical, arrogant and cruel restrictions being imposed upon long-suffering Victorians in a manner reminscent of totalitarian East European communist leaders. With goon squad police officers who look – and worse behave – like extras from a dystopian Zombie movie literally hurling little old ladies to the ground and then spraying them with capsicum spray; with the grotesque collectivist punishment of throwing all construction workers on the scrapheap for a fortnight because of the actions of a few; with Bill Shorten’s ludicrous accusation that those protesting are ‘Nazi man-babies’; with the Premier in hiding; and with US politicians calling for sanctions against Australia because of our trashing of basic human rights, perhaps it is time to look for signs of the Almighty’s displeasure with this repellent regime. Hang on, is that an earthquake we can feel?

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