Malcolm Turnbull joins Emmanuel Macron in reprimanding Scott Morrison for a submarine deal

“But when you do that as the leader of the nation, internationally, it reflects all of us.

“Deceiving people is bad no matter where you do it, but when you do it internationally, it has much more serious consequences.”

Australia entered into a landmark agreement with French company Naval Group in 2016 on a fleet of submarines to be built in Adelaide, but dropped the deal on 15 September this year and announced a nuclear submarine alliance with the US and UK.

Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron, who called the Australian Prime Minister a liar.

Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron, who called the Australian Prime Minister a liar.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Morrison has confirmed that he received a text message from Mr Macron on September 13 asking if there would be good or bad news about the contract, but that did not lead to a conversation.

The new alliance, called AUKUS, was announced two days later as a plan to build nuclear-powered submarines, in a statement that also meant that the French contract was canceled from that time.


The AUKUS announcement came just two weeks after Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton issued a statement with their French counterparts on August 30, stressing the “importance of the future submarine program” and agreeing to strengthen military research between the two countries.

“Morrison created the impression for the French that everything was moving forward, while at the same time planning to pull the plug if he got a better deal,” said Mr. Turnbull.

“It would be considered sharp practice in the real estate development sector, let alone between nations.”

Morrison has denied lying to Mr Macron, arguing that he chose to have a private dinner with the French leader in Paris in June to give him a clear warning that the Naval Group could lose the contract because Australia was watching alternatives.

The dinner was held a few days after Mr Morrison agreed on the AUKUS plan with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but the Australian leader did not tell the French president that the US and UK were the alternative options. for Australia.

Turnbull, pictured, said Scott Morrison had lied to him

Turnbull, pictured, said Scott Morrison had lied to him “on many occasions”.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Only at that point was it so escalated to the possibility and likelihood that we would potentially go down another track,” Mr Morrison said of the June talks.

“At the time, I made it very clear that a conventional diesel-powered submarine would not meet Australia’s strategic requirements. We discussed that honestly.

“I did not discuss what other alternatives we were looking at. They were confidential and they were subject to the security arrangements we had about the other discussions.”

Sir. Turnbull said it was wrong of Mr Morrison to claim that Australia had been given access to British and American nuclear submarine technology, which it had previously been denied. He said Australia could have searched for this technology in the past, but did not do so because it chose conventional submarines.

Sir. Turnbull also argued that the submarine agreement with France, which was decided when he and Mr Morrison sat in the federal cabinet as prime minister and treasurer respectively, could have been transformed into a nuclear submarine program over time because the Naval Group built nuclear submarines.

And he rejected the government’s argument that the American and British submarines were better than French options because they used a single nuclear reactor mounted on a submarine for life without the need to be refueled. Turnbull said it was wrong to say that this would not require a civilian nuclear industry of any kind in Australia unless the submarines were maintained in the United States or Britain.


He also warned that the Australian plan could trigger nuclear proliferation problems because it required access to highly enriched uranium and could lead to countries like Iran requiring them to do the same.

Turnbull, who said he had spoken to Mr Macron about the matter, said the events had revealed “shocking behavior” from the prime minister.

“He can blister as much as he wants, but he does not fool anyone,” said Mr. Turnbull.

“He has sacrificed Australian honor, Australian security and Australian sovereignty. It is now a shocking thing for an Australian Prime Minister to do.”

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