November 9, 2017

Australian Tribunal Permits Naval Group To Bar Any Chinese & Russian Employees

Submarine Matters has long expressed concern about submarine companies that operate in Australia employing current or former citizens of China. See the last paragraph of SubMatt’s 2015 article.

This concern is more widely held as an interesting article of November 8, 2017 by Tory Shepherd, State Editor of Adelaide’s Advertiser, reveals. This is a small portion of the Advertiser article. I have added the links below:

“Ruling means submarine designers Naval Group can stop Chinese, Russians from getting work

THE winners of the $50 billion Future Submarines project have been granted freedom to discriminate against certain nationalities to protect top-secret information from spies.
The exemption from discrimination laws means French designers Naval Group will be able to reject job applicants from countries including China and Russia, stopping them from getting on to the Osborne site.
...Now, the South Australian Employment Tribunal has granted Naval Group immunity from the Equal Opportunity Act, which usually stops companies discriminating on the basis of nationality.
The tribunal found it was in the public interest to grant the exemption because without it, SA might lose some work on the 12 submarines being built for the Royal Australian Navy.
... [Shortfin] will use combat systems from the US. The US has a list of banned countries [including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran] within its International Traffic in Arms Regulations...."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

Interesting article. I find the reasons for not employing Chinese and Russians valid, but also future problems as well, since most Aussies can't tell the difference between different Asian nationalities, and the potential for deliberate discrimination to spread to other areas of employment.

On a different issue, do you have any idea about the success rate of ASW naval ships vs submarines? Every time I read about such things online, the sub is the winner. Is it really so one sided? I wonder, because the SEA 5000 decision is approaching soon, and the Navantia has 48 missile cells vs 32 for the FREMM and Type 26. Perhaps it's better to have 1 sub and 1 frigate with more missiles in an attack or patrol pairing, than 1-2 ASW frigate with little hope of survival and also fewer missiles. Those extra 16 cells = 64 ESSM.

Thanks for your time and excellent blog.

Adrian

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Adrian

I think Australian authorities would be looking at formal Chinese citizenship records (passports, visas, birth certificates) more than Chinese ethnicity. Ethnicicity might mistakenly rule out ethnic Chinese who have been in Australia since the gold rushes - 1850s onwards and Singaporeans etc.

No I'm not aware of the latest submarine vs ASW ship/helicopter/patrol aircraft studies as the most comprehensive would be highly classified. So we have to rely on 10-20 year old press releases that various submarine nationalities eg. Collins-Aussie/Rubis-French/Gotland-Swedish have "sunk" US aircraft carriers in exercises.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

I would concur with Pete, ethnic Chinese can come from many places. Some would be quite questionable, others not so much. As well as China, there are considerable number of Chinese in Australia from allies such as Tiawan, Malaysia & Singapore as well as those who have been in this country for generations (many of which can no longer speak either of the 2 main Chinses languages). There are ethnic Russians here that have arrived relavently recently, others from the communist takeover period & before. It is not uncommon in Defence & defence industry to restrict employment to only certain citizenships (national security concerns). However recently aquired citizenship is a real risk & considering the numbers of people expected to be employed, its simpler to allow the company broader exceptions than to try & send everyone off to ASIO to be fully checked out (& its nearly impossible to be certain of any data coming from within Russia or China). A great deal can be learnt when looking at large scale construction without the need to obtain access to actual drawings & the like.

As to subs v ASW, you also need to remember the ocean is a very large place & modern subs are not just dependant on torpedoes (which require you to get relatively close). Sub launch versions of anti-ship misiles such as Harpoon, Exocet, NSM etc can be fired from torpedo tubes (Collins uses Sub-Harpoon) & some subs can fire 1000km misiles such as Tomahawk & SCALP Naval. Some also carry anti-helicopter misiles. While ASW has certainly improved markedly, the area to search has also drasticly enlarged as has the attack capabilities of the subs.

Regards

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 16/11/17 1:26 AM]

Yes overseas Chinese and those who have lived in Australia for many decades need sensitive, experienced vetting treatment.

The ethnic Russian issues are even more complex because there are many ethnic Russians who have been citizens from outlying satellite republics of the old USSR (eg. the Baltic states (Estonia etc).

Also some citizens from the old Warsaw Pact states (eg. East Germany) may retain some sleeper allegiance to Russia.

Submarine technology is high on Russia's (and China's) intelligence to-do list - to build subs and for ASW reasons.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

One reason Austal was forced to build in the US rather than Henderson was because the USN handed them a list of banned Nationalities, a practice they regarded at the time as illegal in WA.