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The Interview – Submarine dispute: France has ‘every right to be angry,’ says ex-Australian PM

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Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has slammed the ongoing submarine dispute with France as a “foreign policy and national security debacle” for his country. Rudd told FRANCE 24 that France had “every right to be angry” over the sudden loss of a multibillion-euro submarine contract with Australia, after Canberra chose to buy US nuclear submarines instead. He also called for a parliamentary probe into the decision by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Former Australian premier Kevin Rudd rejected Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s argument that a switch to the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) alliance would meet 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 had “every right to be angry” over the scrapped deal, expressing concern that the diplomatic crisis would have lasting, damaging effects on the bilateral relationship.

Rudd told FRANCE 24 that the Australian government should have notified the French government, and the French company building the submarines about its intentions to switch from diesel-propelled to nuclear-powered subs. He added that instead of simply choosing the American offer, 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 probe into the decision, stressing that Australian taxpayers needed to know precisely how the decision unfolded and how much it will cost them.     

>> Click here for our full coverage of the submarine dispute

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