Independent Senator Rex Patrick says the AUKUS submarine deal is akin to “buying a parachute after the plane has crashed”.

“In the Senate, officials and ministers have been telling us the program has been going okay,” Mr Patrick told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“Then we got a big announcement that said we’re shifting across to nuclear-powered submarines because of the geostrategic circumstances.

Mr Patrick says this represents a “dichotomy” in terms of a 2039 deadline, as set out by the defence white paper, for submarines to be in the water.

“My view is that we did the right thing by breaking the contract; the French were not performing; it could have been handled better by the Australian government.

“But we’ve now been left in a situation where the nuclear-powered submarines that are proposed will not arrive until 2040, and that to me is like buying a parachute after the plane has crashed.”

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