Thoughts on Australia as a nuclear power?

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Festerz

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Excellent work from Senator Patrick. With the Labor Party wedged into supporting the Coalition Government on the nuclear subs issue and AUKUS, it seems he is the only politician prepared to ask the obvious questions on what will be the largest single defence expenditure in Australian history.

Defence bureaucrats have a long history of thinking they can avoid public scrutiny because of 'national security' BS. These are not state intelligence secrets that they are being asked to reveal at Estimates Committee hearings. Just general level questions aimed at getting to the bottom of revealing what (and if) some level of basic due diligence was made prior to the PM making a political public announcement on this huge shift in our defence policy.

Little wonder every single major defence spend in recent years has been an absolute cock up financially and strategically and this already has the smell of being the worst ever. They, just like any other public servant, have to understand they have accountability to the public for their decisions.

 
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Hawk Dork

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“If the U.S. is allowing Australia to have access to its nuclear technology,” he added, “it’s because the U.S. expects Australia to be deploying its forces in a potential war with China.”

For now, the Australian government appears to view even that risk as worth taking on. James Curran, a historian of Australian foreign relations at the University of Sydney, called the decision to double down on the United States “the biggest strategic gamble in Australian history.”

“Australia is betting its house,” he said, “on the U.S. maintaining its resolve and will.”

 

Power Raid

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“If the U.S. is allowing Australia to have access to its nuclear technology,” he added, “it’s because the U.S. expects Australia to be deploying its forces in a potential war with China.”

For now, the Australian government appears to view even that risk as worth taking on. James Curran, a historian of Australian foreign relations at the University of Sydney, called the decision to double down on the United States “the biggest strategic gamble in Australian history.”

“Australia is betting its house,” he said, “on the U.S. maintaining its resolve and will.”

perhaps the US will be using Australia's nuclear technology, which is more than likely
 

Festerz

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From who? NZ?
err take a look at the map and have a think.

Maybe from the Indonesians whose territorial waters these nuclear powered boats will have to cross if they are to play a role in the US end game of stopping China's navy from getting their nuclear armed vessels out of the South China Sea and into the station in the Pacific to pose a credible threat to the US.

Which is the only reason why Australia should want to become the only non nuclear-armed nation in the world to want to have nuclear powered subs based in their home ports with long range stealth capabilities.
 
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Hawk Dork

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I was trying to find an article from the NYT yesterday
Basically we have no expertise or enough iodine tablets for every resident of Adelaide in case of a leak
Found it



“Waiting for the next-generation U.K. or U.S. attack submarine would mean an extended capability gap” for Australia, Mr. Taylor wrote in an assessment.

The challenge does not stop with building the submarines. Safeguards to protect sailors and populations, and meet nonproliferation obligations, will require a big buildup of Australia’s nuclear safety expertise.

Residents in some parts of Barrow-in-Furness, the town of 67,000 that is home to Britain’s submarine-building shipyard, are handed iodine tablets as a precaution against possible leaks when reactors are tested.
The Osborne shipyard in South Australia, where Mr. Morrison wants to build the nuclear submarines, sits on the edge of Adelaide, a city of 1.4 million.


Australia operates one small nuclear reactor.
Its sole university program dedicated to nuclear engineering produces about five graduates every year, said Edward Obbard, the leader of the program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Australia would need many thousands more people with nuclear training and experience if it wants the submarines, he said.

“The ramp-up has to start now,” he said.
 

Festerz

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I was trying to find an article from the NYT yesterday
Basically we have no expertise or enough iodine tablets for every resident of Adelaide in case of a leak
These nuclear powered subs will not even start to be built in the next 10 years, if at all, and their power plants will not be fitted or maintained in Adelaide even if they actually do get built.

AUKUS is a short-medium term defence strategy aimed directly at curtailing China aggression over the next 2- 20 years. Seems pretty obvious that it is not dependent on the building of new subs for Australia that won't hit the water until at least 2045 but rather providing base(s) for US (and possibly UK) nuclear powered (and armed) submarines and vessels in Australia.

This is the critical part of the AUKUS announcement that has not even been discussed with the Australian people.
 

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Kwality

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These nuclear powered subs will not even start to be built in the next 10 years, if at all, and their power plants will not be fitted or maintained in Adelaide even if they actually do get built.

AUKUS is a short-medium term defence strategy aimed directly at curtailing China aggression over the next 2- 20 years. Seems pretty obvious that it is not dependent on the building of new subs for Australia that won't hit the water until at least 2045 but rather providing base(s) for US (and possibly UK) nuclear powered (and armed) submarines and vessels in Australia.

This is the critical part of the AUKUS announcement that has not even been discussed with the Australian people.
What does Australia look like if AUKUS does not proceed ?

With a Labor Government looking more likely by the day, will Defence be an issue?

In the 2013-14 Budget brought down under Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government, the Labor government planned to spend 1.59% of GDP on Defence.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the last time we spent below this level was in 1938, when Australia spent 1.55% of GDP on defence.
Other members of the Opposition have also referred to spending being at its lowest level since 1937. But in 1937 we spent far less at 1.06% of GDP.

AND:
Projected versus real spending
However, there are two important caveats to note. First, the numbers can change. After all, budgets are just estimates.

So while the the Gillard Government intended to spend 1.56% of GDP on Defence in 2012-13, it actually spent 1.60% because of later changes to spending and the nation’s GDP.

If the 2013-14 estimate rises just 0.01% it will eclipse the 2012 figure, and thus the comparison with 1938 will no longer be valid.
 

Festerz

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What does Australia look like if AUKUS does not proceed ?

With a Labor Government looking more likely by the day, will Defence be an issue?
My comment was about the observation that the LNP Government has bungled major defence decisions and and foreign diplomatic relations from day 1. And the decision to dump their own submarine contract and to replace it with yet another committee is but one example of that.

Foreign relations and defence for a small country like Australia is far more than just a matter of writing cheques to the US and making hollow promises to others. It requires hard work and nuanced and intelligent long term relationship building and on the ground aid work to our regional neighbours.

Of course when it comes to spending up big on Defence and committing young Australians to questionable conflicts at the behest of the US, the Liberals have no peer. But that spending comes at an enormous cost to other government activities, such as foreign aid and a destruction of our international reputation:


Hopefully with a change of government Australia will start to see a return to a more considered and strategic approach to our international relationships and with it the repair of our once proud international reputation.

And for the record, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which you quoted, has taken an active role in promoting the AUKUS announcement. This should come as no surprise as it was established and it is jointly funded by the US Government, US defence contractors and the Australian Department of Defence. It (and the academics and public speakers it funds) has an overwhelming bias towards AUKUS and pump priming our defence spending with the US.
 

Kwality

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My comment was about the observation that the LNP Government has bungled major defence decisions and and foreign diplomatic relations from day 1. And the decision to dump their own submarine contract and to replace it with yet another committee is but one example of that.

Foreign relations and defence for a small country like Australia is far more than just a matter of writing cheques to the US and making hollow promises to others. It requires hard work and nuanced and intelligent long term relationship building and on the ground aid work to our regional neighbours.

Of course when it comes to spending up big on Defence and committing young Australians to questionable conflicts at the behest of the US, the Liberals have no peer. But that spending comes at an enormous cost to other government activities, such as foreign aid and a destruction of our international reputation:


Hopefully with a change of government Australia will start to see a return to a more considered and strategic approach to our international relationships and with it the repair of our once proud international reputation.

And for the record, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which you quoted, has taken an active role in promoting the AUKUS announcement. This should come as no surprise as it was established and it is jointly funded by the US Government, US defence contractors and the Australian Department of Defence. It (and the academics and public speakers it funds) has an overwhelming bias towards AUKUS and pump priming our defence spending with the US.
My comments were in the context of a change of Government & the greatest threat to the Australian mainland since WW2. IF China takes Taiwan, we are a soft target for China to bring a weak USA (tired of fighting other peoples battles) to the table.
 

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