THE HON MICHAEL DANBY MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION,
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR MELBOURNE PORTS
Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (12:19): I bow to no-one in this chamber in being interested indeed an admirer of Japanese culture and a supporter of the Japanese nation and people.
I was very proud of the fact that, when Prime Minister Abe was here in this chamber, I was mentioned in dispatches by him as one of the members of parliament in the opposition who were friends and supporters of Japan. But can you think of a project that is as big as the Future Submarine project that ought not to be seen and examined by the Australian public. It ought be something they support because they can understand it clearly and openly as its purpose is vital for the defence of Australia. The tender for the replacement, Australians would hope, are being done at the best price and the best value to achieve the best result for the defence of Australia.
Collins class submarines are often denigrated around this country, our pervious build and current system. But that was not the opinion I got from the admiral in charge of CINCPAC when he received a picture of an American aircraft carrier that had been taken from the periscope of a Collins class submarine. To suggest Adelaide should not be involved in building submarine capability in the defence of Australia’s future is a patently ridiculous idea. Australia has a strategic problem. Australia is very far from other places and we need conventionally powered submarines which can travel very long distances. The idea that existing Japanese or German submarines of even the most advanced variety can do the distances from Western Australia to North Asia, without surfacing and can be rolled off a Japanese assembly line without complications or conforming to our strategic imperative is patently ridiculous.
Even Japan’s new great Soryu class submarine, which is named after the aircraft carrier that was sunk at the Battle of Midway, cannot do it; it does not have the range and it would have to be substantially modified. What better way is there than to have an open process, as suggested by this Labor Senate amendment, so the Australian people can understand whether these suggestions from various countries have the capability to do what they need to do for the defence of Australia. I strongly support this amendment and I think it is a very important suggestion from the Senate that should be implicated.