Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has insisted he arrived and wrote about a "commonsense conclusion" about the delivery of nuclear submarines under the AUKUS deal, despite recently losing the job of defence minister with Labor's election win.
Mr Dutton has been criticised for the writing an opinion piece in News Corp papers in which he disclosed that the United States could provide two Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines to Australia by 2030. This was offered as an alternative to waiting until 2038 for an Australian-made submarine.
The concern is whether Mr Dutton used classified information in making a political point in opposition, and further, if that has jeopardised plans for a joint AUKUS agreement with the US and UK by year's end. He insists he has not used classified information.
Frankly, it is a commonsense conclusion- Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
The fresh controversy has drawn the Opposition Leader back into his role in scrapping the conventionally powered French submarine deal in favour of the AUKUS security pact. The Morrison government sensationally joined the Indo-Pacific partnership last September, allowing it to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
"The Americans are increasing their capacity within their production line. That is publicly available," Mr Dutton told the program.
"There is a lot of pressure domestically which is publicly available from [US congressman] Joe Courtney and others in the United States who have been pressuring the administration to increase their capability because of the threat in the Indo-Pacific.
"None of that is classified. Frankly, it is a commonsense conclusion. If the Australian government is serious about it and push for it, I think they can achieve it."
Mr Dutton said he spoke up as he felt the new Labor government was "trying to crab-walk away from the AUKUS deal".
"I wanted to call out the government and stop them from making a terrible mistake by walking away," he said.
Defence Minister Richard Marles insists the new Labor government has "complete support" for the AUKUS pact.
Mr Dutton's comments come as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese prepares to attend the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month to discuss the war in Ukraine. The trip may also involve a visit to Paris to see President Emmanuel Macron.
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