Interview with Allison Langdon, Nine Today

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

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30 August 2022

ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Well, let’s bring in Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, who’s in Barrow in the UK, and Shadow Minister for Veteran Affairs, Barnaby Joyce, in Melbourne. Nice to see you both this morning.

Richard, I know you’re on the other side of the world, but no doubt you’ve been kept across yesterday’s court ruling. Your thoughts on Chris Dawson - guilty after 40 years?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RICHARD MARLES: Well, it’s certainly an extraordinary case and, you’ve had your legal experts there, they explained how unusual it is to find a guilty verdict in these circumstances. But at the end of the day, this is just a tragic situation. I hope that what has happened as a result of yesterday’s verdict is that Lyn Dawson’s family now find some peace and get something from this obviously, and it’s a reminder that justice can be slow, but justice always finds its way.

LANGDON: Barnaby, do you think yesterday - closure for the family?

BARNABY JOYCE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS: Well, there’s a possibility that it goes to appeal, and I really do, like Richard, feel for the family. Obviously, I don’t think anyone believes that Lynette Dawson just of her own volition decided to walk out on her family. She, from reports – and that’s all we have – she seemed like a very loving woman. So, if it goes to appeal, I won’t add to the confusion, I’ll let the judicial process, hopefully, bring this to an absolute conclusion, which I think is what the Dawson – Lynette’s family, not Dawson, but Lynette’s family want to see happen.

LANGDON: Yes, I think you’re right in that regard, it’s not quite over yet, is it?

Let’s move on to other matters. Richard, what do you think about this push to get teens as young as 13 to fill labour shortfall?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, we want to see all the ideas that are out there at the moment in terms of the Jobs and Skills Summit over the next couple of days. But I think we also do need to look at what’s common sense and what’s practical. Thirteen is very young. We don’t want to pre‑empt what’s coming out of the Jobs and Skills Summit over the next couple of days, but that’s certainly not a plan that the government has in mind.

LANGDON: Oh, Richard, I don’t know! What you do you think, Barnaby? We reckon, just get ’em out there, put ’em to work.

JOYCE: Why wait? Start ‘em at four, chuck ‘em on a horse. Push ‘em out the house with a broom. I don’t know.

Look, I think on a farm a lot of people sort of are doing work. You’re doing chores around the house for your parents by that stage. I think it’s really important that people grow up in a culture of going to work. That’s what happens. Multi-generational unemployment is very insidious and there’s nothing but cost for the taxpayer and there’s nothing but really long‑term misery for the people, so getting into a culture of work is important. But I think that really starts in the house and doing jobs around the house.

LANGDON: We’re all for teach them responsibility, it’s good for them. But I get what you’re saying here, Richard. So, why not go to other end of the spectrum? Why not let pensioners do the work and not tax them?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, again, there’s been a lot of thought about the interaction between work at an older age and how the pension system should operate, and, no doubt, people will come forward with suggestions in respect of that over the next couple of days as well. I think the Jobs and Skills Summit is going to be a really important opportunity to look at the way in which we can deal with what is a crisis in the country, and that is fundamentally every business that you talk to, large and small, is struggling to find the people with the skills that they need and that’s what we need to be addressing. So, I’ve got no doubt that we’re going to have a whole lot of ideas over the next couple of days – that’s great – and this is a different way compared to the last 10 years in terms of how we are going about governing, getting people around the table, hearing those ideas. At the end of the day, what we need to be doing is something about the insipid productivity growth that we’ve seen over the last 10 years, getting productivity going. Skills is at the heart of that, so that we build an economy where people are getting well paid and have secure jobs.

LANGDON: Richard, have you stacked the Jobs Summit with union reps, which is being claimed in the papers this morning?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: The answer to that is obviously no. Businesses will be there in force. One of the hardest jobs that there has been, I’ve got to say, is that of Jim Chalmers and Anthony Albanese in terms of working out the list for the Jobs and Skills Summit over the next couple of days because people are desperate to be there, and that’s a great sign. People want to get around the table to have this conversation, to solve this problem. And we’re really confident that when you govern in this way, when you get people around the table and have the conversation that the country needs to have, we can get solutions.

LANGDON: Can I get both your thoughts, too, we’ve just got word through of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev this morning, starting perhaps with you first, Richard?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, Mikhail Gorbachev is a massively historic figure. At the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Wall in Berlin and the Soviet Union has been one of the defining moments in our time, and Mikhail Gorbachev was right at the centre of that. I think that for somebody who grew up in the Soviet Union under the Communist system he’ll be remembered as a man who participated in the end of the Cold War. He will be, inevitably, linked with Ronald Reagan and seen as somebody who brought to an end a very perilous time for humanity.

LANGDON: Barnaby?

JOYCE: First of all, the jobs summit is a Kevin Rudd (inaudible) stack process that is not going to pick the fruit in the country. Let’s just remind ourselves of that.

And when we go back to Mikhail Gorbachev, obviously, he was so dynamic when you think of it, following on from Khrushchev, from Stalin, he was such a dynamic change – Brezhnev. A dynamic change to the way the relationship, which had almost taken the world to a nuclear holocaust, he brought it back, and also inspired greater freedoms for his own people. Unfortunately, that’s all been wound back now under Putin, and I wish we had a Gorbachev moment in China because that would really take the pressure down on what could be a cataclysmic event for the globe.

LANGDON: Well said from both of you there. Thank you for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.


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