Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Today Show

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

Release content

9 June 2023

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles joins us, as well as Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume. Good morning to you. Thank you for being with us today. Richard, to you. First up, did Senator Gallagher mislead Parliament?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, RICHARD MARLES: Well, no, she didn't. Katy has made her position very clear earlier in the week, and she has made clear that she is very comfortable with the statements that she's made, and that's the end of the matter in terms of Katy's position. Katy is a person of enormous integrity. It is one of my great honours to work alongside her in this government. She does a great job as the Finance Minister. She does a great job for this government and she is doing a great job for the Australian people.

STEFANOVIC: That's all fine, but did she mislead Parliament?

MARLES: As I said - no, she didn't. And she has made that really clear this week.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Jane, the Prime Minister has been drawn into this as well. Are his hands clean in your opinion?

SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER, JANE HUME: Well, he was named in those text messages between Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz, as was Tanya Plibersek, but more importantly Katy Gallagher, as you say was named prior to Brittany Higgins going public. Look, Peter Dutton has said there does seem to be some clarification that's needed here. There is inconsistencies between the reports that we are getting from those text messages and what we are hearing from Labor ministers, and what happened when. And I think unfolding that, unpacking that, making sure there is some clarification is really important here. Because misleading Parliament, misleading the Senate is a really big deal, particularly when you rely on the honesty and integrity of ministers and Senators, and so there are some questions to be answered here. We shouldn't run a running commentary on the case going on, because there are processes still underway. The Sofronoff Inquiry hasn't reported yet, but I do think there are some questions to be answered here.

STEFANOVIC: Richard, I think the one thing here is, and it is certainly complex and it is very sensitive in some regards - but there is a transparency issue. Are you saying there is nothing to see here?

MARLES: I don't have issue with what Jane just said, but the point to make here is that Katy Gallagher has answered questions this week, and made really clear she is comfortable with all the statements she has made previously. So, in that sense, the question that you have asked me, which I've answered today, Katy herself has answered this week. So, that's very clear.

STEFANOVIC: What did you know and when?

MARLES: What did I know? Well, I knew what was in the public domain and that's the extent of what I knew.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Given all of this, are you still confident in the multi-million dollar compensation payout made to Brittany Higgins?

MARLES: Well, there was a confidential payout that was made as a settlement to a case, which happened in absolutely the normal way. The answer to your question is I am confident about that. That was handled by the Attorney-General, and it was done completely consistently with how these matters are settled.

STEFANOVIC: Jane, also in the papers today questions are being raised with some more of the details of some of those conversations coming to light over whether or not the Liberal Party is racist. Does the Liberal Party have a race problem?

HUME: Quite the opposite. In fact, the Liberal Party is a party that governs for main stream Australians, all Australians, not particular sections or interests. I can't imagine anything that would imply the Liberal Party is racist. If you look at our membership base, we have members and Members of Parliament that have all sorts of backgrounds. That just sounds absurd to me.

STEFANOVIC: I think the insinuation is that Jacinta Price was a token appointment.

HUME: For heaven's sake. Have you seen Jacinta Price in action? She is one of the most talented performers we have. I don't think anyone would suggest in a million years that Jacinta is a token appoint. She is a talented appointment.

STEFANOVIC: I'm not saying that, other people were.

HUME: Yes, I think we should question the people that are saying that as opposed to the- the evidence is there, she is a very talented politician.

STEFANOVIC: Agree. Alright, Richard, there are calls this morning for you to strip the medals from the soldiers who oversaw alleged wrongdoing Afghanistan. Where are you at with that? And is that something you’re considering?

MARLES: Well, I need to be careful here because ultimately I'm a decision maker in this. The Chief of the Defence Force has gone through a process around command accountability and his recommendations are now on my desk and I'm taking appropriate advice and we will go through a process in relation to that, in terms of the decisions that I ultimately make, and obviously I can't go into that. But I think at the higher level, the point I'd really make is this: the Brereton Report, which was handed down, was a really significant piece of work for this country, particularly given the appalling nature of the allegations that were contained within it. And in coming to government, we made clear that we would do everything within our power to implement the recommendations of the Brereton Report to the fullest possible extent, and I think that's actually very important for our defence force, it is very important for our nation, and frankly I think to do anything different to that would be to be judged by history. So, we will implement the recommendations of the report to the fullest possible extent, and in terms of the specific processes in relation to specific medals, we will go through the appropriate process.

STEFANOVIC: Alright, do we all like the RBA chief? I mean, I'm not sure. I mean, one thing leads to another, and our interest rates keep piling up and a lot of families are really struggling around the country. But the good thing was when he strode on to stage earlier this week, he did it to the sweet sounds of Justin Timberlake.

[Justin Timberlake’s, ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’ plays]

STEFANOVIC: One thing I don't ever want to see in my life is to see him dancing. Richard, how do you sum up the week that was with the Reserve Bank Governor?

MARLES: I think the Reserve Bank Governor is doing a really good job. I hope that that was not his choice in terms of the walk-on music. Anyone who would make that choice does actually need to have a good hard look at themselves-

STEFANOVIC: What's your pump up song?

MARLES: I will give him the benefit of the doubt. My pump up song? The Dies irae, from Verdi’s Requim.

STEFANOVIC: What?! You are such a weird, lovely fella! Jane, what is your pump up song?

HUME: Come on, if you are going to talk about the Reserve Bank of Australia and inflation, you have to take the pressure down. That's my pump up song.

STEFANOVIC: I like it, a bit of Farnsie on a Friday. Have a great weekend, guys, appreciate you being on the show.


Other related releases