Australian official documents reflect the political debate in the Australian Parliament along with efforts of its Department of Defence and are listed below. Australia is widely seen as the primary beneficiary of the AUKUS partnership. In essence, Australia has the most to gain and the most to lose in the arrangement. The loss of the sunk expenditure on the Naval Group submarine contract, the potential cost of nuclear-powered submarines, and the significant timeline to delivery, coupled with the related submarine capability gap, all make AUKUS a significant political issue in Australia.

Australia’s participation in and support for AUKUS, however, has persevered through changes in government and party control.  When the Australian Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, won the Australian federal election in May 2022, it had already endorsed in principle the AUKUS partnership agreed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition Government on the basis that the arrangement was compatible with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Australia would not pursue nuclear weapons—a position it has reemphasised since.31 AUKUS, however, did attract trenchant and widely publicized criticism from former Australian Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, as well as concerns and questions from other former Australian Government officials. Prime Minister Albanese and his ministers were, nonetheless, able to secure an emphatic endorsement of the AUKUS partnership at the 49th National Conference of the Australian Labor Party August 2023.32

The AUKUS partnership has also enjoyed strong bipartisan support from members of the major parties in the Australian Parliament. However, a significant group of legislators expressed doubts in late 2023 about the United States’ ability to build enough submarines to meet its own needs, let alone Australia’s. Also worrying the Australian Government in late 2023 were the slow progress in changing the US export control regime to enable the sale of submarines and fast-tracking the joint development of weapons, in addition to uncertainty about the upcoming US 2024 presidential election and that might impact AUKUS. At least some of these concerns were addressed with the passage of the US 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorized several critical provisions for enabling AUKUS.33 On November 30, Australia also introduced its own bill, the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2023, to update export control requirements.34


31 “Statement by the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, with Senator Penny Wong & Brendan O’Connor on the AUKUS Partnership,”, September 16, 2021,

32 “Remarks on AUKUS to ALP National Conference,” Prime Minister of Australia, August 18, 2023,

33 “Passage of Priority AUKUS Submarine and Export Control Exemption Legislation by the United States Congress,” Australian Ministry of Defence, December 15, 2023,

34 “Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2023,” Parliament of Australia, November 30, 2023,