Page 14 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 14

Greater commitment to public education about submarines
historical stories about Australian subma- rines and submariners. We have seen this first-hand in recent months following the discovery of Australia’s first submarine, HMAS AE1, and the 50th anniversary of the former HMAS Platypus submarine base in Sydney Harbour, where a memorial to all 42 submariners who have died while serv- ing as members of the Australian submarine force was unveiled. As we prepare to transi- tion from the Collins-class submarines to the future submarines, ensuring the heritage of all of the many earlier Australian subma- rines, culminating in the successful Collins program is preserved must be a high priority.
Among the first of many steps in this process is a commitment to upgrade the SIA website and an appearance by SIA President, Mark Sander on a special sub- marines segment on ABC Radio’s national “Nightlife” program.
Moving forward, the SIA is deeply com- mitted to promoting the image of subma- rines, their strategic importance and to fur- ther recognise the fine service by those who have in the past and those who continue to serve in submarines, so that this can be bet- ter appreciated by all Australians.
THE overwhelming majority of readers of this publication have a strong understand- ing of the strategic significance of subma- rines to Australia’s defence capability.
For us, it almost goes without saying that the Government committing $50 billion to build 12 new future subma- rines will provide a significant boost to Australia’s national security. Despite this, there has been criticism of the investment in submarines because, supposedly, they could be produced for the same quality for a cheaper price elsewhere.
The SIA does not agree with this claim. If Australia procures submarines from sources over which our sovereign control is limited, then issues of security – for the extremely sensitive aspects of submarine capability – are threatened. Issues of pursuing sovereign industrial supply chains lead to the develop- ment of comprehensive, professional indus- trial skills and an entrenched continuous shipbuilding industry in Australia.
All the same, the SIA acknowledges that
there are many people in the community who have never had explained to them the importance of sovereign industry capabil- ity, especially for its most potent defence assets, such as submarines. This is a major reason why the SIA has made a renewed commitment to promote the importance of submarines to all Australians; that is, to all of the Australian community.
While we will continue to engage with key defence stakeholders, the challenge our organisation has set itself is to effec- tively communicate the benefits of subma- rines, in particular, to communicate about those aspects of submarines that the aver- age person isn’t likely to know much about to more Australians.
We are doing this because we believe there will be many benefits. Certainly, we hope it will help address ill-informed claims made by critics of submarines, but the intention is for the impact of the SIA’s work to go far beyond this.
For example, there are a host of amazing
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