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AUKUS submarines deal: Ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating denounces Albanian Labor government over nuclear submarines


Ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating slams his own side of politics over the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, claiming it is Labor’s worst global decision since World War I – while questioning Anthony Albanese’s competence

  • Paul Keating calls the AUKUS pact the worst deal in history
  • He doubts the speed with which Labor accepts the deal
  • The former Labor leader says China poses no threat



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Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has launched an extraordinary series of attacks against reporters and his own Labor side of politics over Anthony Albanese’s $368 billion AUKUS nuclear submarine scheme.

During an appearance at the National Press Club on Wednesday, the famously sour-tongued ex-premier particularly enjoyed addressing a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald who was behind a series last week that raised the alarm about China.

Knott asked Mr Keating whether his comments would cause a rift in the Labor Party and whether he would direct his knack for swear words and criticism at China’s ruling Communist Party over human rights abuses against the ethnic minority Uighurs or Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists .

“Your paper is a disgrace,” Mr Keating told journalist Matthew Knott.

“After what you wrote… in that shocking presentation last week… you should hang your head in shame.

“I’m surprised you even have the guts to stand up in public and ask such a question, honestly.

“You should do the right thing and drum yourself out of Australian journalism.

“I mean, that’s the most blatant, the worst, the most biased presentation…I mean, if I were you, mate, I’d hide my face and never show up again.”

The destructive spray was just one small part of Keating’s performance — which included lashing out at Anthony Albanese, Richard Marles, Penny Wong, US President Joe Biden, intelligence agencies, and pretty much any reporter who dared ask him a question.

He described Labor’s decision to buy nuclear submarines as the worst international decision by an ALP government since World War I.

When Sky News journalist Olivia Caisley asked how he was so sure China was not a military threat to Australia, Mr Keating responded with scathing contempt.

‘Because I have brains. mainly.

And I can think. And I can read. And I read every day.

“I mean, why would China want to threaten… What would be the point? They get the iron ore, the coal, the wheat. Why would China want to occupy Sydney and Melbourne? Military?’

‘And could they ever do it? Could they ever bring the numbers here? It would take an armada of troopships to do it.

‘So you don’t need a briefing from the bland security services we have in Canberra to tell you that. I mean, I know you’re trying to ask a question, but the question is so stupid it’s hardly worth an answer.

Mr Keating accused the Albanian government of accepting the $360bn deal negotiated by the previous Morrison government in just 24 hours.

“How would you do this in 24 hours?” asked Mr. Keaing.

“You can only do it if you don’t have the powers of observation to understand the weight of the decisions you have to make.

Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has berated the Albanian government over the AUKUS defense pact

Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has berated the Albanian government over the AUKUS defense pact

“It’s what other people call incompetence. I might call it “trying.”

Calling it the worst decision by a Labor government since World War I, Prime Minister Billy Hughes supported conscription. Mr Keating said the whole deal was based on the false idea that China was a direct threat to Australia.

“This is a distortion and it’s not true,” Mr. Keating said of this idea.

“The Chinese have never suggested that they would threaten us or said so explicitly.”


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