AUSTRALIA might buy Royal Navy ships mothballed due to savage defence spending cuts announced in Britain last year.
The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, said he would discuss the decommissioned ships with his British counterpart, the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox. He is in Australia with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, for talks with Mr Smith and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd.
''That is one thing that I will have a conversation with Liam Fox about,'' Mr Smith said. ''There is a prospect that that may be of some interest to Australia, but we'll take that step by step.''
The British government said in October it would cut its defence budget by 8 per cent, scrapping key assets such as its flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.
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