Radio interview, 4BC Breakfast

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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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25 April 2023

SUBJECTS: Anzac Day; Defence Strategic Review.

HOST: Commemorations and services have been taking place across this morning. And we’re now joined by our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles. Good morning, Minister.

MARLES: Good morning. How are you all?

HOST: Not too bad, thank you for asking. What dawn service did you attend this morning, Minister?

MARLES: Well, I've actually been a pre-dawn service and then a dawn service here in Geelong where I live, which is my hometown. And it's a beautiful day down here, colder than where you are, no doubt, but it’s very clear down here. And to be at the service as the sun came up and the lights started to come through the crowd, it was genuinely very moving.

HOST: Now you've already said there that you've been to two services already. But as Minister for Defence, what does the Anzac Day, the entire day, what do you have to do?

MARLES: Good question. I mean, there's a lot that goes on. So I've got a couple more services between now and lunchtime and then I'll actually be going to the MCG later in the day where there is a game between Essendon and Collingwood. That's become a great day in terms of commemorating, through sport, those who have served and worn our nation's uniform. But I think the business of the day for me, but I think for everyone who's involved in public life, speaks to just how this day has become a day, which is really the most important day on our nation's calendar. It is a moment where people think about the importance and the fortune of being Australian, but it's also a day on which people really remember those who have worn our nation's uniform and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in our name.

HOST: Look, probably the toughest question you will face all day is: which team you're going for in that football game?

MARLES: Well, I barrack for Geelong, so if I'm being honest, I hope they both lose but I don’t think that’s actually going to happen.

HOST: You could have gotten out of it just by saying the team playing against Collingwood.

MARLES: Maybe just the team playing against Collingwood. I genuinely don't care, but I am a very passionate Geelong supporter. I do like the fact that this match is being used to commemorate our servicemen and women.

HOST: Yeah, that's it. Minister just briefly, we were speaking earlier this morning to veterans and how they commemorate Anzac Day. But we have personnel, of course, deployed overseas at the moment. How will they commemorate Anzac Day?

MARLES: It's a good question. We've got about 1200 Australians who are currently on deployments. And this is a really special day for them because it's a day where firstly they remember those who have walked before them and have paid that sacrifice. It's a day when they can be reminded of the significance of the work that they do. But it's a day also where I think they feel an enormous sense of connection with home and they know that, you know, we're all in a sense of reaching out to them and acknowledging they're sacrifice in as much as they are away from home, and family and those that they love. And so I know that Anzac Day on deployment is a very special day and means a lot to our serving men and women.

HOST: Chatting to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles. Now, Minister, obviously Anzac Day is the day to commemorate and reflect on the past efforts of the army but you're also looking toward the future with a major overhaul of the Australian Defence Force being announced just yesterday?

MARLES: Yeah, that's right. And it's a significant moment, acknowledging that we face some pretty challenging circumstances out there in the world today and that given that, it is important that as a country, we're having a reset with the posture of our defence force. And what that in turn means is the way in which we equip our defence force for jobs we ask them to do. And I think, you know I'm obviously mindful of the significance of today, but as we do remember those who have who have gone in the past and who have worn our uniform it just reminds us how important it is, and certainly for me in my role, to be making decisions which equip our serving men and women going forward in the best possible way.

HOST: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles. Thanks so much for joining us on this very poignant day.

MARLES: Thanks for having me.

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