Staff, ABC News
18 April 2016
Leaving Australia's submarine contract announcement until after the federal election would be "politically suicidal" for one of the masterminds behind South Australia getting the go ahead to build offshore patrol vessels, the Premier has said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced Adelaide would be home to the early construction of 12 offshore patrol vessels in 2018 before shifting to Western Australia in 2020.
South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill described the announcement as a "great win" for the state and gave credit to Liberal Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christopher Pyne, who could have a fight ahead to retain the SA seat of Sturt at the federal election.
"We want to knock him off [at the election], but I think he has done a great job," Mr Weatherill said.
"I'm a Labor bloke and I've got a Labor candidate running against him and we want him to win but look credit where it's due, he's done a fantastic job here.
"This has been I think a fantastic community effort, I mean every South Australian should be proud of this."
Mr. Weatherill said the campaign for the submarine work had been two years in the making and the patrol boat announcement pointed to an Australian build for the project.
"I hope Christopher and the team are able to get that organised before the federal election is announced because I think it would be politically suicidal for him not to do so," he said.
Mr. Pyne said he would not reveal information that had been taken to Cabinet or the national security committee regarding the next step for the submarine project.
"We will keep putting our best foot forward for the submarines obviously, and I hope to have an announcement before the election," Mr Pyne said.
"I've said all along if the election is in September it would be much easier, if it is in July it will be harder."
Mr. Pyne said it was important to put political differences aside to do what was best for South Australia.
"I'm grateful that the Premier Jay Weatherill has given me credit for the offshore patrol vessels and I thank him for that," he said.
"It is important that South Australians, proud South Australians like he and I work for our state not our political parties."