MONDAY, 3 APRIL 2017
SUBJECTS: MALCOLM TURNBULL’S EVASIONS ON NAVAL SHIPBUILDING; SENATE INQUIRY INTO THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY
SENATOR KIM CARR: I’m chairing the committee here today. We are hearing from the West Australian Government to try and nail down the promises that the government in Canberra made to the people of Western Australia during the recent state election. They promised $100 million for infrastructure but it is not clear about where that money is going or where that is coming from.
I want to know whether or not the government was telling the truth during the election campaign and whether or not this is actually new money. I want to know whether or not the government’s promises about building 54 new vessels over the next 40 years will actually mean that Australians get an opportunity to participate in that program or whether or not it’s a giant ruse to defend marginal seats in Adelaide.
We want to see a national shipbuilding program where Australian companies and Australian workers get a chance to build the capabilities that this nation needs to be able to ensure that we have the capacity to defend ourselves. This government has failed to come and meet the test of actually telling us how this is able to be done. All we hear from them is election commitments made to defend marginal seats, not defend Australia.
That’s what this inquiry is about, to get to the bottom of the submissions that people are putting to us from all over Australia that say that this is not a national shipbuilding program, it’s a national election building program for the Liberal Party.
JOURNALIST: It sounds as if you think Malcolm Turnbull’s election commitment about the $100 million contract is a bit like his GST promise – he flies over here makes a promise and then runs back over there. Its meaningless.
CARR: It gives me every impression that this government says one thing before an election or during an election campaign and another thing entirely after the election.
We have seen that with the issue of using Australian steel were you find senior officials of the defence department suddenly question the statements that the government has made during the election campaign about the use of Australian steel.
We want to know whether or not the concerns that companies have put to this inquiry about the capacities of Australian industry to be able to meet these contracts are met.
We want to know whether or not the government has been telling the truth about their election commitments.
We want to know how it is we’re going to build these ships, where they’re going to be built, how they’re going to be sustained, how many people are going to be involved, which companies are going to build them over time.
We want to see proper, dues process, proper protocols put in place to defend the integrity of our shipbuilding program. This is a program that involves $90 billion.
They couldn’t look after the automotive industry in this country, but they have used the shipbuilding industry to try to defend their shocking record when it comes to industry policy. We want to see that there is some real action put in place from the fine words they used during the election campaign.