By Andrew Bolt ~
There are many troubling things about Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s submarines deal and on Monday I will reveal perhaps the most dangerous.
Can there possibly be an upside to Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to squander billions of taxpayers’ dollars building 12 French submarines in South Australia? It’s hard to think of one.
Of course, there are potentially critical South Australian seats at stake in the coming election and Turnbull no doubt believes it’s worth every penny to ensure that the Australian people are not deprived of his greatness. But surely there were cheaper ways to buy off the South Australians.
With a 30 to 40 per cent local cost premium as a starting point and the history of the Collins class submarine to go by, the federal government could have hired all the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) workers to do nothing and the taxpayer would have been billions of dollars better off – because at least they wouldn’t have been making grossly overpriced submarines…
Turnbull may see himself as a reformer, but it’s unnerving to see how easily he slips into the role of craven protectionist.
More damage done, says Greg Sheridan:
Australia’s standing in Japan, our most important geo-strategic partner in Asia, is deeply diminished as a result of the decision to reject its offer to build 12 new submarines for us…
Many Japanese believe Malcolm Turnbull kowtowed to the Chinese, folding under their unsubtle pressure. The Japanese also believe they were collateral damage in Turnbull’s intense hostility to Japan’s friend, Tony Abbott. These views may be completely unjustified but they are widespread.
Some influential Japanese are even starting to publicly question Australia’s reliability as a strategic partner. There is a sense of Australia not being altogether a serious country.
That important Japanese are saying these things in public ought to give Canberra the most serious pause for reflection… Official Japanese reaction was measured but did not try to conceal Tokyo’s shock and hostility at the outcome.
“The decision was deeply regrettable,” said Japan’s Defence Minister, Gen Nakatani, who demanded a full explanation from Canberra…
Seiji Kihara, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs … confirmed that even at the highest levels Japan had expected, right up until the devastating leak against it, that it would be successful…
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.