While defence matters usually receive limited meaningful public debate in Australia, the government will need to take a different approach if it is to ensure the long-term success of AUKUS.

Australia’s Collins-class submarine replacement is proving a remarkably protracted process. After a false start in 2009, and a prime ministerial foray in 2014 into buying Japanese submarines, a contract was awarded in 2016 for eight very large French-designed conventional submarines to be built in Australia. However, in 2021, the contract was terminated, and instead a remarkable trilateral plan was announced for Australia to acquire nuclear attack submarines (SSN) under the new Australia–UK–US (AUKUS) partnership.

In 2022, a new Labor government was elected that vowed to continue this SSN shift. Accordingly, the plan is formally a bipartisan initiative, although the conservative Liberal National Party (LNP) that began AUKUS is now in opposition and naturally inclined to critique and complain.

Please click here to read the full “Helping AUKUS last the distance” article published at RUSI, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.