19 May 2023
Subjects: Ipswich Show; G7; Voice to Parliament
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR, SHAYNE NEUMANN: G’day, I am Shayne Neumann, the Federal Member for Blair. I'm very pleased to have Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles here. Welcome to a boy from Geelong from a boy from Ipswich. Here at the Ipswich Show- It's great to be here- 150 years the show's been operating. And I'm not sure we had the beast rides or we had the show bags 150 years ago, but for 150 years, the people of Ipswich and the surrounds have been coming to this particular location. So it's great that people are coming here. There are 400 volunteers helping at the show, there's exhibitors and sponsors, and young people and older people. I've been coming to the show since I was a little kid. It is just so very, very important. And I want to congratulate show President Darren Zanow and the whole team for putting this on. This is a great facility here in Ipswich. It's much needed, we are committing $4 million part of it under the disaster ready fund, because this is the site of the main evacuation centre here in Ipswich. And it's a commitment by the Albanese Labor government, to the people of Ipswich, and to the resilience and flood resilience of Ipswich. And I'm pleased that we're doing so. Richard, you are most welcome as a friend to be here today to officially open the show. And I'll hand it over to you.
ACTING PRIME MINISTER, RICHARD MARLES: Well, it's wonderful to be here with my great friend, Shayne Neumann, the Federal member for Blaire of the 150th Ipswich Show. And as Shayne said, my hometown is Geelong, and there's a lot in common between Geelong and Ipswich. And there's a lot in common between the Geelong show and the Ipswich shows- these are events which are really central to the life of the community. And as Shayne said, it is remarkable to think that this show began in 1873, about 150 years ago, back then, there were farmers in this district coming to this very spot, showing off the best of their agriculture just as those farmers are doing today. And in doing that today, they are really participating in a very, very long heritage. I know they will be feeling this, the significance of this on the 150th anniversary of the Ipswich Show. There are more than 580 shows around Australia, and those who volunteer on shows around the country represent one of the biggest volunteer movements in our nation today. And when you walk around here on what is a public holiday, within the City of Ipswich, you can see the joy and the happiness which is on people's faces as a result of the efforts of those volunteers. And the others who deserve a shout out are all those who work on the show and travel the country working on shows right around the nation- literally from Perth through to Cairns- and they do an incredible job and live an extraordinary life, seeing our nation, but providing that happiness across the country. So just a few years ago, this was a virtual show during the pandemic. It's fantastic to be here today with the Ipswich Show, after the pandemic back bigger and better than ever. And we really hope that people have the best day today.
JOURNALIST: Has the PM locked in a time to hold replacement Quad talks in Japan yet?
MARLES: Look, the Prime Minister is obviously on his way to Japan, as we as we speak. He will be meeting with Quad leaders in Japan. We'll see what eventuates in terms of future Quad talks as a result of that. I mean, it's obviously disappointing that we've not been able to have the quad next week, but it's completely understandable. The American President was facing domestic circumstances within his country and frankly, these things happen. But the Quad remains a really important piece of regional architecture. We're very committed to this. I know the other Quad countries are and another quad meeting will happen in due course.
JOURNALIST: What issues will be discussed? Do you think between President Biden and our Prime Minister?
MARLES: Well, the President and the Prime Minister will be meeting at a time of huge consequence for our region, for the world, but also for our relationship with the United States. Earlier this year, we announced the optimal pathway for Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine that had the ability under the banner of AUKUS- that's going to be really central in the terms of the talks that we have with the United States. In July, we have AUSMIN which is the main ministerial meeting conducted by myself, Penny Wong, the Foreign Minister with our counterparts in the United States. So, the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister is obviously really important in terms of the AUSMIN in July. The alliance between Australia and America really is the centre piece of our national security architecture of our worldview. And this is going to be a really important meeting.
JOURNALIST: We are hearing talks are under way to get the PM to China. When realistically do you expect that to happen?
MARLES: Well, we've been seeking to stabilize our relationship with China and we've been very clear about that from really the moment our government was elected almost a year ago. Soon after the election, I met with my Chinese counterpart in Singapore, which was the first ministerial level meeting. And since then, the foreign minister has met with her counterpart on a number of occasions. Penny Wong went to China in December, Don Farrell, our Trade Minister has just been in China in the last couple of weeks. So, you can see the path that we're on. I'll leave plans for the Prime Minister’s travel up to the Prime Minister's office but Australian Prime Ministers visiting China has been a very normal thing in the past. And what we're seeking to do is stabilize our relationship with China.
JOURNALIST: Just one on the voice, Minister. There seems to be a last ditch effort from Yes, campaigners to remove the executive of governmental after yesterday's poll suggested that support is waning. Do you think that the ‘Yes group’ is right to be rattled? And would you consider it if it meant increasing the chances?
MARLES: We are on a very considered pathway, which has gone through the parliament in terms of the referendum that will be held around the Voice. And we are confident that come the day of the referendum, Australians will see the opportunity that passing the referendum and providing the recognition of our First Nations people in our constitution for a Voice to Parliament will be hugely significant in our nation's history. So we're really focused on that. We're really focused on winning support for that. We are really confident that this will be a really important moment in the history of our nation.
JOURNALIST: Given the Prime Minister's reasons for not being here today, is the government concerned about the burial of Aboriginal people at the Deebing Creek development site?
MARLES: Look, I'm not familiar with that issue, so I will have to-
JOURNALIST: - Going on for some time, and there's development. There's bulldozers on the site now. And there's been concerns raised by Aboriginal people that have been ignored by the state government. Will the federal government step in?
MARLES: Yeah, well, again, I'm not familiar with that specific issue. So I'll just need to take that question on notice.
JOURNALIST: Noel Pearson says fellow ‘Yes’, campaigner, Mick Gooda is a bed wetter. And in offering his opinions too late in the debate on the voice. Are those comments helpful for the Yes campaign?
MARLES: Again, we are we are very focused on building support around the nation to see the referendum pass to see our First Nations people in the Constitution through a voice to parliament. And our focus is on that. If we could do that, it will be a huge step forward for our country, and it's hugely unifying moment for our country. And we are really focused on bringing that unity to –
JOURNALIST: Just on national security, how much red national security doesn't support the-
MARLES: That's an issue that has been worked through by the committee. I mean, obviously, it's hugely disturbing to see those themes being used out there. And there's really no place for it. We need to be building a country which is to diverse and safe for everyone. And those symbols represent the absolute opposite of what Australia stands for.