Defence Minister Richard Marles stated there’s “certainly work to be done with fixing the relationship with France” following the Morrison authorities cancellation of a $90-billion deal to buy 12 submarines final yr.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly to Paris to satisfy with French President Emmanuel Macron forward of the NATO summit in Spain.
Speaking to Today on Friday morning, Marles stated the connection with France was “critically important” due to its close by Pacific territories similar to New Caledonia.
“With so many things that we have seen over the last month where the Liberals have stuffed it, we’re busily fixing it,” he advised Today.
“It’s going to be really important that Anthony is going to have the opportunity of meeting with President Macron to put a relationship with a country who is actually one of our nearest neighbours … back on track.”
Last September, Australia signed up to the AUKUS pact with the US and UK to amass eight nuclear-powered submarines, infuriating Macron who famously declared “I don’t think, I know” that former prime minister Scott Morrison had lied to him about retaining the French submarine deal.
Opposition chief Peter Dutton defended the previous authorities’s handing of the saga, however conceded France took offence to the deal being cancelled “which is understandable because it was a big contract”.
“We took a decision that was in our country’s best interests and we don’t apologise for that with AUKUS,” Dutton advised Today.
“It meant we got an underpinning for the next four or five decades and it meant a tough decision in terms of terminating the contract with the French.”