Topics: Nick Xenophon’s reckless call to rip up icebreaker contract
Senator Xenophon's stunt, which would involve ripping up the icebreaker contract, is irresponsible.
The day after an icebreaker contract has been signed, which would bring $1.1 billion of work, and jobs, and economic value to Australia, he wants to rip up the contract.
This would see Australia's Antarctic Program suspended, potentially hundreds of jobs lost, a devastating impact on the Tasmanian economy, and a deeply detrimental impact on the Australian economy.
Let's be clear, Senator Xenophon has had three years of perfect silence throughout the entire icebreaker contracting program.
In May of 2013, when the previous Labor Government sought open bids and did the right thing, they had six bids – none were for a build in Australia, and Senator Xenophon was utterly silent.
In August of that year when the previous Labor Government shortlisted the bids to three bids, there were no Australian bids, Senator Xenophon was utterly silent.
Missing in action. Absent without leave.
He knew then and he knows now that a once in a 30 year build only had indications from overseas.
Now what we've delivered is an Australian Industry Participation Plan, $1.1 billion to support the Antarctic Program here in Australia.
And perhaps most importantly to rip up the contract would devastate Australia's Antarctic Program – we would have to suspend our Antarctic Program because there wouldn't be an icebreaker.
It's irresponsible, it's negligent, the Senator was missing in action, absent without leave – said nothing for over three years, until after the contract was signed.
And so it's clear – Labor set out a program, there were no Australian bids over 3.5 years ago in the first six; there were no Australian bids when they had their shortlist to three; there are still no Australian bids.
The contract's been signed – he wants to rip up the icebreaker contract.
There are no South Australian job prospects in this because to get it redone would take five years, by which time Australia's Antarctic program would be closed down.
Irresponsible, negligent, unacceptable – absent without leave, missing in action – a stunt without purpose other than self-aggrandising.
I'm disappointed, from somebody with whom I've otherwise had very good relations.
So, sorry to say Senator Xenophon – not good enough. You know it's a stunt, we know it's your stunt.
We also know that to rip up the contract would have a devastating impact on Australia's science and research community, and cost hundreds of jobs, and over a billion dollars in investment in Australia.