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Morrison Kept Key Officials in Dark About Cancelling Submarine Deal With France For AUKUS – Document

Morrison Kept Key Officials in Dark About Cancelling Submarine Deal With France For AUKUS – Document

Last September, Australia, the US, and the UK announced the trilateral AUKUS pact. At the same time, the then Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, also… 16.09.2022, Sputnik International

2022-09-16T07:55+0000

2022-09-16T07:55+0000

2022-09-16T07:55+0000

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Australia’s defense officials negotiating with France for the multi-billion-dollar submarine deal were “kept in the dark” until the day the AUKUS pact was announced, a leaked 10-page document revealed on Friday.The document is written by Kim Gillis, who was involved in the original decision to choose the French bid for the conventional submarines and the contract negotiations with France.Former Australian defense official Gillis refuted almost every claim – including that of high costs – the Scott Morrison government made against the French submarine deal while announcing the AUKUS pact with the US and UK.The former Australian defense official said that the Naval Group and the Macron government had not received an iota of notification from the Australian negotiators that the Morrison government would scrap the deal.The 10-page document, written for those involved in the negotiation, indicated that only a handful of people within the Australian defense establishment were aware that the plan with France would be scrapped.Gillis said the Commonwealth Contract Manager had been exuding confidence and conveyed happiness about the deal’s progress in every meeting.Gillis also rejected reports claiming that 12 submarines from France would cost more than AUD$90Bln ($60Bln) under the deal. “Any reference to the cancellation with Naval Group of a AUD$90Bln contract is a deliberate lie and a total misrepresentation of the program,” Gillis said.The revelation came as a result of the Albanese government launching an inquiry against former Prime Minister Morrison for “bulldozing” the democratic process by acting in secret and without the knowledge of the cabinet.Last month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese accused Morrison of undermining democracy by secretly holding five additional ministries, including Health, Treasury, and home affairs, until the Coalition’s election loss in May.After the French deal was jettisoned in favor of the nuclear submarine AUKUS deal, France dumped Australia from its strategic partnership list as Paris labeled the scrapping “without prior consultation or warning” as a betrayal.Under the AUKUS pact, the Royal Australian Navy would receive US and British nuclear reactor technology to build the subs in its shipyards.In the end, Gillis, who confirmed that he wrote the 10-page document, hopes that “Australians can recover this relationship with France as well as recover our reputation as a country that operates with integrity and honesty”.

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Rishikesh Kumar - Sputnik International

Last September, Australia, the US, and the UK announced the trilateral AUKUS pact. At the same time, the then Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, also scrapped a multi-billion French submarine deal, resulting in a diplomatic face-off between the two countries.

Australia’s defense officials negotiating with France for the multi-billion-dollar submarine deal were “kept in the dark” until the day the AUKUS pact was announced, a leaked 10-page document revealed on Friday.

The document is written by Kim Gillis, who was involved in the original decision to choose the French bid for the conventional submarines and the contract negotiations with France.

Former Australian defense official Gillis refuted almost every claim – including that of high costs – the Scott Morrison government made against the French submarine deal while announcing the AUKUS pact with the US and UK.

“The problem was that there was an alternative strategy being developed behind closed doors and outside the accepted contractual processes,” Gillis said.

The former Australian defense official said that the Naval Group and the Macron government had not received an iota of notification from the Australian negotiators that the Morrison government would scrap the deal.

“It seems clear that the contractual team that was working with us day-to-day was kept as much in the dark as the Naval Group Australia and French boards were,” Gillis mentioned.

The 10-page document, written for those involved in the negotiation, indicated that only a handful of people within the Australian defense establishment were aware that the plan with France would be scrapped.

Gillis said the Commonwealth Contract Manager had been exuding confidence and conveyed happiness about the deal’s progress in every meeting.

“I believe it is totally unacceptable when the Commonwealth contract manager is excluded from discussions regarding the termination of the contract for what now appears to be six or more months,” Gillis, a defense insider, reckoned.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the unveiling of a Gandhi statue in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.08.2022

Gillis also rejected reports claiming that 12 submarines from France would cost more than AUD$90Bln ($60Bln) under the deal. “Any reference to the cancellation with Naval Group of a AUD$90Bln contract is a deliberate lie and a total misrepresentation of the program,” Gillis said.

The revelation came as a result of the Albanese government launching an inquiry against former Prime Minister Morrison for “bulldozing” the democratic process by acting in secret and without the knowledge of the cabinet.

Last month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese accused Morrison of undermining democracy by secretly holding five additional ministries, including Health, Treasury, and home affairs, until the Coalition’s election loss in May.

Albanese said: “[Morrison] was the world’s first stealth bulldozer.”

After the French deal was jettisoned in favor of the nuclear submarine AUKUS deal, France dumped Australia from its strategic partnership list as Paris labeled the scrapping “without prior consultation or warning” as a betrayal.

Under the AUKUS pact, the Royal Australian Navy would receive US and British nuclear reactor technology to build the subs in its shipyards.

In the end, Gillis, who confirmed that he wrote the 10-page document, hopes that “Australians can recover this relationship with France as well as recover our reputation as a country that operates with integrity and honesty”.

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