Defense Secretary Richard Marles said there is “certainly work to be done to fix relations with France” following the Morrison administration’s cancellation of a $ 90 billion deal to buy 12 submarines last year.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the NATO summit in Spain.
Talking to Today Friday morning, Marles said relations with France were “critically important” because of its nearby Pacific territories such as New Caledonia.
“With so many things that we’ve seen over the last month where the Liberals have filled it, we’re in a hurry to fix it,” he said. Today.
“It’s going to be really important for Anthony to have the opportunity to meet with President Macron to put a relationship with a country that is actually one of our closest neighbors … back on track.”
September last year, Australia signed the AUKUS Pact with the United States and Britain to acquire eight nuclear-powered submarines, making Macron furious, as the famous “I do not think I know” that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison had lied to him about keeping the French submarine agreement.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton defended the previous government’s transfer of the saga, but admitted that France encountered the cancellation of the agreement “which is understandable because it was a major contract”.
“We made a decision that was in our country’s best interest, and we do not apologize for that with AUKUS,” Dutton said. Today.
“It meant we got a foundation for the next four or five decades, and it meant a difficult decision in terms of terminating the contract with the French.”