Can we paint those subs yellow?

We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine … I found myself humming that old Beatles song the other day, just out of the blue. But I couldn’t for the life of me remember the rest of the lyrics.

Why did it pop into my head?

What I think was happening was that my brain was happily finding a new metaphor for the huge political announcement from our esteemed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. As he stood at the podium in the US, in front of flags and crowds with US President Joe Biden and British PM Rishi Sunak, he attempted to sell us the concept of buying and building submarines for the next 30 years.

Built at some astronomical cost that I can’t even fathom (pun intended) and to no doubt blow out like a sub exhaling stale air after a long run underwater, these submarines are to save us from attack and bind us forever to the AUKUS concept.

What is wrong with this picture? Now depending on which side of the political divide you’re on, the idea could be seen as a godsend or an utter bloody disaster, a waste of taxpayers’ money even for my grandchildren’s children.

Now, of course I am not privy to the inner sanctum of defence secrets and the no doubt intense rounds of discussion among spies as to who our future enemies are and will be. I have to either trust our system of government or do a Paul Keating and loudly and vociferously condemn the whole project and add quite a few nasty side jabs.

But my friends and I are just not sure how to respond. Most of us find it baffling that it takes so long to actually build the bloody things, that we threw away countless billions of dollars giving up on the French connection and wasted a few years of potential building time to boot, and that something of this magnitude has not had more open discussion and debate.

Should we be thinking about better cybersecurity or having a huge fleet of drones before we think about a few piddly submarines that won’t have the champagne cracked over their bow for at least five years?   

Will the submarines become a millstone around our neck or should I say a heavy weight belt around our middle that will sink us to the bottom of the economic ocean?

Perhaps we can have them painted yellow? Maybe not on the outside silly, but a few tasteful rooms, daffodil yellow, to cheer up all those poor submariners who don’t get to see sunlight for months and months on end. Then the sailors can sing the Beatles song and hopefully learn the rest of the lyrics.

Would that I live long enough to see the eventual cost of these boats. By that stage though, I may not even remember who the Beatles were. Hopefully I still like the colour yellow.

What do you think about the subs – and their cost? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Also read: Planning for a grey future


  1. I agree.

    I also agree with Keating.

    If we have that sort of money to spend on subs 🤔
    Then why are so many Australians still suffering from poverty, from natural disasters .?
    Why isn’t money spent on our Health system ?. Education. ? Aged care. ?etc
    We all know the list is very long.

    Very sad , it looks like Albanese isn’t the man we were hoping for .

  2. No matter how ineffective our Defense Forces may appear to be on the global stage, Australia must still show that it does have a military deterrent to dissuade unwanted attention from other countries that may see us as an easy acquisition for any military intrusion.
    If you see the expenditure on the submarines as wasted money, maybe you’d regard the $millions spent on the Mirages, the F1-11s, the Neptunes and Orions as they never fired shots in anger at any aggressor nor even any strategic munitions deliveries against any expressed intent to invade this country.
    The fact that Australia did have these defensive forces (we could include the Collins class submarines too) may well have been a point that made us less of an attractive country to invade than we will ever know.
    Whilst it appears that with the contemporary almost total reliance on IT systems to run almost every facet of our country it is possible to bring a country to it’s metaphorical knees with a cyber attack from outside our shores, to bring the population into submission, a military occupation is still a physical and psychological requirement.
    To most there does not appear to be any military threat from other countries, however there is still a political force that has not given up it’s desire to bring as many countries as possible into their fold. A country with vast physical resources could well be the vehicle for such an attack on our democracy.
    By the way, it was the “esteemed” Prime Minister who threw $millions more at the French over and above the agreed contract termination fees. Expect more of this type of lush money from the Federal Government if the ALP hold the reins for more than one term.

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