Morrison Denies Lying Allegations After Cancelling Submarine Deal
In an interview on radio 3AW Melbourne, Australian PM Scott Morrison denies lying allegations and reiterats his confidence in the submarine deal.
In an interview on Melbourne's 3AW radio, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked whether he had lied in public life or not, to which he answered, "I don't believe I have, no, no."
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Morrison of lying. Macron was interviewed by Australian media on the sidelines of the G20 summit, where he was asked if he thought Australia's prime minister had been untruthful to him in private meetings, replying with "I don't think. I know."
The French president left no doubt about his position, emphasizing the importance of mutual "respect."
But Morrison brushed the accusation aside, telling the radio: "I have learned in public life over a long period of time to not have a thin skin."
Morrison stressed that the accusations pose no distraction to him, reiterating his confidence in Australia's decision to cancel the French submarine deal.
"I was not intimidated by the fact that that might upset some people and ruffle some feathers," he said, stressing that the United States' nuclear submarine technology had not been shared with other nations since 1958.
AUKUS: A "stab in the back"
Following the cancellation of a €36.5 billion (AUD $50 billion) deal made between Australia and the "Naval Group," a French defense contractor to sell submarines to Australia, France's Foreign minister expressed his anger over what he identified as a betrayal.
"It's really a stab in the back. We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed," Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio.
The foreign minister described this move by Australia as a "sudden and unforeseeable decision very much recalls what Mr. Trump would do," referring to the former US President Donald Trump.
US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that a new "strategic defense pact" with Australia and Britain will be formed. This new pact would see Canberra get a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, a privilege reserved for a few American allies, instead of the conventional French submarines formerly ordered by Australia.