How can Australian submarines, conventional or nuclear propelled, influence the strategic problem of the South China Sea disputes, if at all? (Map courtesy Mike Nudelman/Business Insider)
Australia has a wide area of interest. Submarines are often about places where interests are concentrated... "In peacetime, tension and war they can collect intelligence and conduct surveillance and reconnaissance, clandestinely and a long way from home - knowledge is power". etc - see http://sea1000.gov.au/submarine-essentials/faqs/
4.29 "During the long life of the new submarines, the rapid rate of technological change and ongoing evolution of Australia’s strategic circumstances will continue. As part of the rolling acquisition program, a review based on strategic circumstances at the time, and developments in submarine technology, will be conducted in the late 2020s to consider whether the configuration of the submarines remains suitable or whether consideration of other specifications should commence."
SO MANY QUESTIONS ARE RELEVANT - INCLUDING:
4. Are surface ships adequate for strategic changes or do they need help from submarines?
5. In what scenarios might an SSN be advantageous for Australia?
With relevance to Questions 3, 4 and 5 "KQN" (in Comments, 14/5/16 1:59 AM) indicated along the lines.