“Modern Liberal” Julie Bishop plays petty factional politics over submarines

Yesterday, ADVANCE wrote about how “modern Liberal” Andrew Constance is the worst state Transport Minister in Australian history. Today, we’re taking aim at former Foreign Minister and avid Turnbull loyalist Julie Bishop for being possibly the most hypocritical former Liberal minister in history. 

As reported yesterday by The Sydney Morning Herald, Julie Bishop has sided with the French over the Morrison government’s brilliant decision to legally rip up the French submarine deal.

“I suspect Australia kept the AUKUS announcement out of France, in fact, I’m sure they did; but the question of how we reneged on the submarine contract is unfortunate,” she said.

“It was a huge contract for France, and let’s face it, we were the ones who said we couldn’t take nuclear submarines … I don’t think we should double down against the French. I think we have to work overtime to mend the relationship and restore the trust that they clearly think is gone.”

Do us all a favour, Julie: enjoy your taxpayer-funded parliamentary pension and rack off! 

Australians don’t have short memories. 

We all know you were behind the knifing of Tony Abbott on behalf of your best buddie Malcolm Turnbull. 

We know Malcolm Turnbull and your factional ally Christopher Pyne were responsible for the delayed, over-budget, technologically obsolete French submarine deal that Morrison decided to rip up.

Even worse, we all know you were the Foreign Minister when Turnbull backed away from the Japanese Soryu submarine deal brokered by Abbott in favour of the French.

Where was your concern for Australia’s “international reputation” then? 

For those who don’t know, Tony Abbott decided to purchase 12 affordable, cutting edge, off-the-shelf Japanese Soryu submarines deliverable by the mid-2020s.

However, when Turnbull and co. knifed him, they pulled out of the deal – a decision that upset far more important allies than France. 

As Greg Sheridan wrote after Turnbull announced after the French won the contract (even though Japan was the leading contender since 2013), “many Japanese believe Malcolm Turnbull kowtowed to the Chinese, folding under their unsubtle pressure.”

“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,” he said.

Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Kihara also weighed in, declaring “it is very disappointing that we were not chosen … because the submarine was the symbol of Japan-Australia defence co-operation, and Japan brought both the civilian and government [sectors] together on the project.” 

As if it couldn’t get any more embarrassing, the United States agreed.

According to a paper launched by the US Assistant Secretary of Defence Robert Scher, “subject to being satisfied that the Japanese submarine proposal will meet capability requirements, minimise risks and provide value for money, Australia’s final decision on its replacement submarine capability should reflect the substantial strategic and operational benefits of partnering with Japan (which do not exist in the case of France or Germany).”

Well, considering the Soryu submarines are cheaper than the French diesel-subs (with a unit cost of around $800-900 million) and feature cutting edge high-speed discharge energy cells – increasing range, speed and tactical movability – one can assume the US was on Japan’s side.    

Hence, former senior Asia director at the US National Security Council Mike Green said, “senior US officials and military officers are in no doubt both as to the superior capability of the Japanese Soryu class and to the long-term strategic benefits to the US and the region of an interoperable fleet of Australian and Japanese conventional submarines.”

Thanks Malcolm Turnbull, Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop!

Not only has the reputation of Australia as a strategic partner been undermined in the eyes of our Japanese and American allies, but now we’re likely to have no submarines in the early-mid 2030s with the Collins Class set to retire and it still being unclear when the new American/British nuclear subs will arrive.

To think Julie Bishop is happy to play pathetic factional politics when it comes to decisions of such significance, shows the true threat the “modern Liberal” faction really pose to our national security…