Former Senior Defence Official Tyson Sara says the new trilateral agreement between Australia, the UK and US is a “massive step”, with Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
“This is a massive step, and people have often talked about the nuclear option as being the way in which we can have that long-range submarine that we need but the sticking point has always been the technology,” Mr Sara told Sky News Australia.
“I think that question’s still there, but boy, this is a big step.”
He said that while Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed there would be no nuclear weapons involved, Australia has “crossed a pretty significant nuclear threshold”.
“The prime minister was very deliberate in saying a lot of things about no nuclear weapons and that we’ll stay within our commitments to nuclear non-proliferation,” he said.
“And also specific in saying that this does not include the development of a civilian nuclear industry.
“But it does mean that we’ve crossed a pretty significant nuclear threshold in this country, and so while the door may not be open, perhaps it’s unlocked.”