Bowral – December 2012 (continued)

On the 21st of December 2012 we had our 56th wedding anniversary. On that day we went up to the highlands for a visit to Bowral. As I remember it, Peter and I had an excellent time  up in Bowral on the day of our anniversary . Looking at these old photos brings back memories. So here they are:

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Here we had our Lunch
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These pictures were taken in a Bowral shopping centre .

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In the morning we had visited the Bradman Oval:

At the Bradman Centre there was a nice cafe where we had had some morning tea:

https://www.bradman.com.au/visit/stumps-cafe-at-the-international-cricket-hall-of-fame

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Bowral in December 2012

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Peter took this picture on the 21st December 2012, our Wedding Anniversary. The Corbett Gardens are in Bowral. This day in 2012 was the last time we went to see the Gardens. Over the years we did go a few times to have a look at the tulips there in spring time during the tulip festival. This year we missed out again on seeing the tulips there.

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Two years ago in December we quite liked to walk through Corbett Gardens on a summer day. There were no tulips there, but the gardens looked lovely none the less.

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On the way to the Gardens we had stopped at the Bradman Museum.

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Some refreshments were very welcome.

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21st of December 2012 in Bowral

New tier 1 COVID-19 exposure sites listed in Victoria

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-24/victoria-covid-exposure-sites-sunday-october-24/100563498

Posted 10h ago10 hours ago

A blue sign shows a hand with a phone and the words 'HAVE YOU CHECKED IN?'.
Fully vaccinated Victorians need to quarantine for a week after visiting an exposure site, but unvaccinated people must spend a fortnight.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this articleabc.net.au/news/victoria-covid-exposure-sites-sunday-october-24/100563498COPY LINKSHARE

Health authorities have listed new tier 1 COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria.

The new tier 1 sites are:

  • Fobia Industires in Benalla for seven days from October 11
  • The Deck restaurant and bar in Shepparton on October 19
  • 9 Grams cafe in Torquay on October 20

The government has stopped listing all exposure sites, instead only publishing the most high-risk venues publicly. Others are managed by contact tracers privately and through the Service Victoria check-in app.

Anyone who has been to a tier 1 exposure site at the specified time must get tested and isolate for 14 days if unvaccinated, or for seven days if fully vaccinated. 

Check the list below for all of the exposure sites and times.

You can find information on testing site hours and your nearest site on the Department of Health website.https://www.abc.net.au/res/sites/news-projects/covid-vic-exposure-sites/5.3.0/?state=vic&collapsed=true&abcnewsembedheight=1600Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.Volume 100%01:3902:1602:53 Recycling the waste COVID-19 has created(Emilia Terzon)

What you need to know about coronavirus:

What do you want to know about COVID-19? How has the pandemic impacted you? Let us know

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Peter posted this in 2013 on my 79th Birthday!

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/happy-birthday-aunty-uta/

Berlioz1935’s Blog

It is about life, as I experienced it, how I see it and how I imagine it..

Happy Birthday Aunty Uta

Posted on    

Today is an important date.  Not only is it the Equinox but also my lovely wife’s birthday. We had a lot to remember.  Many of her  birthdays we have celebrated together.  The most memorable was her 21st. That is how she looked then.

Easy to fall in love with

Easy to fall in love with

On the day in question in 1955 we had agreed to meet at her place. Uta had rented the tiniest of rooms in a fourth floor  apartment When I arrived at the agreed time and I wanted to climb up the stairs her land lady came down and told me that Uta had gone out to do some last minute shopping and there was no need to go up the full flight of stairs. But, she left it open that Fäulein Spickermann could have been come back unnoticed. I climbed the full flight of stairs and knocked on the door. Nothing happened. Another knock – still nothing. The land lady must have been right, Fäulein was still out.

I walked downstairs and waited in the cool entrance hall as it was a rather warm late summer’s day. I waited and waited. All sorts of ideas and theories went through my head.  Has she dropped me in this rather cruel way. No, not my darling Uta.  What was I to think? Has anything happened to her on her way to the shops? The shops were not that far and she should have been back  a long time.

Young people today have no idea how life was in those day without a mobile. People were not easily contactable. Any misunderstanding can quickly be resolved nowadays by  SMS or a phone call. We did not have that luxury  then. The brain had a free reign to invent the most outrageous scenarios. After almost two hours of waiting I was close to call it quits when Uta suddenly appeared, with a beaming face,  coming down the stairs.  What a relief. We were both happy to see each other.

Uta had to to go a phone booth to call her aunt who wanted to see her too for her birthday. After the phone call we went to another suburb where we met her aunty and her cousin. All in all the day ended well. But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had given up waiting. I could have rung her another day  at work to clear things up or be disappointed and forget about this “unreliable” girl who stood me up.

Fourteen months later we got married and we are still together to tell the tale.

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The young couple February 1957

I’m still in love with Uta and would still wait any number of hours for her as the reward is in the being  together.

Still happy together

Still happy together

August 2021 Diary

Friday, the 6th of August 2021.

So, while I was cooking my brunch today, I was mainly thinking about the future. I was contemplating what might be possible for me to undertake as far as travelling within Australia is concerned. Of course, as soon as possible I would like to visit my son again, who lives in Victoria. It would be nice if I could go to Benalla in Victoria sometime next month. My birthday is coming up towards the end of next month. To be honest, it does not look like travelling like this will be possible for me some time soon. Well, when then? Maybe towards the end of December? This is just a maybe. However, there is a little bit of hope. When I am in a hopeful mood, I imagine I could catch a train to Benalla. Now wouldn’t that be nice? I could catch the train in the Highlands at Moss Vale. Before catching the train, I might be able to spend a couple of nights in the Highlands. Maybe book a hotel somewhere and meet Gerard! Maybe I could join Gerard for his coffee mornings in Bowral. I would also like to go for a walk in the Lake Alexandra Reserve in Mittagong! https://auntyuta.com/2021/07/31/lake-alexandra-reserve/

If I can manage to take my rollator with me, a few slow moving, contemplative walks are really something to be looking forward for. Besides, if I do travel to Benalla and stay there with Martin for one or two weeks, I definitely need to have my rollator with me again. Last time I did stay with Martin for two weeks, was in March this year. I was fortunate then to have my rollator with me. And I was able to make good use of it, even though I did have an infection in my legs at the time.

Gerard mentioned this Lake Reserve in a few of his blogs, for instance here: https://oosterman.wordpress.com/2021/07/30/love-loss-lockdowns-and-a-possible-buddy/

Yes, if at all possible, I would like to spend some time in the Highlands! Maybe I could choose a time for my trip when daughter Caroline and son-in-law Matthew have a little holiday again. Recently both of them had some leave. But because of the lockdowns they could not travel anywhere. However, Caroline told me, they both felt they needed some time off. And being able to spend this time together in their beautiful home was the next best thing to doing some travelling.

So, I was thinking, whenever they can travel again and also have some time off, they might want to spend some time at my place in Dapto. I think they would very much like to see all the alterations to my place, especially the beautiful deck at the back of my house! I think the last time they were able to come to my place was on the 16th of May this year celebrating Peter’s birthday in memory of him.

LONELINESS!

I needed a break from writing. But I am back now! There is so much more to write! Why did I put ‘LONELINESS’ as a heading for my next section? Well, I could not help it. I feel, it is totally unnatural to be living totally on your own. Really, there are still so many things I could share with someone! Usually, I do not go much into matters of a believe in God. But I think the best way to put it when I think of the end of my life, is actually to say, when God calls me, I do not want to delay. But what I want to do and what I have not quite achieved yet, is, that I want to make the best use of the most likely very little time that may still be given to me. To make the best use of time? What is this. I feel, for a number of things, that I would like to be doing, this is really my last chance now. So, should I allow myself to feel angry about it, that there are quite a few things, that I meant to be doing, and that I still haven’t done yet? No, no, no. I have to learn not to be angry with myself. As a matter of fact, when I do make an effort to ‘love’ myself, I find it is easy for me to love people in general and to love life!

. . . . .

Today I haven’t done the dishes yet, even though I had a big, very healthy meal. So what? I can do the dishes later. I think, that should be alright. Today is Friday. In normal times I would this afternoon be playing Scrabble and Rummycub with my friends. But right now the law in the vicinity of Sydney is, that we have to stay in isolation. Actually, I totally agree with this law, since I want to do everything possible not to catch the virus. So, I am not going out visiting friends, and nobody is coming to visit me. If I’d expect my friends to visit me this afternoon, I’d have to do the dishes quick smart before everyone arrives, right? But neither my friends nor the queen are coming to visit today! This is why I decided to forgive myself for not doing the dishes straight away. To be honest, I am looking forward to doing the dishes later on; for I actually like doing the dishes! It gives me satisfaction to see everything being nice clean again. And while I do the dishes, I can let my thoughts go wandering . . . .

Recently, I have been thinking again and again, why one of Peter’s grandfathers and also one of my grandfathers had to die young when they still had children who had not quite grown up yet. So, my mother as well as Peter’s father had lost their fathers much, much too early. I wonder, how this may have effected their lives. My mum was only about eight when she lost her father in the Flu-Epidemic after WW One. Peter’s father was 15 when he lost his father in France in WW One. When he was 16 he volunteered to become a soldier in WW One and in WW Two he was a soldier again . . . .

Peter wrote about his grandfather, Otto Hannemann, here: https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/my-granddad-and-world-war-i/

Cystoscopy, a Copy of Peter’s Story from 2017

Peter posted it on 20/10/2017

Peter posted this blog nearly four years ago. I remember this day very well. I can’t believe that nearly four years have gone since that day. I found this story so interesting to read again, that I decided to copy it all including the comments from 2017!

Wouldn’t that title suit a movie? It would promote a mystery and a bit of drama.

The date and time for the “production” were set weeks ago and I was invited to provide the setting for the production, namely my bladder.

As sometimes is in movie making, the setting becomes the star of the film, as, for instance, a film set in Paris or Berlin can be.  And so it was with my bladder. A bladder is not so exciting as Paris or Berlin but it is to me as the doctors hold out the prospect of ripping it out of me.

I had a cystoscopy done before. It was done at a doctor’s surgery without much fuss.    A competent nurse inserted a catheter into my urethra and then the doctor inserted a camera into my bladder. I was invited to watch it all on a screen. “There is cancer”, he exclaimed as if he had discovered a new small-sized planet. I didn’t see anything,  it all looked uninteresting to me. That was it. They let me go home to nurse my manly pride.

Not this time. It was to be big, bigger than “Ben Hur” apparently. “You have to fast from midnight,” they said, “and you need an anaesthetic,” they added. I did not understand. It is hospital procedure and they added that I have to have someone to drive me home. I can go by bus, Oh no, you can’t.

I became angrier and angrier and called the whole thing off. It did not take long and another female person, more friendly, rang me back and explained why an anaesthetic was necessary this time. Now we know I had cancer and if it looks like it could be back they would take a biopsy. If I cancel the procedure I would lose my place in the queue and it could take months before I could be treated again. Reconsider! I did.

I had my evening meal at seven pm and was allowed to eat and drink up to midnight. But when I went to sleep at eleven I did not feel like a meal.

Next morning I took the bus, accompanied by my wife for moral support. We were early and waited in the visitor’s lounge until the appointed time.

When I fronted the reception desk I was instructed to sit down and wait for the nurse. It wouldn’t take long I was assured. As any actor would be able to tell you, movie making is actually very, very boring. There are long waiting times between takes and the setting up of the set

On a big wall TV screen, we were informed that the hospital performed many procedures that day and ten were of a urological nature, just like me.  In the meantime, ambulances brought emergency cases to the ward which meant I had to wait longer. After about an hour one nurse came to invite me into the inner sanctuary. My hope that it was soon my turn was quashed quickly. She put some stockings on me and questioned me in regard to my persona. Having established that I really was the one I claimed to be I was duly tagged with two tags, wrist and ankle. “It won’t be long,” she promised.

It was back to the waiting room in which a silly TV receiver showed constantly ads in which they inserted snippets of news. My stomach began to rumble. Seventeen hours had passed since my last food and drink. The TV started to show an old American movie. How did I know it was an old movie? The people did not use a cell phone (mobile phone) and nobody stared at a smartphone. They were actually talking to each other.

My bladder is not the only part of my body that gives me cause to worry and to consider my future here on Earth. For instance, if I sit for long I have problems walking, my right leg becomes almost useless.  So, from time to time I have to get up and pace like a panther in the zoo up and down the waiting room. By doing this I can be sure I can actually walk into the ward for my procedure and not collapse because of my immobile right leg.

The silly movie made way for more ads with some news reports inserted.  In the waiting room beside us was only one other lady. She too complained about the long waiting time and she too had nothing eaten since the previous night. Hungry people are not patient people. They are getting angrier with each rumble of the stomach.

During my walks around the ward, I saw a poster on the wall inviting us to give the ward manager a call when you have any concern before, during or after the procedure. In times long gone by, those managers were called Head Sisters or Matrons but in today’s modern times everything has to be managed. I was wondering how anybody under an anaesthetic could call the manager during the procedure? But anyway, I was still before the procedure and gave her a ring because the lady at the reception desk had long gone home. My case needed to be managed.

The manager was surprised to hear from me when I explained that there were still two patients waiting for their procedures. She promised to come out and “look into it”.  I would say they had forgotten us.

When she came out, she wanted to know who I was. She explained that they have been rather busy and had worked their way down the list and it so happened that they had reached us on their list. The lady patient and I  should come in now and we would be  taken care of. Finally!

I must tell you here that I wasn’t so keen on the anaesthetic in the first place, plus I was silly enough to watch the night before a hospital drama in which a patient died during an operation because of a haemorrhaging brain tumour.

Instead of getting an early mark the crew in the operation theatre still had to look through a peephole into my bladder and take pretty pictures of what they saw. And if what they saw was not to their liking a biopsy had to be taken.

The man who prepared me for my anaesthetic was delighted to see the back of my hand looked like “a map of Papua New Guinea”. The veins were sticking out like a river system in a rainforest. There was no need to search for a place were to stick in the cannula.

I started to remember an operation I had when I was nine years of age. I was so afraid of the anaesthetic that I screamed like hell. I wanted to get off the table and run away. But the staff tied me down with leather belts on all of my four limbs. I was naked and it was freezing cold. There was a war going on, the enemy was only 100km away and American and British bombers were pounding our city day and night at any time of their liking.

A sister put a gauze over my face on which droplets of ether was trickled. “Count to hundred and back again,” I was instructed. I was so scared then and did not expect to survive. It all went well but would a nine-year-old expect that?

Back to the future. While the anaesthetic tried to shut down my senses I was heard myself saying, “I feel I’m getting drowsy…”.  This time I was not scared only concerned and then nothing…

When one is unconscious time does not exist. I could have been dead or died during the procedure. I would never have known. But suddenly,  a sweet, angelic voice was saying, “Peter, it is all over.” That is what the voice said but it was not what I actually heard. I heard, “Peter, it is ALL over!”

That could only mean one thing, I was dead. When I opened my eyes I found I was still in the operating theatre and the nurses prepared me to take me to recovery.  There they took a few measurements like pulse and blood pressure.  All seemed to be okay and they offered me some hot tea and sandwiches. This was very welcome after fasting for twenty-three hours.

A young resident doctor by the name of Shaun turned up and told me that he had indeed found a new cancer in my bladder and he had removed it. The biopsy would also show whether they got it all out and the surrounding tissue was free of cancer.

While I was munching on my sandwiches my wife and daughter were suddenly standing beside my bed. I was satisfied that my story had a happy end and soon we were on the way home. We practically had been eight hours in the hospital.

I think, being alive is a good substitute for being in “heaven”.

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This entry was posted in Diary and tagged Bladder CancerWollongong Hospital by berlioz1935. Bookmark the permalink.

11 THOUGHTS ON “CYSTOSCOPY”

  1. Annelie Engelmann on  said: Happy that it was over before you had the chance to think about it. Wishing you all the best of health and happiness. Looking forward to more of your writing so please take care of yourself so you may feel like indulging us readers. Reply ↓
    • berlioz1935on  said: Thank you, Annelie. I will do my best to stick around. I don’t fell ill but I am inconvenienced by it all. But with cancer one never knows. It can leave you without a trace or flourishes when and where it should not. Reply ↓
  2. tikerscherk on  said:Das Allerbeste für Dich! Werde schnelle wieder ganz gesund!!Reply ↓
  3. doesitevenmatter3 on  said: I’m SO HAPPY for your happy ending, Peter! Yes, being alive is good!  I wish you great health in the years ahead! It was interesting to read about your first surgery at 9 years old. When I was 8 years old my nose was broken and had to be operated on (the bone snapped back into place). They mad me count backward, too. I have some interesting memories of that hospital adventure. I had my cancer surgery 2 years ago. (My next oncologist visit/exam/check up is next week.)HUGS,
    Carolyn Reply ↓

Address to the National Press Club by Malcolm Turnbull

https://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/address-to-the-national-press-club-september-2021

29 September 2021With the swirl of media soundbites, the impression has been created that the Australian Government has replaced a diesel electric French designed submarine for a nuclear powered American, or British, one. This is not the case.

Australia now has no new submarine programme at all. We have cancelled the one we had with France and have a statement of intent with the UK and the US to examine the prospect of acquiring nuclear powered submarines.

Over the next eighteen months there will be a review of the possibilities – the biggest probably being whether the new submarine should be based on the UK Astute[1] submarine or the larger US Virginia class[2].

The hyperbole around the new AUKUS partnership has been dialed up to 11. No three nations in the world already have closer security, intelligence, and technology collaboration than Australia, the US and the UK. And it has been getting closer in recent years. As Canada’s Justin Trudeau observed this is all about selling submarines to Australia[3].

The Australian Government has chosen to terminate a contract with France’s largely state-owned Naval Group to build 12 Attack class submarines. While based on the design of France’s latest nuclear sub they were to be conventionally powered – a modification stipulated by Australia in the competitive tender process begun in 2015 and concluded in April 2016 when it was approved by my Government’s NSC of which the current Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister were all members. 

But nothing is agreed. There is no design, no costing, no contract. The only certainty is that we won’t have new submarines for 20 years and their cost will be a lot more than the French subs. However, high hopes and good intentions are in abundance. But there were plenty of them when we did the deal with France too. 

The first of the Attack class[4] submarines was to be in the water by 2032, with the rest of the fleet coming out of the shipyards every two years until the full complement had been constructed. It was the largest defence procurement in our history – a partnership of generations between France and Australia.

The nagging concern about the French submarines was that they were not nuclear powered. Nuclear powered subs have unlimited underwater range – nuclear reactors, unlike diesel engines, do not need oxygen. Their endurance is only limited by the need to keep the crew sustained. They can operate at much higher sustained speeds underwater, about 25 knots, than a diesel/electric submarine.  And they don’t need to surface, or snort, to recharge their batteries by running their diesel motors.

So, given the long distances our subs have to travel, and our vast maritime domain, why did Australia decide not to order nuclear powered submarines? The answer is, or was, that we do not have, and by law are not able to have, a civil nuclear industry which is needed to support the maintenance of a nuclear navy. There is no country with a nuclear navy that does not also have a civil nuclear industry.

The choice of a conventional submarine had been made long before I became Prime Minister, and the competitive tender was well underway. This determination was confirmed to us on numerous occasions not just by our own Navy, but by the expert advisory board chaired by Don Winter, an engineer and former US Secretary of the Navy and included three US Navy Admirals with direct command and engineering experience in nuclear submarines.[5]

There were three bids – from France, Japan and Germany.  It was my Government, which chose the French bid on the basis that it was the best – especially in terms of stealthiness, which is the prime requirement for a submarine. 

In 2018 I tasked the Defence Department to formally reconsider the potential for nuclear powered submarines in Australia. Technologies were changing, the risk environment was worsening, I was concerned that conventionally powered boats would not be good enough in the future. The big question, however, remained whether we could sustain and maintain a nuclear-powered navy in Australia without local, Australian nuclear facilities and the advice remained that we could not.

Leaving aside the politics it was plain enough that we did not need a civil nuclear industry to generate electricity. It was very clear that the cheapest forms of new generation were renewables backed by storage – batteries or pumped hydro. So, any local nuclear industry would have as its overwhelming justification the support of a nuclear navy.

The alternative, I was advised, would have been to have a nuclear-powered sub that required maintenance in another country. This would have meant our submarine capability was not sovereign – if you can’t maintain your own ships, you are not in full control of them.

One of the attractions of the French subs was that they were originally designed for nuclear propulsion. So, if we decided to switch to nuclear we had a partner that had the expertise to do it with us.

In its natural state uranium is 99% made up of a stable isotope U238, the unstable radioactive isotope U235 is only about 0.7%. The more U235, the more radiation, reactivity and energy. Highly enriched Uranium (HEU) has a concentration of 20% or more U235. Low enriched uranium (LEU) as used in nuclear power stations is typically between 2-5%.

The United States, United Kingdom and Russia are the only countries still to use HEU in their naval reactors. It is enriched to about 95% and is drawn from stockpiles built up for nuclear weapons. 

For Australia, a non-nuclear weapons state, using HEU in a submarine is not a breach of the Treaty on Non Proliferation (NPT), but it does set a precedent which other currently non-nuclear weapons states, like Iran, will seek to exploit as a justification for producing HEU.

Following the AUKUS announcement, I was advised by the Government that the work I had commenced on nuclear options continued and it had been concluded that Australia could use the modular HEU reactors currently deployed in the UK Astute and US Virginia class submarines which, because of their HEU fuel, do not require replacement during the 35 year life of the sub. This, it is contended, means that Australia could have a nuclear-powered submarine without any need to maintain, service or refuel the nuclear reactor.

This is very different advice to that given to the Government as recently as three years ago. It sounds too good to be true; Australia would have submarines powered by nuclear reactors running on weapons grade uranium. And we would not need to have any of our own nuclear facilities or expertise? 

Is it credible to have a hands-off plug and play nuclear reactor filled with weapons grade uranium and not inspect it for 35 years?  The US and UK will know for sure in about thirty years.  And until then if something does go wrong, both nations have extensive nuclear facilities and expertise to deal with it.

Australia does not.

The French nuclear propulsion system however uses low enriched uranium (LEU) – somewhat more enriched than that used in civil nuclear plants. By law they inspect their reactors and refuel them every ten years. All submarines go in for a lengthy, year or more, refit every decade. The refueling of the French naval reactor takes a few weeks.   In this regard at least, French naval nuclear reactor safety standards are stricter than those applied in the United States and the UK.

The new AUKUS submarines, we are told, will still be built in Adelaide. But if there are no nuclear facilities there, that must mean the submarine hulls will be transported to the US or the UK to have the reactor installed together with all of the safety and other systems connected to it.

You don’t need to be especially cynical to see it won’t be long before someone argues it looks much simpler to have the first submarine built in the US or the UK, and then the second, third and so on.

Australia is the first country to receive access to US naval reactors since the technology transfer to the UK in 1958. But the UK was and remains a nuclear weapons state with a substantial civil nuclear industry. Australia will be the first country without any civil nuclear industry to operate a nuclear submarine and the first non-nuclear weapon state to use HEU in a naval reactor. So, if we are not going to develop nuclear facilities of our own (as Mr Morrison has promised) then we will no more be sharing nuclear technology with the US than the owner of an iPhone is sharing smartphone technology with Apple.

A new submarine, under the new AUKUS arrangement, would not be in the water until 2040, we are told. That is about eight years after the first Attack class sub would have been in service. So, we are now without any new submarines for the best part of 20 years. In the meantime, the Collins Class submarines are going to be refitted so they can last another decade. Let’s hope that works. But it doesn’t get us to 2040. So whichever way you look at this there is going to be an even bigger capability gap.

For several years now the Attack Class submarine programme has been accused of cost blow outs – from $50 to $90 billion. The $50 billion was the estimate of the cost of the total programme in 2016 dollars. This included the Lockheed Martin combat and weapons system and the construction of a new dockyard in Adelaide. The $90 billion figure is no more than the estimated cost of the project in nominal dollars over its 35- year life. It is a rough estimate based on assumptions about inflation, exchange rates and technologies over decades.[6]

Of course, now that the flurry of the media announcement is over, the question remains whether we will be able to negotiate a satisfactory deal with the US and UK to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine for Australia. If the Astute is preferred because of its size, then for practical purposes we will be price takers. 

Tony Abbott was of the view that Australia could not build the new diesel/electric submarines itself and his original plan was that they would all be built in Japan. With the support of my colleagues, I determined that all submarines should be built in Australia. This was to be the biggest element in a new continuous sovereign shipbuilding industry in Australia, itself an engine of innovation, science, and technology with enormous spillover benefits to the rest of the economy.

How can we maintain that commitment without having the nuclear facilities in Australia to enable maintenance and support of the new submarines’ reactor and connected systems? If that is where we are heading, and I believe it should be, then a reactor fueled with LEU is safer in every respect than one fueled with HEU.

Nonetheless, in 2040 if we have the first of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, that will be a good development in that the submarine will have range and capabilities a diesel/electric boat does not.

But the way we are getting there has been clumsy, deceitful, and costly. Too many questions are not being asked, and fewer answered. The blustering attempts to wedge those who seek answers do not serve our national interest.

Our national security does not rely on fleets and armies alone. And that is just as well, for we will never have military might to match that of potential rivals.

Echoing our 2017 Foreign Affairs White Paper[7], as Marise Payne said on Monday “Australia is respected when we engage with the region honestly and consistently.”[8]

Diplomacy matters, and at the heart of diplomacy is trust. Australia’s reputation as a trusted and reliable partner has been an enormous asset to us on the international stage, just as a trustworthy reputation is an enormous asset to someone in business.

Some of you may have read the transcript (fairly accurate) of my notorious phone call with Donald Trump in January 2017 in which I persuaded him to stick to the refugee resettlement deal I had struck with President Obama. My argument was that America had given its word, and he should stick to it. When he suggested I had broken agreements in my business life, I said that I had not. Furious he may have been, but Trump did not renege on the deal.

Imagine if he had been able to say, “How about the time you double crossed the French?”

It was only a few years ago that our partnership with France was to be one for generations. As the sun set over Sydney Harbour in March 2018, from the deck of HMAS Canberra, President Macron described the partnership with Australia as the cornerstone of France’s Indo Pacific strategy. This was not just a contract to build submarines, it was a partnership between two nations in which France chose to entrust Australia with its most sensitive military secrets – the design of their latest submarines.

France is an Indo Pacific power. With two million citizens and 7,000 troops across the two oceans, drawing closer to France as a security partner made enormous sense both for us and the United States.

France is the world’s sixth (and the EU’s second) largest economy, a permanent member of the Security Council, a nuclear weapons state with its own nuclear technology for energy, naval propulsion and weapons. With Merkel’s retirement, Macron will be the most influential of the EU leaders. Always inclined to protectionism, France became a strong supporter of our bid for an FTA with the EU, invited Australia (for the first time) to the G7 and aligned its Indo Pacific strategy, and ultimately that of the EU, to ours.

Mr Morrison has not acted in good faith. He deliberately deceived France. He makes no defense of his conduct other than to say it was in Australia’s national interest. So, is that Mr Morrison’s ethical standard with which Australia is now tagged.: Australia will act honestly unless it is judged in our national interest to deceive?

It was as recently as 30 August that our Defence and Foreign Ministers met with their French counterparts and publicly re-emphasised the importance of the submarine programme. Two weeks later, on the day Mr Morrison dumped the President of France with a text message, the Department of Defence formally advised Naval Group that the project was on track and ready to enter into the next set of contracts.

The media has been gleefully briefed that Mr Morrison struck the deal with Boris Johnson and Joe Biden at the G20 in July shortly before going to Paris where the PM confirmed to President Macron his continuing commitment to the submarine deal.

France’s Foreign Minister has described Australia’s conduct as a stab in the back, a betrayal. Macron recalled his Ambassadors to Canberra and Washington. Dan Tehan can’t get a meeting with the French Trade Minister any more than he can with the Chinese Trade Minister.

France’s Europe Minister has already poured cold water on the prospects of concluding an EU-Australian free trade agreement. Australia has proved it can’t be trusted, he has said.

France believes it has been deceived and humiliated, and she was. This betrayal of trust will dog our relations with Europe for years. The Australian Government has treated the French Republic with contempt. It won’t be forgotten. Every time we seek to persuade another nation to trust us, somebody will be saying “Remember what they did to Macron? If they can throw France under a bus, what would they do to us?”

So, what should have been done? The conventional/nuclear debate was hardly news. Morrison could have told the truth.  He could have said to Macron that we wanted to explore the potential for acquiring nuclear powered submarines. Macron would have been supportive. The French Government had already invited such a discussion. The Americans, who were supplying the weapons system, should have been engaged. President Biden has acknowledged this has been mishandled and that there should have been “open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners.”[9]

If after that honest discussion it was concluded that we could not use a French reactor, the inclusion of a US or British reactor could have been considered. Let us assume that after this discussion the conclusion was that only a US or UK submarine would do. If the contract was terminated at that point, nobody could say Australia had been dishonest or sneaky. France would be disappointed, but not betrayed, disrespected or humiliated.

Morrison’s response is to say that he could not be open and honest with Macron because the French might have run to Washington and urged Biden not to do the deal. That tells you a lot about how confident he is about the commitment of the Americans.

As Paul Kelly records[10] (with approbation), Scott Morrison deliberately and elaborately set out to persuade the French their deal was on foot and proceeding until he knew he had an alternative deal whereupon he dumped the French and his deceitful conduct was exposed.

Despite this awkward birth, I hope that AUKUS turns out to be a great success. It should be. We are already the closest of friends and allies – none closer.

As Prime Minister I argued we should not see our region as a series of spokes connected to Washington or Beijing but rather as a mesh where nations like Australia would build their security by stronger ties with all our neighbours – great and small. This approach delivered a much stronger relationship with Indonesia and most nations of ASEAN. It secured in 2017 a commitment from the four leaders to revive the Quadrilateral dialogue between India, Japan, Australia and the USA. In the same year, with Shinzo Abe, we were able to defy the doubters (at home and abroad) and conclude the Trans Pacific Partnership without the United States.

Throughout this time, and since, our security alliance and cooperation with the United States became stronger and more intense. But we always made our own decisions. Of course, our rivals and critics have said Australia will always fall in with the US. Years ago, the foreign minister of one of our neighbours said to me, “If Australia is seen as just a branch office of the US, why should we take much time with you – better to talk direct to head office.”

If we want to have influence in our region we must be trusted. Our word must be our bond. We must be seen to have an independent foreign policy and sovereign defence capabilities. We need to have, develop and retain relationships with other nations, in our region and beyond – like the TPP – which are not simply derivatives of our alliance with the United States.

And at the heart of all this is trust.

New polling: Australians say fire up the nukes

Charles Pier

Getty Images

Charles Pier

28 September 2021

This is one of those bonus weeks for poll wonks when we get a Newspoll on Monday and the fortnightly Essential Research poll just 24 hours later.

Essential’s topics can vary and this week they’ve got a beauty. They haven’t just asked about support for the AUKUS/nuclear submarines announcement (a solid majority are in favour). They’ve also asked about nuclear-generated electricity.

In a fascinating development, 50 per cent of Australians support the idea while 32 per cent are opposed.

Interestingly, while the strongest support for nuclear power is found among the over 55s, there are solid blocks of younger voters prepared to entertain the concept — indicating a recognition of the significance of nuclear energy in maintaining reliable baseload power and the limits of renewables.

Indeed, the Essential Poll shows that as many as 29 per cent of Australians would support the use of nuclear energy “to establish Australia’s nuclear weapon capabilities”. That’s a fascinating result.

The simplistic nuclear taboos of the past are crumbling as Australians recognise both the challenges of providing reliable electricity and our strategic environment.

No one’s talking about nuclear weapons but the time is clearly ripe to begin serious policy discussions on nuclear energy.

Australians are ready. Can our politicians please catch up. Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

$1 million per month: more secret costs of vaccine failure

Charles Pier

Getty Images

Charles Pier

17 August 2021

6:37 PM

The Innovation Australia website has another cracking story. What’s the reward for the government’s vaccine rollout failure? A million dollars a month.

Over to InnovationAus:

The federal government is paying global consulting giant PwC nearly $1 million per month across 2021 to assist with its troubled COVID-19 vaccine rollout, under a previously secret contract released publicly nine months after it was signed and nearly eight months after government was obliged to make it public.

The Department of Health entered into a contract with PwC worth $11.4 million on 14 December last year, running until 14 December 2021, for “COVID-19 vaccination program management support”…

PwC’s role in the work was announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt on Christmas Eve, but no contract was posted to AusTender and further details on its work have been significantly restricted, and no information has been provided on what has been delivered by PwC.

The contract, which will see PwC paid $950,000 per month for all of 2021, was issued following a closed tender process, with the Department using an exemption due to its necessity to “protect human health”.

PwC is acting as the federal government’s “program delivery partner for the vaccine rollout”.

And how did this scandalous “previously secret contract” get made public. That’s a second scandal of its own:

Despite signing the contract nearly nine months ago, it was only made public last week, on the same day InnovationAus published a story on the lack of a contract with PwC for its vaccine rollout work, and after questions were put to the Department on this issue.

The Department said the contract was kept secret due to it being “incorrectly registered” as being exempt from reporting. The exemption does not, however, apply to consultancy services, and the error was picked up by “routine assirance activities” with a correction made “as quickly as practicably”, a department spokesperson told InnovationAus.

The government can’t manage its own programs, can’t provide fundamental accountability — but is going to keep us safe from the virus.

Yeah. Right.Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.