Following last week’s announcement that French shipbuilder DCNS would build twelve new submarines in Adelaide, the Defence Minister Marise Payne has announced the name for the new boats.
“We did think about running a competition to name the new subs, but since we already knew that the result would be “Subby McSubmarineFace”, we instead decided to name it ourselves. “Cousteau Class” is nicely appropriate, non?”
Minister Payne insisted that the name Cousteau was 100% Australian because “Jacques, or Jack as I like to call him, spent quite a lot of time on the Great Barrier Reef. He also invented SCUBA diving, which is exactly the kind of Aussie innovation the Prime Minister is looking for.”
In announcing the name, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reinforced how decisive this made him look. “This is the biggest military contract in the world,” Mr Turnbull boasted. “For $50 billion we could have built thirty hospitals and employed 50,000 nurses, but instead we’re building 12 boats and employing 2,800 people who know about boats. The skills these workers bring will be invaluable in helping Australia transition from a mining to a boating economy.”
French, German and Japanese companies tendered to build the submarines, which will be all Australian, according to Ms Payne. “100% Australian, using 100% Australian steel, wool and Huon Pine,” Ms Payne proudly announced, hanging an Australian Made logo from the periscope of a thirty-centimetre model of the new sub.
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne (no relation) explained the tender process. “The tenders were rigorously assessed by the National Security Cabinet Committee and the South Australian Liberal Party Campaign Committee.”
Industry sources say the German submarine was rejected due to concerns about its Volkswagen engine. Volkswagen’s testing found its diesel engine produced no carbon, instead emitting Glen 20 Air Freshener, which would leave the ocean fresh and clean and protect dugongs from odour causing bacteria.
However, the Department of Environment rejected the German bid, as it was not possible to assess the impact of Glen 20 on reef corals, green-lipped barnacles, Greg Hunt, or other endangered invertebrates.
The Japanese design was dismissed as too small and naming the tiny sub Tokyo Rose Bay was considered insensitive to those who survived the Japanese midget submarine attacks on Sydney Harbour on 31 May 1942.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett advised that all naval personnel must be at least 152cm tall and that the Navy will not employ midgets, except as part of its hazing ceremonies. “Tell them they can get a job as a barstool or on Game of Thrones. We don’t want little people or bonsai subs,” he said. “We didn’t kick the fuckers out of Singapore, just to buy boats from them. We won’t live in a yellow submarine!” he shouted, as he was dragged away by media minders.
Barrett’s deputy, Rear Admiral Michael van Balen, defended the choice of naming the new submarines after French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. “We wanted to name it the Irwin, but his underwater safety record…,” van Balen managed to get out before being tasered by a small man in a grey pinstriped suit, believed to be an ASIO officer.
The first submarine to be built, Bardot, will be named after the popular Australian girl group, while Napoleon will take its name from a little guy from Paddington who sells makeup.
“All twelve submarines will be named after Australians,” Ms Payne reassured the Adelaide crowd, while artfully displaying the Southern Cross tattoo on her upper left thigh.
The Cousteau will replace the Hawke-Keating era Collins class submarine, which was modelled on Labor senator Bob Collins. The Collins is short, round, noisy (particularly after lunch), and is not considered child-safe.
The Collins’ engine noise, described by a Navy spokesman as “fucking loud”, interferes with its stealth capability. In contrast, the Cousteau, with mime hull sheathing borrowed from the Marceau class, is so silent it sounds like it’s not there.
One of the reasons the DCNS bid was accepted was that France was prepared to share its submarine technology, so Australians can maintain the fleet.
Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts, who is not normally let out to talk to the press, gushed, “I have spoken to Cressida from the Adelaide Fringe Festival, who has agreed to recruit South Australian mimes to maintain the Cousteau’s stealth sheathing,”
“ . , ,” a mime spokesperson advised The Chaser Quarterly.
DCNS Australia CEO Sean Costello, when asked if Adelaide would be responsible for 100% of the construction, stated that “some of the more sophisticated components would still be made in France.” When asked to clarify, he said, “The hull, propeller, rudder system, conning tower, periscope, cup holders and cheese board… and maybe some other stuff.”
Ms Payne grabbed the microphone and reiterated that all components would be made in Adelaide and that the Solicitor-General had advised that it was possible to declare DCNS’s Cherbourg shipyard to be part of Adelaide for the purposes of submarine construction.
“The Solicitor-General has also advised that the government can naturalise all Cherbourg shipbuilders, even if they don’t know who Don Bradman is,” she said. “We’ll even give them a little wattle in a pot.”
Former Defence Minister David Johnston confirmed his support for Adelaide’s shipyards. “They can’t build a boat that floats, but that’s actually an advantage with a submarine,” Never-Again-to-be-Minister Johnston said.
Defence materiel experts have criticised the Cousteau’s combat system. “As soon as the Cousteau is attacked, it automatically bobs to the surface and deploys France’s white military ensign,” said Ivan Flotilla of Adelaide Canoe Builders Inc.
France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Luc Valérie Fystyng-Éclair, took issue with the critics, saying, “La plume de ma tante est sur le bureau de mon oncle.”
A translator was found and Monsieur Fystyng-Éclair repeated, “We are world leaders in the field. We wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and converted the Rainbow Warrior into a submarine in just eleven seconds.”
“Language is one of the technical issues that still must be overcome,” Ms Payne acknowledged. “The Cousteau’s manual is in French, and so is its translation, but we’re insisting that all Australian submariners watch at least one episode of Allo ‘Allo! each week, so we’ll get there in the end.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten welcomed the Adelaide build, but woodenly criticised the Cousteau’s design. “In generations to come, Malcolm Turnbull’s submarine will be known as the Clouseau.”….. “I worked on that zinger all night,” he complained.
Nick Xenophon also welcomed that the submarines will be built in Adelaide and tried to show journalists a little submarine cake his mother had baked him, but nobody was interested.
Not all Australians are happy with the idea of a French presence in Adelaide. “They come over here with their croutons, onion dip and their hunchbacks; they take our jobs, our women, our horses and our cats; and soon all of our children will have to learn about liberty, egality, fraternity and other un-Australian concepts,” Pauline Hanson complained.
The submarines, once built, will be assigned to the Australian Border Force to stem the flow of illegal sub-maritime arrivals.
“These are twelve boats I don’t want to stop,” quipped Peter Dutton through his trademark death mask rictus. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection warned, “Children are now being thrown overboard while wearing sophisticated aqualungs. Unaccompanied minors are now capable of invading Australia from depths of over 900 metres.”
When asked if aqualungs would save boat people from drowning, he paused before answering, “Who cares?”