Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the current submarine dispute with France a “national security and foreign policy debacle” for his country.
France had “every right to be angry” over the sudden loss of a multi-million dollar submarine contract with Australia, after Canberra chose to buy US nuclear submarines instead. He also called for a parliamentary inquiry into Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd rejected Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s argument that a switch to the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) alliance would satisfy Australia’s national security interests, primarily the growing threat from China.
Rudd said that when he was in power a decade ago, the threat from China was already a major priority and the main reason behind the initial submarine deal with France.
Rudd said France has “every right to be angry” about the canceled deal, and expressed concern that the diplomatic crisis will have long-lasting and damaging effects on the bilateral relationship.
The Australian government should have notified the French government and the French company that builds the submarines of their intentions to switch from diesel-powered submarines to submarines.
He added that instead of simply choosing the American bid, Canberra should have let France compete in a new open tender. In addition, he claimed that the decision would delay the delivery of submarines and leave his country “naked” during the 2030s.
Finally, Rudd called for a parliamentary inquiry into the decision, emphasizing that Australian taxpayers needed to know precisely how the decision unfolded and how much it will cost them.