Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Submarine row: Abbott government sought no written advice from defence

Defence secretary Dennis Richardson tells Senate committee he was ‘not aware of advice being sought in writing’ before Coalition announced its tender process

Shalailah Medhora/The Guardian
8 June 2015
No formal written advice on the building of Australia’s future submarine fleet was sought from the Department of Defence before the government announced its tender process, a committee has heard.
Secretary of the department, Dennis Richardson, told a Senate committee on Monday that the government had canvassed “different options” with the department before settling on a so-called competitive evaluation process.
“There had been a variety of discussion on submarine matters,” Richardson said, classifying the talks as “formal”.
But when pressed by the shadow defence minister, Stephen Conroy, if the government had sought formal written advice from the department, as is the usual protocol for large procurements, Richardson said no.
“No, not formal written advice,” the secretary said. “I’m not aware of advice being sought in writing.”
A spokeswoman for the defence minister, Kevin Andrews, said that the evaluation process was announced after “extensive consultation with [the Department of] Defence and a number of formal discussions”.

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