Despite the hurdles, Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kevin Rudd, appeared on a conservative podcast on Wednesday to talk up the agreement and convince listeners it was a “good deal for America”.

Speaking on The Hugh Hewitt Show – two weeks after he was attacked by former president Donald Trump, who is an occasional guest on the program – Rudd said AUKUS would enhance shipbuilding jobs and investment in the US.


He also said he believed that production would ramp up in coming years, and that the attack subs promised under the deal could be delivered, as planned, by the 2030s, which he described as “the decade of living dangerously in terms of the Indo-Pacific”.

“The geography in Australia helps the allied strategic interest on this as well,” said the former prime minister, who is considered a leading China expert.

Speaking separately at a Centre for New American Security forum, Campbell said the US would find a way to deliver its commitment to Australia, and that momentum for AUKUS would “continue under almost any political circumstance” – a reference to anxiety over the future of the pact under a second Trump presidency.

Acknowledging that US submarine production had slowed due to pandemic supply chains, he said that Australia’s “very generous” $3 billion contribution to the US shipbuilding industry had helped, but noted that “to undertake this work, it will require new investments and probably again, new capabilities here in the United States over time”.

The White House’s new deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

The White House’s new deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.Credit: Andrew Taylor

But he added: “I think it would be fair to say there’s been substantial focus on this at senior levels of the White House, the Defence Department – it’s natural home – and the State Department.”

“AUKUS, in many respects, is a game changer,” Campbell said. “It is basically finding the way forward.”

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