According to the French ambassador, Scott Morrison lied about Emmanuel Macron in a statement he made after key discussions between Australian ministers and French ministers just two weeks before a major submarine deal was canceled. 

Jean-Pierre Thebault, ambassador of Australia, accused France of shaming it for failing to inform France that it was ending a deal to buy 12 submarines. He made the extraordinary accusation in a speech on Thursday. Partnership with the UK and USA  

Morrison claims that he did not lie to President Macron and that France should have known the $90billion deal was in place. However, Mr Thebault claimed this was ‘fiction’ and gave a compelling example to prove that France was deceived. 

He spoke of a joint statement that was released on August 30, following a video conference between Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister, and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, and their Australian counterparts Marise Parly and Peter Dutton.

According to the statement, ministers discussed submarine deals’ importance. However, Australian officials planned to scrap the agreement and announce new partnerships with the US and UK. 

An awkward handshake in Rome between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and French President Emmanuel Macron (left) at the G20 summit this week

An awkward handshake in Rome between Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister, (right), and Emmanuel Macron (left), at the G20 summit this Week

A joint statement (above) released on August 30 said Australia and France had discussed the importance of the submarine deal. Just two weeks later it was scrapped

A joint statement (above) released on August 30 said Australia and France had discussed the importance of the submarine deal. It was scrapped just two weeks later.

‘What is a hard fact is that still on August 30, French and Australian ministers of foreign affairs and defence had a dialogue, and they agreed a joint communique,’ Mr Thebault said.

It was open to the public, and widely praised for it’s ambition. It agreed to the following sentence: “The two countries underline the significance of the Future Submarine Program”. 

The deceit was deliberate… the way it was handled was clearly a stab in your back 

Jean-Pierre Thebault, Ambassador

“Do you agree to such a communication when there’s even the slightest doubt about something as massive and important as the official backbone for your cooperation?” He said, “Maybe on Mars, but not on the planet I know.” 

Mr. Thebault claimed that his leader was’misled’, which was a lie among his allies. 

“Was the president lying to you?” He said, “Yes, he was.”

“Maybe there’s an important distinction between misleading and lying. But you know that among heads and governments, it is a crime to mislead a friend or an aIly.    

To prove that he didn’t lie to President Macron, Morrison’s office leaked an intimate text between the leaders earlier this week. to show that the French President knew the agreement was on unstable ground.

President Macron wrote, “Should i expect good or poor news for our joint subs ambitions?” 

A secret leaked text message (pictured) appears to show that Emmanuel Macron was given warning that Australia would torpedo its $90billion submarine deal with France

A leaked text message (pictured), appears to show that Emmanuel Macron received a warning from Australia that it would torpedo France’s $90billion submarine contract with France

Questioned by reporters in Dubai, Mr Morrison denied leaking the text. 

He stated that ‘Claims had already been made and those claims were denied’. 

Morrison acknowledged that Mr Macron was not aware about negotiations with the US and UK, but stated that the French leader had been told as early June that Australia was considering other options for submarines. 

Mr Thebualt said France wasn’t aware that Australia was looking into other options. 

On Thursday, Mr Thebault made a brutal speech at Canberra’s National Press Club accusing Australia of ‘treason’.     

He said that the decision was kept secret for months or even years.

Mr Thebault claimed that Australia never consulted France over the possibility of nuclear powered subs but instead turned its back on its ally in order to announce a new AUKUS alliance.

‘The way this Australian Government decided to turn its back on our solemn and far reaching partnership without ever frankly consulting with France, when there were countless opportunities, without having shared frankly and openly, or having looked for alternatives with France, is just out of this world,’ he said.  

Jean-Pierre Thebault (pictured here) accused the Australian Government today of a stab in the back and claimed that Mr Morrison was attempting to deceive his long-standing ally

Mr Thebault refuted concerns about  cost blowouts and long delays in delivering the conventionally powered attack-class submarines. 

He said that the program was acceptable and affordable, and that it was compliant. However, he insisted that the deal was still within its budget of $50 billion.

After the deal was scrapped and the ambassador was recalled to Paris, the ambassador explained why he believes Mr Morrison didn’t tell President Emmanuel Macron beforehand. 

He stated that the Prime Minister explained on 16 September the likely reason why the Australian Government didn’t want to be explicit. 

France's Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault arrives at Sydney Airport before leaving the country on September 18

Jean-Pierre Thebault, France’s Ambassador in Australia, arrives at Sydney Airport. He will leave the country on September 18th.

I quote, “”There was never any certainty at all at the long and painful AUKUS process would ultimately lead to where it is now. If we couldn’t access this technology, the attack class submarine would be the best submarine we have ever been able ”.’ to use.

Mr Thebault stated that, ‘Confronted by the high uncertainties that surround the likely closing of an alternate deal, it was necessary for us to continue the possibility of the future submarine programme. 

It was mandatory to keep them on the backburner. The deceit was deliberate… the way it was handled, was clearly a stab in our back. 

France was furious at the ambassador’s explanation that the “attack class program” was more than a contract.

He described the deal, which was signed in 2016 and involved sharing ‘one of most classified and sensitive defence programs’ as an ‘unprecedented act of trust’.

It was bringing our relationship to Australia to a level not seen before. Both technologically and politically. He stated that Australia and France are fully complementing their historical alliance with the US. 

‘I do respect sovereign choices. But you have to respect allies. Do I think that what has happened is harmful to your country’s reputation? 

In a press conference on September 16, Morrison, Joe Biden and the Boris Johnson announced their decision to cancel the French submarine contract.

Mr Morrison would like to see US- or UK-style nuclear submarines that are faster, more stealthy, and can stay at sea for longer periods than conventional submarines by 2040.  

After Mr Macron accused Mr Morrison, the Prime Minster retorted by saying that he wouldn’t be convicted of’sledging.   

Why is Australia building nuclear powered submarines? 

 Why nuclear submarines are important?

Nuclear reactors generate heat that turns high-pressured steam into steam to spin turbines, and power the propellers of nuclear submarines. 

They can run for around 20 years without needing to refuel. Food supplies are the only limit.

The boats are also quieter than sub-diesel-powered submarines, making it harder to spot them.

In the 1950s, the United States launched the first nuclear submarines. They are used by Russia, France and China. 

A senior US defence official told reporters in Washington DC: ‘This will give Australia the capability for their submarines to basically deploy for a longer period, they’re quieter, they’re much more capable. 

“They will enable us to sustain and improve deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.”

Zack Cooper is a senior fellow with American Enterprise Institute. He believes nuclear submarines will greatly enhance Australia’s military capabilities.

He said that they would be much more capable in the vast, expansive oceans Australia has to offer.  

Australia will have nuclear weapons 

Scott Morrison stated that the nuclear-power submarines won’t have nuclear missiles aboard.

Australia has never produced nuclear weapons and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1973 which prevents non-nuclear states which don’t already have them from developing nuclear weapons.

Morrison also stated that Australia does not intend to build nuclear power stations that are widely used in the world. 

He stated, “But let me be very clear, Australia isn’t seeking to acquire nuclear weapons nor establish a civil nuclear capability.”

“And we will continue our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.”  

Are they safe 

To protect the crew against dangerous radiation, the nuclear reactors and other parts of the submarine are separated from the rest. 

Despite having a great safety record with its nuclear-powered fleet, the US has had a few accidents that caused 20 deaths from radiation exposure in the early Russian subs.

The contaminated parts of nuclear reactors should be disposed of deep underground in special waste storage tanks after their 20-year lives. 

Anti-nuclear campaigners warn that radioactive waste leaks could cause an environment disaster. 

Adam Bandt, Greens leader, called the submarines “floating Chernobyls” in reference to the 1986 Soviet Union nuclear power plant explosion.

Why not now?

Australia must replace its six Collins-class submarines. 

It signed a 2016 deal with French Company Naval Group for 12 diesel-electric attack subs. However, there was a dispute between the parties over the amount of construction that would be done here in Australia.

This deal has been renegotiated to allow for nuclear-powered subs, which will be assisted by the US and UK. Australia will receive the technology.

The West is increasingly concerned by China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. China has made enormous territorial claims in the South and East China Seas, clashed repeatedly with Indian troops, and flown planes above Taiwan.

Morrison wants Australia to have a serious defense capability to deter China in the Pacific. Long-range nuclear subs are just the ticket. 

China has greatly increased its military capabilities over the past few decades and now has six Shang-class nuclear-powered attack submarines. They are equipped with cruise missiles and torpedoes.