Australia’s Defence Minister David Johnston said he regrets that people took offence to his comments that he wouldn’t trust the government’s shipbuilding firm to “build a canoe”.
“I did not intent to cause offence,” Johnston said.
“Regrettably, in rhetorical flourish, I did express my frustrations in the past performance of the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).
“I of course was directing my remarks at a legacy of issues and not the workers in ASC whom I consider to be world class.”
Labor has called for the minister’s removal from cabinet over the comments, saying there has been a “campaign of denigration” of the ASC.
“No-one believes this minister can conduct the procurement process fairly,” Senator Penny Wong said.
Yesterday Defence Minister David Johnston told the Senate he wouldn’t trust the government’s own shipbuilding firm to “build a canoe”, seriously denting hopes the next fleet of submarines will be made locally.
Johnston’s tirade all but ruled out the chances of the government-owned Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) receiving the $20-plus billion contract to build 12 new submarines in Australia.
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