The Senate has today censured Defence Minister David Johnston for undermining confidence in Australia’s defence capabilities with his disgraceful comments about submarine builder Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).
The Prime Minister must now show leadership and sack the Defence Minister, if he refuses to resign.
By claiming that he wouldn’t trust ASC to build a canoe and in the process undermining Australia’s defence capabilities, Senator Johnston showed that he should no longer hold the position of Defence Minister.
Make no mistake, the work done at ASC plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of Royal Australian Navy sailors and through them the entire ADF.
The Defence Minister’s role is to ensure our national security. He should not be undermining our national security.
By dismissing his comments as rhetorical flourish, the Minister has displayed that he just doesn’t get it.
It is not rhetorical flourish for the Defence Minister to denigrate the workers who keep our submarines maintained and in the water.
It is not rhetorical flourish to attack the workers who keep sailors in the Royal Australian Navy safe.
The Minister has compromised the procurement of the Future Submarine Project and has disqualified himself from any future role.
He can no longer be trusted to keep his promise to build twelve new submarines in Adelaide.
The Defence Minister is also refusing to stand up for ADF servicemen and women, as the Government cuts their real pay and conditions, including Christmas leave.
On all counts, the Defence Minister deserved to be censured.
He must resign and if he refuses, the Prime Minister must sack him.
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