Would you employ Chris Pyne for $24.5bn?

It’s a rhetorical question because you just did. From defense expert Brian Toohey:

…everything is wrong about the Turnbull government’s decision to build 12 extremely large submarines in Adelaide.

…The government’s refusal to go with an off-the-shelf design will cost more billions, because the first of new submarines won’t be operational until after 2030 and the last until almost 2060.

This means the decrepit Collins class submarines will have to be kept going for more than 20 years beyond their planned 2025 retirement date – necessitating new capital spending and very high maintenance and operating costs that will soon pass $1 billion a year.

Bizarrely, the Turnbull government has decided that the Adelaide shipyard, which built the six Collins submarines, will now build 12 much bigger submarines and nine frigates that will be far larger than the existing Anzac class, which has served the nation well.

The new frigates will be even bigger than the three air warfare destroyers that the shipyard is building now. These are late and over budget, yet the government trusts this shipyard to build submarines costing $50 billion and frigates about $35 billion.

Where were Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann when this decision was taken? The government’s estimates of the added costs of local construction shows it will take more than $20 billion more simply to try to win a couple of Coalition seats in Adelaide.

Even The Australian is choking on the pork:

The Liberals under Tony ­Abbott were alarmed they would lose three federal seats in South Australia: Hindmarsh (1.9 per cent), Boothby (7.1 per cent) and Sturt (10.1 per cent). Sturt is held by Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and fear it would fall to Labor was one of the catalysts for the dumping of Mr Abbott. Mr Pyne was prominent during the submarine announcement.

Mr Turnbull admitted there would be a “premium” to be paid for building a new fleet of submarines in Australia rather than overseas but declared the impact would be “extremely manageable” amid questions over the cost of the landmark decision.

DCNS said the cost “premium” of an all-Australian build would be much less than the 30 per cent some were predicting.

The decision to build all of the submarines in Adelaide will see hundreds of construction workers benefit as a new submarine facility is built at the ASC shipyard and then 2800 jobs created as construction work begins for the new fleet. It is expected that the first steel for the new submarines will be cut in the early 2020s but the first Shortfin Barracuda is not expected to be fully operational until the early 2030s.

It will of course be the reverse. These giant Bondi cigars will end up costing double but we’ll let that go. Even on the conservative $25bn extra we’re going to pay, we get 3000 jobs when the same Coalition Government has just hosed 50k jobs in the car industry into the sea by refusing to pay $500 million. Nor is the industry scalable like vehicle manufacturing, it won’t export a thing and much more of its componentry will be imported than was the case for cars given we don’t have the intellectual property.

Let’s let Prime Minister Turnpork explain himself, from the 7.30 Report:

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: This afternoon the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined 7.30 from Adelaide.

Prime Minister, thank you for coming in.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER: Good evening.

LEIGH SALES: France already has a submarine production facility. It’s built more than 100 subs there, it’s exported them to nine countries and yet the Australian Government is building this local facility here so that sub building work can be done in Australia. Given the cost premium involved, how is this move not a social welfare program at odds with your free market government?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, let me say this to you, Leigh, it is absolutely critical that as far as possible, every dollar that we spend on Defence procurement is spent here in Australia because that drives Australian economic growth and Australian jobs. It drives Australian technology, it drives advanced manufacturing and all of the spin-offs that comes from that. You see, the defence industry operates at the very frontier of innovation and technology and so it serves to pull the rest of the economy along in that regard. There’s a lot of spin-off benefits. So yes, we have a sovereign defence force and we should have a sovereign defence industry with construction here wherever possible in Australia.

LEIGH SALES: I take your point regarding the spin-off benefits, but how much extra is it costing to do the work here in Australia rather than having it all down in France and then exported here?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, you – can I just say to you, the – all three bidders nominated the cost – an order of magnitude, what’s called a rough order of magnitude between building overseas and building in Australia. Such premium as there is is very manageable and …

LEIGH SALES: And what was it exactly in dollar figures?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I can’t go into that with you at this stage, Leigh, I can assure you, but let me just say this to you: you’ve got to remember that these are very complex pieces of machinery. They need to be sustained and maintained in Australia. They need to be built in Australia. And it is a vital part of our national economic plan, our plan to ensure that we have the jobs and growth in the 21st Century economy that we successfully transition from an economy that’s been fuelled up by a mining and construction boom to one that is more diverse. And our Defence white paper, our Defence investment plan is all part of our overall plan for a strong 21st Century economy.

LEIGH SALES: How much of each submarine will be actually built in South Australia?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well the – the submarines will be built in South Australia and the bulk of it – the bulk of the components, the elements in the submarine, will be built in South Australia and elsewhere in Australia, but of course, as with any product of advanced manufacturing in the 21st Century, there is a global supply chain and there will be elements, components that are built in the United States or supplied from France. But the majority, the bulk of it, will be built in Australia and indeed here in South Australia.

LEIGH SALES: And when you say the majority, do you mean, you know, 55 per cent of them will be built in Australia or 95 per cent of them? Is it substantially – you know, is it basically the whole thing or is it, you know, about half?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Leigh, let me restate what my objective is. I am committed to Australia having the strongest Defence capability we can afford to keep us safe. Behind that, we need a strong defence industry. And so wherever we can spend the dollars we commit to getting the capabilities for our Defence Forces in Australia, wherever we can spend those dollars in Australia, we will. So these submarines …

LEIGH SALES: And to test – sorry to interrupt, but to test the veracity of what you’re saying, what I’m asking is: how much of these submarines will be built in Australia? Is it 90 per cent? Is it 50 per cent?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Leigh, the submarine has not yet been designed, so it is – we are working with the French as a design partner. It is going to be based on their latest submarine, their Barracuda submarine, but it is going to be an Australian-French partnership to design a new submarine and the majority of the construction – well all of the construction and the majority of the components, the work that goes into that, will be built in Australia. That’s – that is the – that’s our policy, that’s our commitment and that’s what you’d expect.

LEIGH SALES: What do you say to the suggestion from your enemies that this announcement is about shoring up your political position in South Australia?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The competitive evaluation process was extremely thorough, as we described today, as the Defence Minister described in the press conference today. And what we had was unambiguous advice from our Defence Department, from the independent experts, naval, submarine experts that assisted us – unambiguous advice that the French proposal represented the best capabilities for our unique needs. Now the proposals from Germany and from Japan were excellent and had great capabilities, but the French one was the superior one for our needs and that is why we’re proceeding with them.

LEIGH SALES: Just one quick question before we move off this. Have you spoken personally to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about this?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Yes, I have.

LEIGH SALES: And what did the – what was the content of the conversation, broadly?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, can I say to you that we – the – in all of my discussions with Prime Minister Abe, including the most recent one, each of us shared our unwavering commitment to our strong, special strategic partnership with Japan, which will become stronger in the years ahead …

LEIGH SALES: Nonetheless, Japan’s put out a statement to say this is deeply regrettable.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: … and part of that is our trilateral relationship with the United States.

LEIGH SALES: The Japanese have put out a statement to say that this decision’s deeply regrettable.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well it is – we can clearly understand their disappointment at not being successful in the competitive evaluation process.

So, the PM does not know how much is built in Australia because the sub is not designed yet but that is a rigorous process for a $50 billion dollar spend? This is just another hair-brained scheme from a sinking PM.

Two things at least are clear. Chris Pyne’s Cheshire cat grin is worth $24.5bn and there is no cheque too big, no price too high, for PM Turnbull to buy power.

Comments

  1. An observation from the US on their current circus, which equally applies,well, everywhere!
    “Politicians today will do anything to get re-elected, even if it is to the detriment of their constituency. They have lost sight of what their jobs really are, and are more like rock stars seeking the spotlight than legislators.”
    What was the new ‘news’ show I saw the other day on Sky? Pyne and Pork….or something like that….Marles, that’s right. No difference….

    • Hang on, this is defence, so what if it costs a couple of billion more to provide a few jobs! Seriously? The national NBN will cost several hundred billion and be technically obsolete in ten years! In fact at the time it was conceived it was at risk of being obsolete. Yet you and many others decried all its purported benefits – it was going to transform this nation… bollocks then, bollocks now.

      I would be more worried about the technical capabilities!! We just got the wrong subs… to appease one of our neighbours! We have the F35 coming, worlds best fighter jet, that cannot use pylons because its stealth capability would be compromised. So it can defend a realistic 400-500km operation radius around Darwin. Now we have a sub which is similar! Great for the Mediterranean, or running around short stints in the North Sea.

      Pushing populist buttons with no regard to the real issues. I know it makes headlines, maybe I like the idea of a national defence industry – and why not, a few jobs here and there… Who cares?

      Think of it as insurance, hope you never use it – seems a bit of a waste of money, but by God you will be happy you have some when the ballon goes up. It takes decades upon decades to establish.

      • Somewhat agree with the defense argument but once again you show you are absolutely clueless about the NBN. Had it been done proper the main part of it (installation of optical fibre) would have been futureproof, not obsolete in 10 years like this crap NBN redux now being deployed.

        Yes, active bits such as switches and routers will always evolve, as will protocols, but that is not specific to the NBN. It’s all about getting a reliable physical transport layer in place. Alas, that opportunity is out of the window.

        Your argument is the equivalent of saying copper should never have been installed… Got some good years out of that I believe.

      • Wireless… Developing Nations are not resorting to wires/cables in any shape or form. Do you have a mobile phone? Imagine what it was like three years ago – now imagine in five or even ten years!

        Want a video conference in deepest darkest Africa – I have seen what can be achieved today… not a telephone cable to be found for hundreds of kilometres.

      • As far as I’m concerned mobiles are still about 495 Mbps behind what my friends overseas are getting through their fibre to the home connection. Imagine what that fibre can do in 10 years time (amazing how apparently technological advances are limited to wireless only)!

        You are clearly not up to speed with the propagation limits of radio and the bandwidth limits imposed by physics. Not to mention the scarcity of spectrum, which is already a huge issue.

        Oh well, not going to argue more. There is no room for evidence based argumentation in this country.

      • Cost – and in the future (I am assured) potentially usable speeds…

        My fathers neighbour was in charge of a rival bid against the Telstra NBN plan, it would have covered 90% of the original plan (which is considerably less now). Cost $800m plus – versus tens of billions, and is now ~$200bn if you add in the annuity to Telstra.

        Thats was two wireless generations ago. Even if it blew out 500%, it would only be $4bn. Not only that, it would have been constantly updated…

        Do have to say though – H&H hit the nail on the head about the car industry. Totally. Cheap as chips support. I don’t think the two (car industry and defence are comparable) – but just to say that soon we will be the only top 20 OECD country without a car industry! Moreover, our manufacturing prowess will be less than Luxembourg on a GDP basis. With a crashing mining industry, potentially down for decades, its going to be tough gig…

      • I’m going to call bollocks on that. It does explain your comments if you really believe that yourself.

        Read this carefully, especially the bit about Shannon’s Law.
        http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/truth-about-wireless-bandwidth-crisis.html

        Bandwidth within one optical fiber is vastly greater than all the bandwidth that might theoretically be made available for mobile communications, even if every megahertz were to be refarmed for mobile services.

      • macrofishMEMBER

        Wireless and fibre use the same forms of technology (radio is just light..) to communicate so its all about the medium. As fibre is a control medium it will always be better then wireless and if it hits a wall at some stage wireless would have hit the same wall alot sooner.

      • I am not arguing the physics mate – don’t be a dork, it doesn’t translate into real life abilities! In any acquisition, there is a value cost proposition – all I am suggesting was it was Rudd and his arrogance that got it totally wrong – and it will be eventually totally obsolete. IMHO the NBN was a dud from day one. Despite the BS politics surrounding it. We were putting in a Ferrari instead of a Toyota Camry. 30 to 40 years ago, most Ferrari’s aren’t as fast as a modern Camry today, and certainly don’t handle as well. Similar analogy.

        Look, I care not, its spilt milk. Its history. All we are doing is just talk, talk, talk…

      • macrofishMEMBER

        I work with radio everyday (working for one of the 3 mobile network carriers) and its going nowhere fast without femtocells. What do we need to do femtoscells? lots and lots of fibre.

      • He he. For all the derisive comments about Zimbabwe you read here, you can get fibre to your home there. They started replacing copper with fibre over 10 years ago.

      • Do you know what really bloody irks me? Dickheads who hide behind the notion of ‘IMHO’ when they have zero fucking clue what they are talking about, which some how they use to validate their bullshit, example: Researhtime.

      • Cool – stick to writing posts, its your arrogance and lack of knowledge that trips you up all the time… do more Research!!!

    • New $50 Billion Submarine Contract To Secure Job In Adelaide

      A new project to build 12 submarines in Adelaide will lock in as many as one job in South Australia, Government modelling shows.

      Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the multi-billion contract would be a boon for people working in the manufacturing industry and for the member for Sturt. But mainly the member for Sturt.

      “This contract will secure Australia, secure our island nation, and secure the job of Australia’s most annoying man,” he said.

      Innovation, Industry & Science Minister Christopher Pyne said it was an exciting time to be a South Australian. “What this shows is that if you ask for something enough, ask for it over and over and over again, until everyone around you can no longer stand the sound of your voice, then keep asking a little bit more, eventually you’ll get what’s right for this state”.

      http://www.theshovel.com.au/2016/04/26/new-50-billion-submarine-contract-to-secure-job-in-adelaide/

    • Spend the money on hiring unemployed car industry workers to build wind turbines, not frickin’ subs! 💡

  2. So frigates and subs worth $85 Billion to South Australia and nothing for Victorian roads and transport ?

    $85 Billion for Pynes job but can’t spend an extra $5 Billion on Australia’s NBN ?

    But here is the real rub – there will not be manned subs within 20 years – no chance. There wont be manned subs within ten. Why would you have a manned sub when you can have a drone sub which can carry more weapons, better communications, is stealthier and can travel faster ?

    It is seriously beyond absurd to think that we will continue to use manned subs.

    This is one of the single worst decisions ever made.

    • It is seriously beyond absurd to think that we will continue to use manned subs.

      The very existence of the possibility that drone subs will be available in the next era should be enough reason to delay this sub decision. I agree it’s a dreadful move by the conservatives.

    • Kant – you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. They (ships/subs) will be manned in hundreds of years time. Yes certain functions automated – but a war is a war. Subs are multifaceted attack defence weapons which always need on board experts.

      The video game generation think they actually know something about defence – because they have played battleships! FFS.

      • You are really rude. You only get away with it because people are too polite to respond.

      • How can you say fibre will be superceded by wireless (you understand bandwidth and how it works) but you can’t see unmanned subs superceding manned subs?

        Seems like cognitive dissonance applied selectively

      • I don’t apologise, if you want to talk BS, do it somewhere else… if you actually know something put up.

      • R2M – same for tanks, automated defence systems. It does not negate what subs are used for – do you realise that? Do you actually know what they do, their functional capabilities?

        A Roman solider may be armoured differently that someone today – but a solider in several hundred years time will still be recognisable. And in the advent of a major regional or international conflict, potential several million on a single side… you had better hope you have lots of those capable drones, aka Star Wars to even the numbers! But it still won’t be enough… War is war, the weapons change, but people count.

      • Almost everything… so pointless discussion.

        Just to say, Europe, that bastion of civilisation, whose population never exceeded 500m, lost over 20% of its entire population between 1914 and 1945… and to point out, that even at its peak, Germany never had less that two thirds of its army against the Russians, and they were getting steam rolled. The cost to the Russians though was terrible beyond belief. the population effects they are still feeling today. In fact they are in a precipitous demographic decline.

        Lets hope none of us see days like that in our life times…

      • If cars can drive themselves in something as complex as traffic, then subs can operate on software. You can program in instructions whenever it surfaces. I cannot see the advantage of a manned sub … a manned sub is many times larger, many times more expensive. For the price of one manned sub you can have 20 unmanned.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        A nuclear submarine, positioned to launch a nuclear retalitary attack against the opponent after a nuclear strike will always be manned. That is not what Australia is building.
        When the purpose is to survey and/or take down enemy ships, human is not required. Unmanned subs can be cheaper, faster, and last longer under water.

      • Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the chief of U.S. Office of Naval Research, unveiled the giant yellow submersible in April at the Navy League’s Sea, Air, Space expo. At the time, Winter underscored the Navy’s need for an unmanned, underwater vehicle will be able to deploy for weeks, months, and years.

        “I am continuously amazed with the underwater breakthrough technologies in power, power generation, and navigation and sense and avoid,” Winter said. “When people say, ‘I can’t see that happening. There’s no way that can be,’ I say, ‘Excellent! Put that on ONR’s list.’”

        http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/10/navy-plans-deploy-submarine-drone-squadron-2020/123179/

      • Heard an interesting discussion how these manned subs could be used as bases/motherships for smaller drone subs, so don’t think it is as simple as unmanned drones completely replacing manned subs. And you are not going to get a better hidden mobile base than a sub. Surface ships probably becoming less relevant as too easy to detect.

      • When the purpose is to survey and/or take down enemy ships, human is not required. Unmanned subs can be cheaper, faster, and last longer under water.

        When are we going to get unmanned courtrooms, do you think ?

        Actually scratch that. If we’re going to outsource moral judgement to computers, the accused don’t even need to leave their cells !

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      RT’s eagerness to restart the crusades, and standard level of ignorance about anything other than mining aside, how are you going to communicate with your drone subs at low latencies with high bandwidth to control them ?

      Or are these subs going to be our first Terminators and no human hand plays a part in when, where and at what, they shoot ?

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        Communication is not the problem. Staying hidden while communicating is another matter, but that applies to manned subs as well. A submarine commander don’t shoot torpedoes at ships without a commands.

      • Submarines come close to the surface to fire torpedoes, or used to in WWII. Small drone subs could do the same and get instructions realtime from an antenna, if needs be

      • Communication is not the problem. Staying hidden while communicating is another matter, but that applies to manned subs as well. A submarine commander don’t shoot torpedoes at ships without a commands.

        Communications ARE the problem. All those drones flying around the middle east have humans at the controls when it comes to shooting at stuff – they don’t just run some program and decide themselves whether or not to engage.

        So if you want unmanned subs, either you need some form of fairly high bandwidth, low-latency way to communicate with them (so the “sub commanders” sitting in the Nebraskan desert can push the big red button) OR you need to enable the robot subs to have some software that decides – with no human hand involved – whether or not to engage a target.

        The latter is the point at which they become Terminators. Taking the decision whether or not to kill out of human hands is not something that should be taken lightly.

      • Is that what we’re going to use Aussie subs for, Dr Smithy, terminating ships or perhaps refugee boats? Or more sensibly are they going to perform a reconnaissance role, which a drone can easily do?

      • Tens of billions spent on metal tubes to hunt phantom enemies is deeply offensive, so that part is already accomplished
        ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

      • I am really struggling to understand why you are OK with drone subs, but not OK with manned subs.

  3. Ronin8317MEMBER

    To admit that there is no number because ‘it has not been designed yet’ shows it’s another policy on the fly. With Bill Shorten set to announce a carbon tax today, I expect MT to come out and say ‘human-cause global warmimg is a myth’. It is a reverse ‘Dorian Gray’, the picture remains pretty while the man becomes a monster.
    John Howard’s article yesterday on the Port Arthur massacare mentioned how a politician need to spend ‘political capital’ for worthwhile causes is true for politicians. It is not something you can bank. MT had 6 months : he did nothing with it, and now it is gone.

  4. Sturt is held by Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and fear it would fall to Labor was one of the catalysts for the dumping of Mr Abbott

    Well they’ll be glad to know that those fears were unfounded. Like hell I’d vote Labour when I can vote for the NXT fellow!

    I might sacrifice a small goat in hope for political deadlock out of the next election. That, I see, as probably the healthiest thing for Australia and the parties.

    • I don’t understand, the previous Labor government had excellent policies but poor leadership. Whats the problem with Labor ?

      • I do like some people in Labor. Arthur Calwell was good. Most before his time were good too. The party was good in those times- great, even.

        Hamster’s dead, but the wheel is still spinning.

  5. surflessMEMBER

    This is worst the the current flying lemon the F35, the waste of trillions of dollars in defence spending is beyond belief. First question I have to ask, is the specialise steel required actual could be manufactured in Australia? Australia has signed all those wonderful FTA’s, probably the Chinese will enact clauses within the FTA to demand that Chinese company’s tender for the steel. So in the end, French design subs with steel imported from china welded by 457 visa holders. Yes the mincing poodle is worth a trillion dollars.

  6. Will these things be able to carry nuclear warhead-equipped cruise missiles? If not, why not?

  7. “These giant Bondi cigars …”. Pure poetry. But I couldn’t work out whether you were referring to the subs or to Messrs Turnbull and Pyne.

  8. St JacquesMEMBER

    Keeping the car industry going, along with its supply chain of hundreds of companies doing everything from supplying the chemicals for the special paints, alloys and plastics to the specialist engineering services was costing every Australian a monumental 5 lattes a year and was the basis for over 150 000 jobs across Australia when the job multiplier is calculated and provided a source of experienced engineers across many disciplines for other industries as diverse as mining and food processing.

    The subs, we’ll build the hulls, provide a few thousand jobs at monumental cost to the nation, provide hardly any defence that could not be provided by an amped up airforce and surface navy (convoy defence) at a fraction of the cost. This is utterly beyond words. This is just another example of why Parliament in its current form is an utter failure, a joke, a farce, a FRIGGING CIRCUS FULL OF SOCIOPATHIC CLOWNS!!!

    • This how the Swiss do it. Maybe we can learn from them.
      JAS 39 Gripen procurement. (Referendum May 2014) 1,345,726 votes for (46.59%) 1,542,761 against (53.41%) 52,649 invalid. Total votes: 2,941,136 Registered voters: 5,221,519 Turnout: 56.33%

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Exactly, and exactly what I always have in mind compared to the medieval wrecking ball called the Westminster system. An informed democracy? Burkean responsibility? WOT A FRIGGING JOKE !!!!

    • Agree. I always argued that we should have kept the car industry for the reasons you outlined above. But lot of y took the “we should stand on our own feet” bait from Abbot, turnbull and rest of the clowns including pyne. However, I doubt anyone will point out this fact to any of them.

    • What is this anti-Australian claptrap? We don’t measure things in Lattes. We measure them in midis, or legs of lamb. Please correct your figures and re-post.

  9. let’s do some math:
    $25b is $25000000000 for 3000 jobs (let’s say 3500)
    that is $7.15m per job

    I can almost guarantee 3499 of them would agree to receive half of that and lose job right now.

    There is only one explanation for this behaviour of Liberal party politicians: corruption – someone (probably more of them) somewhere received not less than $1b (probably more)
    Australia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world at the very top and one of the least at the bottom of society

    • Remember, these are politicians. They are lying about the number of jobs – 1500 FTE is probably more accurate at a spend of 50 billion.

      About 30mil per job! One of which is Private Pyne.

  10. Hare-brained. I mention this only so the article can achieve the widest possible exposure with its head held high.

  11. I don’t know why they think the seats are now suddenly safe. I suspect that NXT will cause mighty chaos in SA and with the lose of maybe 10 other seats we will be in hung parliament territory again.

  12. Dumb Dumb Dumb.

    Dumb on a an scale of dumbness that Australian politics, itself uniquely dumb in its own right, has not seen before.

  13. Another example of politicians doing what is best for them, not what’s best for the country. Short termism at its best.

    • Yes i would be surprised if more than half the current number expected would actually end up being constructed. This order of 12 is political sophistry designed to shore up coalition votes. Its more likely we end up with no more than 6 when the time comes.

  14. Would actually, literally be cheaper to build the subs overseas and give one million dollars compensation EACH to the 3000 laid-off workers.

  15. PolarBearMEMBER

    Agree with the pork arguments. But how is Brian Toohey a Defence expert in regards to submarine capability?

  16. Not to detract from the article, but almost every military systems procurement is late and over budget, no matter how good the system ends up being. The procurement system is basically designed to guarantee this outcome.

  17. “the decrepit Collins class submarines”

    It is a gross and unfair overstatement to say the collins class as they are now are decrepit. They are currently quite functional and effective. Yes there were cost over runs and design and manufacturing mistakes. They have been corrected. The problems can be squarely laid at the feet of the builder and its bad project management and likely sub skilled staff in key areas. That project should not have been undertaken without a partnership with a experienced ship builder with a proven track record running the show.

    • The Computer hardware issues were not great but it is not like they were the first military system to be running on out of date technology.
      The classic is the US nuclear deterrence system’s ICBM are still booted from 8-inch floppy disks. Good thing they are unlikely to every be needed.

  18. adelaide_economist

    Ugh. Disappointing from Toohey. His general thesis is that every new procurement is pointless because sensor technology means they will all be shot out of the sky/sea/ground before they know what’s happening. OK, so that being so, why is every country on the planet still building and deploying those ‘pointless’ platforms, including the Chinese and Russians who supposedly have these mythical unstoppable and infallible weapons?

    The numberwang is amazing. The submarine build is estimated at $20bn total. The other $30bn of the headline $50bn is maintenance and payable regardless. Even if the 30% build premium is true, that’s about $7bn extra, not $25bn. Add in the taxes paid on labour and local supply and the net cost to the Federal Government can’t be far off equal.

    There is no off the shelf submarine that works for Australia if we don’t go nuclear powered. It is a geographic reality. We are a huge island continent and all the conventional submarines, “off the shelf”, have a range that is hugely less than the Collins.

    Maintenance costs for Collins may well be high but any government could have made this same decision five years ago and didn’t. Welcome to inefficient democracy.

  19. Now if Pyne really was into job creation he would start construction of a star destroyer immediately. According to StarWars wiki those things need a crew of 30000. Now that’s what I’m talking about as far as job creation goes.

  20. Nuclear subs are to dangerous for Ozzie sailors…they will blow themselves out of the water!

    • We don’t need them. Nuke subs are louder and emit more thermal wake than electric. We don’t have any nukes that we need to sit off of the coast of an enemy, so we don’t need the range or ability to stay underwater indefinitely.

  21. This is QE via defence spending. The decision is not about the best subs but propping up the economy.

  22. If we think $500m was going to keep the car industry in Australia then we are really dumb. That was never gonna happen & you all were never gonna buy enough OZ cars for them to stay, so don’t make up bullsh?t. We had all collectively voted with our wallets at least 10 to 20 years ago.