August 23, 2018

A New Australian PM May Revisit the Naval Group Future Submarine Decision

Australia's latest political instabilities are again causing worry, quick meetings and rewritten briefs by journalists, bureaucrats, admirals and foreign diplomats in Canberra. Australia has had 6 new Prime Ministers (PMs) in the last 10 years and every new PM revisits past decisions.

And here is but a mild assessment of the knife-edge on which the Australian polity sits.

By 5pm Australian Eastern Time, Friday 24 August, Australia may no longer have the PM (Turnbull) and the other Australian Ministers who chose the French Naval Group (was DCNS) Shortfin Submarine in 2016.

The conservative Liberal Peter Dutton may have been voted PM in the secret party room ballot likely on 24 August.

Dutton may conceivably appoint Tony Abbott as Defence Minister. Abbott was/is very pro Abe of Japan on security and weapon system acquisition issues.

Abbott may wish to revisit the decision not to choose the Japanese modified Soryu as Australia's future submarine type.

Abbott may argue that the French Shortfin is too expensive, only in the design phase and paying out penalties on contracts to select the Shortfin may be worth it.

So with Australia's latest bout of political uncertainty executives of Naval Group Australia may also have reason to be nervous.


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