“Beyond belief” SA-based Federal Senators voted down a motion backing SA submarine jobs

Serious questions must be asked of South Australia’s Liberal and Labor Senators who colluded in the Federal Senate yesterday to vote down a motion by SA-BEST’s Federal colleagues, Centre Alliance, backing submarine jobs in South Australia.

SA-BEST MLC and Attorney General spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, said it was beyond belief that the Senators either voted against the motion – or abstained – when their jobs are to represent all South Australians.

“I smell a rat on both side of politics,” Connie said.

“How can any South Australian politician vote against – or abstain – from supporting a motion calling for submarine maintenance jobs to remain in SA,” she said.

“It’s absurd. It’s an outrage and every one of those Senators who chose to vote down the motion – or sit on the fence and abstained – must be held to account.

“They have a duty to all South Australians – the very people who put them in their positions of influence – to tell us why they took the action they did.

“At risk is more than $400 million of annual economic activity that would be lost from the state.

“And Premier Marshall and Opposition Leader, Peter Malinauskas, need to seek urgent briefings from their Federal colleagues as to why they chose to take the action they did.

“Nothing else will cut the mustard.”

SA-BEST Federal colleague, Centre Alliance Senator, Rex Patrick, yesterday introduced a motion calling for submarine maintenance jobs to remain in SA.

Those who abstained from voting for the motion were Liberal Senators (and Minister for Family and Social Services) Anne Ruston, Alex Antic, David Fawcett  and former Upper House President and newly-appointed Senator Andrew McLachlan, and Labor Senators (and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) the influential Penny Wong, and powerbroker Don Farrell.

SA-based Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Labor Senator Marielle Smith voted against the motion while Liberal Senator and Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham and ALP Senator, Alex Gallacher, were not in Parliament for the vote.

Not surprisingly, nine WA-based Senators also voted against the motion.

“These SA Senators have woefully let down South Australia,” Connie said.

“It defies logic that a South Australian politician whose sole purpose is to fight what is in the best interests of this great state either voted against the motion or didn’t have the intestinal fortitude or courage to make a decision either way,” she said.

“It’s a very sad day for South Australia – and questions must be asked.”

For more information, please contact Sean Whittington on (0403) 995 730.
(A copy of Senator Patrick’s Motion follows)

Senator Patrick’s Motion was that the Senate notes that:

(i)           Australia’s Collins class submarines provide vital capability for the Australian Defence Force,

(ii)          in June 2011 the Navy could not put even one of our six Collins Class submarines to sea,

(iii)         it took more than half a decade and a significant amount of taxpayer’s money to rectify submarine sustainment and achieve world benchmarks,

(iv)         the sustainment model now has short term maintenance activities in Western Australia and deep maintenance in South Australia, specifically through Collins Class Submarine Full Cycle Dockings,

(v)          Australian Submarine Corporation in South Australia (SA) still sends experts to Western Australia (WA) when WA is unable to resolve complex maintenance issues, and

(vi)         there is a proposal before Government to move Full Cycle Dockings from SA to WA which would result in:

 (A)         only a small percentage of the SA workforce relocating to WA, causing a huge loss of corporate knowledge from Australia’s submarine sustainment organisation,

 (B)         significant challenges and risk being injected into the sustainment model,

 (C)         submarine availability suffering, thereby damaging national security,

 (D)         at best, only similar outcomes would be achieved, thus the cost of the move cannot represent value for money,

 (E)         a sustainment model inconsistent with Defence’s longer term plans of having submarines based on the East and West coasts, and

 (F)          Defence being exposed to higher levels of risk by having all its Collins Class submarines maintenance capabilities in one location; and

(b)         calls on the Federal Government to:

(i)           recognise the success of the current sustainment model, and

(ii)          continue the current sustainment model, retaining all Collins Class Submarine Full Cycle Docking activities in SA.

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  1. I guess we will all cringe when WA delivers Collins repair work years late, as to be expected. Will that to be Labor’s fault. I’m sure it won’t be Cormans will it.


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