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Editor’s Note


The late Allan Gyngell, one of Australia’s leading foreign policy advisers and thinkers, was no quietist or fence-sitter, but he was reluctant to pass judgement on AUKUS.

Gyngell’s inconclusiveness on AUKUS was a consequence of his piercing criticism of it: that the Morrison and Albanese governments had betrayed the nation by never explaining their plan to acquire nuclear-­powered submarines. This disgraceful public failing prompted him, to his regret, to reserve judgement on the plan’s merits.

“The most surprising thing about this announcement of the largest project ever undertaken by the Commonwealth of Australia remains the fact that there has been no formal articulation of the reasons for the decision,” he told the Australia in the World podcast in March 2023. “No report, no speech to parliament, no speech at all, other than the sales patter from successive governments: ‘China is more assertive, the rules-­based order is under threat, nuclear submarines are just what Australia needs.’”

Gyngell’s criticism has proven increasingly urgent. Part of the reason for Canberra’s AUKUS silence was that former prime minister



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