In an interview with The Guardian's Australian Politics podcast, Australia's Defence Minister, Richard Marles, defended the Aukus pact that has been widely criticized due to Australia's decision to purchase eight nuclear-powered submarines over the next thirty years at a cost of $368bn.
Marles rejected concerns about the eventual obsolescence of the submarines, suggesting technological change could supplant the need for such underwater capability.
Various members of the Australian political class, including former prime ministers Paul Keating and Malcolm Turnbull, together with the Green Party and crossbench members, have all criticized the deal.
The Aukus pact has increased tensions between Australia, China, and France.
The French have expressed deep disappointment at being excluded from the negotiations, as Australia had committed to purchasing new conventional submarines from France.
As The Guardian notes, "the move came as Australia seeks to shore up its regional alliances and finds its position on the world stage shifting as the United States and China jostle for power in the Asia-Pacific region.
" Marles pointed to the critical need for securing Australia's defense integrity while ensuring the stability of the regional security framework, stating that the country would benefit from "avoiding a particular form of strategic vulnerability that comes through having a foreign military dependency."
The Guardian's coverage highlights the range of criticism that the Aukus pact has garnered, with Keating emphasizing the lack of meaningful negotiation and consultation with France, wrongly assuming that "the leader of the free world is Donald Trump," and demonstrating that "we're a small-time ally that's dispensable.
" The Green Party expressed alarm about Australia's further militarization, while some members of the crossbench suggested that the pact would come at the expense of critical domestic issues like climate change.
Despite this, Marles remains bullish on the pact, arguing that Australia can reap the benefits of a strong economy, higher employment, and secure borders.