Tony Abbott News

29 Apr 2016

How France Sank Japan's Sub Dream

Ousting of Japan ally PM Abbott opened door to rivals; Tokyo slow to respond to new competitive process. In 2014, a blossoming friendship between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe looked to have all but sewn up a $40 billion submarine deal. Then French naval contractor DCNS hatched a bold and seemingly hopeless plan to gatecrash the party. Almost 18 months later, France this week secured a remarkable come-from-behind victory on one of the world's most lucrative defense deals. The result: Tokyo's dream of fast-tracking a revival of its arms export industry is left in disarray. Interviews with more than a dozen Japanese…

03 Mar 2016

AFP to Investigate Submarine Report Leak

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Getty

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will investigate the leak of classified documents about the timeframe for building Australia's new fleet of submarines. The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered the investigation. A report in The Australian newspaper has referenced "several sections of the draft white paper" that was produced under former prime minister Tony Abbott and former defence minister Kevin Andrews. The papers show that under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's reign, the plan was to bring new 12 submarines into service by the mid-2020s.

13 Nov 2015

Merkel Backs German Bid to Build Australian Submarine Fleet

HMAS Collins, part of Australia's aging Collins Class, was commissioned in 1996. (Photo: Royal Australian Navy)

Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced her government's support on Friday for a German arms manufacturer's bid to win a $35.7 billion (A$50 billion) contract from Australia to build it a new fleet of submarines. Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and France's state-controlled naval contractor DCNS are competing with Japan for the deal, seen in part as an Australian effort to counter Chinese assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. "The German government supports the German bid…

01 Oct 2015

Japan's Chase for Australian Subs Deal

Japan's Soryu Class Advanced diesel-electric submarine. Photo: Japanese Navy

Japan has confirmed it is ready to build Australia’s submarines entirely at local shipyards, after stumbling in its effort to win the A$50 billion ($34.76 billion) contract, reports Reuters. According to Masaaki Ishikawa, director general for Acquisition Reform at the Ministry of Defense, Tokyo was willing to train hundreds of Australian engineers in Japan's submarine-manufacturing hub of Kobe as well as in Australia as part of its offer for one of the world's biggest defence contracts.

29 Sep 2015

Japan Renews Submarine Bid for Australia

Japan looking to fix faltering Australian submarine bid. Japan is ready to match European rivals and build a fleet of submarines for Canberra entirely at Australian shipyards, a senior Japanese official said on Tuesday, after stumbling in its effort to win the A$50 billion ($34.76 billion) contract. Tokyo was willing to train hundreds of Australian engineers in Japan's submarine-manufacturing hub of Kobe as well as in Australia as part of its offer for one of the world's biggest defence contracts, Masaaki Ishikawa, director general for Acquisition Reform at the Ministry of Defense, told Reuters. His comments are the first from an official directly involved in the bid that Japan is willing to build the stealth submarines entirely in Australia, where jobs are a hot button political issue.

18 Sep 2015

Australian Leader Swap Weakens Japanese Sub Bid

The ouster of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has further weakened a Japanese bid for one of the world's most lucrative defence contracts, a A$50 billion ($36 billion) programme to build stealth submarines for Australia, sources say. Australia got its fifth prime minister in as many years on Monday after the ruling Liberal Party voted to replace Abbott with former investment banker Malcolm Turnbull, following months of infighting and crumbling voter support. Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who ended a decades-old ban on weapons exports last year, enjoyed a close relationship that saw Japan emerge as the early front runner to replace Australia's aging Collins class subs.

26 Aug 2015

Japan Woos Australia in bid for Sub Deal

Japanese delegation tries to make case for submarine contract. Japan's effort to charm Australian politicians and the public over its bid for a A$50 billion ($35.60 billion) submarine project appeared to stumble on Wednesday, with officials from Tokyo resisting pressure to commit to building the vessels in Australia. Japanese defence officials and executives from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries made their first major pitch to build 12 stealth submarines for Australia's navy during public briefings in Adelaide, a ship-building hub. Once seen as the frontrunner to win the contract, the Japanese bid has since come under scrutiny over whether Tokyo would build any of the submarines in Australia, where manufacturing jobs are a hot-button political issue.

04 Aug 2015

Pressure for Australia Sub Deal Grows

Australia to spend A$65 bln on ships and subs over 20 years; PM pledges A$40 bln for domestic shipbuilders. Australia will spend A$89 billion ($65 billion) on ships and submarines for its navy over the next 20 years but pressure grew on Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday to spend more than half that total building a new submarine fleet domestically. Two naval shipbuilding programmes, the A$20 billion SEA5000 Future Frigate project and the SEA1180 Offshore Patrol Vessels, would be brought forward to guarantee the continuous domestic construction of surface warships, Abbott said. Despite that new component, Abbott is facing intense pressure from within his conservative Liberal Party…

29 Jul 2015

Japan Seeks Australian Submarine Contract

Yushio class submarine SS-573. Photo: Japanese Navy

Japan will send a high-level delegation to Adelaide for talks on building Australia's next-generation fleet of submarines. A former commander of the Japanese navy will head a 40-strong delegation to Australia next month to negotiate roles for local industry in building submarines, should Japan win the contract to provide them. Admiral Takashi Saito is a veteran submariner who has played a key role in military diplomacy with Japan’s allies in the region and with China. Australia’s “competitive evaluation process” is pitting Japanese…

09 Jul 2015

Australia Senator Pushes Aussie Sub Parts on Japan

An influential Australian senator has asked Japan to buy components for its Soryu submarines from Australian companies to boost its chances of winning a major contract to supply Canberra with a fleet of submarines. Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon made the request to submarine builders Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd as well as government officials in a series of meetings in Japan this week. "What could be a game changer in their bid and in the relationship between the two countries in terms of defence cooperation is for components to be built in Australia," Xenophon said during an interview in Tokyo on Thursday.

07 Jul 2015

Tony Abbott Guarantees Submarine Jobs

Tony Abbott. Photo: Official Facebook Page

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has assured South Australians there will be more submarine jobs here even if he won’t commit to having a new fleet of vessels built there,  as Liberal MPs fear voter backlash if the contract for Australia’s next-generation fleet goes to Japan. "Whatever happens, I can give an absolute, categoric guarantee there will be more sub jobs in South Australia and I think that's what South Australians understandably want," he said in response to to reports some…

30 May 2015

Great Barrier Reef Kept Off UNESCO 'Danger' List

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

A heritage committee of the UNESCO cultural agency stopped short of placing Australia's Great Barrier Reef on an "in danger" list, but the ruling on Friday raised long-term concerns about its future. The long-awaited ruling by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee welcomed Australian efforts to maintain the environmentally sensitive region but noted its outlook was "poor" and called on the government to stick rigidly to commitments to protect it. "Climate change, poor water quality and impacts from coastal development are major threats to the property's health...…

18 May 2015

Japan to Bid on Aussie Sub Replacement Contract

Japan will join competitive bidding to sell Australia a fleet of stealth submarines, the government said on Monday, a move expected to require Tokyo to supply Canberra with classified data. The development comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to strengthen security ties with ally the United States and some countries in the region including Australia in the face of China's rapid military modernisation and maritime expansion. "We have decided to participate" in the bidding to replace Australia's ageing fleet, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference. The "competitive assessment" will see Germany's ThyssenKrupp…

07 May 2015

Australia Welcomes Japan to Join Submarine Tender

Australian sub-marine HMAS Collins. Photo credit: Royal Australian Navy

Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has requested Japan to participate in procedures to become Australia's partner in a project to jointly develop next-generation submarines. Andrews made the request in a telephone conversation with Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani who responded positively, Japan's Jiji Press news agency reported. In their telephone conversation, Andrews was quoted as telling Nakatani that Australia hopes to study the feasibility of the two countries jointly developing a submarine, as Japan has the necessary technology, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.

06 May 2015

Japan to Hand Over Data Ahead of Australia Submarine Bid

Japan will agree this month to give Australia classified submarine data, an unprecedented step signalling Tokyo's intent to join competitive bidding to sell Canberra a fleet of stealth subs, said two Japanese officials familiar with the plan. The "competitive assessment" will see Germany's ThyssenKrupp and France's state-controlled naval contractor DCNS separately competing with a Japanese government-led bid for such contractors as Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Japan had been the front runner in the planned sale of around 12 vessels, for as much as $40 billion, to replace Australia's ageing Collins class submarines, sources have said, until Prime Minister Tony Abbott opened up the bidding under pressure from opposition and ruling party lawmakers.

16 Apr 2015

Australia: Submarines Excluded from Shipbuild Review

Pics: Australian Shipbuilders Association Limited

The Australian Navy’s future submarine project has been excluded from the country's shipbuilding review on advice from the Abbott government that the new fleet would be built offshore. The review’s final report, published on Thursday, contained some passing references to the future submarine project, including the fact the government had been looking at offshore construction of the fleet. "Australia's $40 billion future submarine project was left out of a key consultant's report on the local shipbuilding industry on the instructions of the Abbott government," says an observer.

26 Mar 2015

Submerged Politics in Aussie's $39 bln Submarine Plan

Landing Helicopter Dock NUSHIP Canberra: Royal Australian Navy

Australian government plans to spend 50 billion Australian dollars (US$39.39 billion) on powerful new submarines, has become a political football at home, reports Reuters. The opposition said it wanted to invite Sweden to join Germany, France and Japan in submitting tenders for submarine fleet, as part of a proposal to end political gridlock on the project. The Government has rejected a Labor proposal to further open up the submarine tender process as "complete fantasy" and a "mirage".

18 Mar 2015

Vietnam, Australia Call for South China Sea 'Restraint'

Vietnam and Australia called on Wednesday for "self-restraint" in the South China Sea and warned against the unilateral use of force, an obvious reference to China's increasingly aggressive presence that has stirred concerns across the disputed region. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met Australian counterpart Tony Abbott in Canberra, where they will sign a deal on issues including security and climate change. Vietnam and other wary Southeast Asian countries have complained about China's controversial policy of land reclamation on disputed isles in the South China Sea. Beijing in turn has said it is not seeking to overturn international order. Dung told the Australian parliament there was an imperative need to draw up a code of conduct for the South China Sea. "We agreed ...

17 Mar 2015

Australia Favored Foreign Submarines

Australian submariner, Pic by Royal Australian Navy

The Australian Government was in favour that most submarine building would be done overseas, says a report in ABC. Cabinet’s national security committee last October favoured Australia’s new submarine fleet being mostly constructed overseas with the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) having only limited work, according to the ABC’s Four Corners. The program was told this “by sources intimately involved with the project”. The submarines became an issue for Tony Abbott in the run up to the unsuccessful motion to spill the leadership…

20 Feb 2015

Australia Looks to France, Germany, Japan for $39 bln Submarine Contract

Image: Royal Australian Navy

Australia has announced that it would formally invite France, Germany and Japan in the bidding process to build its new fleet of nine submarines in a project worth $39 billion. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that there was Germany and France which are involved in a wider range of submarines and Japan which builds the best large conventional submarine in the world. The process will take about 10 months before a winning bidder is selected, he said. However, Swedish defence company SAAB…

09 Feb 2015

Scepticism, Confusion over Australia Submarine Tender

Officials in Australia and Japan on Monday expressed scepticism and confusion over a pledge by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to give an Australian state-owned shipbuilder the option to tender for a major submarine contract, heightening the uncertainty around the project. Sources have said Australia is strongly considering buying a version of the 4,000-tonne Soryu-class submarine built by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to replace its ageing Collins-class fleet. But Abbott on Sunday promised shipbuilder ASC Ltd the option to bid for the next-generation submarines, worth as much as A$40 billion ($31 billion), in an attempt to shore up support ahead of a challenge to his leadership from within the ruling Liberal Party.

29 Nov 2014

HMAS Canberra Joins the Fleet

HMAS Canberra guard, led by Guard Comander, Lieutenant Adam Simeoni, march on at the commencement of the commissioning ceremony held in the new ship in Sydney.

Governor General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Retd), together with the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Mr Tony Abbott, MP, were the guests of honour today as Australia’s first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) was welcomed into service in the Royal Australian Navy. The Australian White Ensign was raised for the first time, signaling that HMAS Canberra III was formally commissioned into the Fleet. Navy, Army and Air Force members of ship’s company lined the aircraft hangar as invited guests witnessed the historic event.

25 Nov 2014

Australian Defence Minister Says Would Not Trust Submarine Firm to Build Canoe

Australia's defence minister has said he would not trust state-owned Australian Submarine Corp (ASC) "to build a canoe", fuelling expectations that most work in a A$40 billion ($34 billion) program will go offshore. Reuters reported in September that Australia was leaning towards buying as many as 12 off-the-shelf stealth submarines from Japan. Responding to questions in the Australian Senate on Tuesday, David Johnston highlighted cost over-runs on other projects and a lack of experience in submarine design at ASC. "You wonder why I am worried about ASC and what they are delivering to the Australian taxpayer. Do you wonder why I wouldn't trust them to build a canoe?" Johnston told lawmakers. "Let's get real here ...

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