PM unveils $1b defence export deal to Germany

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has arrived in Germany, confirming a deal worth more than $1 billion to sell Australian-made armoured vehicles to the nation ahead of talks at a NATO summit.

Jul 10, 2023, updated Jan 30, 2024
Photo: AAP/Richard Wainwright

Photo: AAP/Richard Wainwright

Albanese landed in Berlin on Sunday night, German time, before a scheduled meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday.

He said Australia would sign a deal to deliver 100 Brisbane-made Boxer heavy weapon carriers to Germany, one of the largest defence export deals in the country’s history.

“This will increase our defence capability and boost our economy, this is a great outcome,” Albanese told reporters on arrival.

“And it’s the first outcome of quite a few that we have ready to announce tomorrow with our friends here in Germany.”

Albanese said the sale of the vehicles, made by German defence manufacturer Rheinmetall, would be worth more than $1 billion to the Australian economy.

The prime minister’s one-on-one meeting with Mr Sholz will take place before he travels to the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

The talks with the German leader are expected to centre on manufacturing and clean energy, as well as security in the Indo-Pacific region and the war in Ukraine.

The discussions follow the marking of 500 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the ongoing war set to be among the key topics for discussion.

The federal government recently announced a support package for Ukraine worth $110 million.

While there had been criticism the military aid was not enough, Education Minister Jason Clare flagged on Sunday more support could be on its way.

“At the moment we are the biggest non-NATO investor or supporter of the effort in Ukraine, except for Sweden, who is about to become part of NATO,” he said.

“I won’t pre-empt what the prime minister says at the meeting, it’s an important meeting.”

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The three-day visit to Europe will also include a meeting between Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

He will also meet with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, who have also been invited to attend the NATO summit.

The leaders of the so-called “Indo-Pacific four” are set to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine, along with the role of the region in Europe.

NATO leaders were due to discuss plans to open a liaison office in Tokyo as part of a push to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron has struck down the plans, coming out against the proposal

That decision has been praised by former prime minister Paul Keating, who said NATO was straying from its intended purpose of a European and American alliance.

“The Europeans have been fighting each other for the better part of 300 years, including giving the rest of us two world wars in the last hundred,” he said.

“Exporting that malicious poison to Asia would be akin to Asia welcoming the plague upon itself.

“With all of Asia’s recent development amid its long and latent poverty, that promise would be compromised by having anything to do with the militarism of Europe – and militarism egged on by the United States.”


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