Television Interview, Today Show

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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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18 August 2023

SUBJECTS: Funding for women’s sport; AUKUS.

SARAH ABO, HOST: Well, funding for women's sport is under the spotlight this morning. This Women's World Cup is tipped to be the first to earn $1 billion. If the Matildas come third, the 26 players will share around $4 million, or about $174,000 each. In comparison, last year in Qatar, the Socceroos only reached the round of 16, but shared almost $20 million, or more than $300,000 each.

Let’s bring in Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles in Brisbane and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton in Perth. Thank you both for your time this morning. Richard, how do those figures sit with you?

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, not very well, is the answer to that question. But I think what we've seen is a transformational moment with this Women's World Cup, I think, actually for football around the world, certainly for women's sport in this country. I mean, what we saw on Wednesday night was the most watched TV moment in Australian TV history. It says something about the way in which they have captured the imagination of the country. And I think this is a moment to then take up, and I'm sure Government will look at this, to look at how we can use this to see more women playing sport, more girls taking up football.

ABO: Will you, the Labor Party, commit, Richard, to more funding for women's sport? I mean, you made Mackenzie Arnold the Defence Minister earlier this week, maybe we should make Sam Kerr the Treasurer.

MARLES: Okay, well, I'll go and talk to Jim about that and see whether he's up for that. Look, firstly, we put $84 million into this World Cup, this Women's World Cup, and $40 million of that was into grassroots sport for girls taking up football. So, a lot of money has been spent on women's sport. But as I say, I think this is a transformational moment, not just in terms of football and soccer in this country, but women's sport. And the Government will be looking at ways in which we can take this moment and use it to really inspire more women to take up sport. Because what we know is that people playing sport is fantastic for people's physical and mental health. It builds community. It's an incredibly empowering part of life. And the fact that this is now a moment where so many women are being inspired to play sport, I just think it's about greater equality for women and men, both on the field and off the field. And this is a huge moment for the country.

ABO: Yeah, absolutely. It's a huge moment to act on, too. Peter, what would you like to see done?

PETER DUTTON, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Sarah. Well, we announced at the beginning of the week that we thought a good legacy to, not just the Matilda's campaign, but the Diamonds netball team obviously won the World Cup, the Ashes women's team, only a few months ago, won their tournament in the UK. So, there's a celebration and I think there's a whole generation of young girls and young boys who will be inspired to play sport for all of the good reasons that Richard just outlined. So, we announced a Coalition government would invest $250 million into an upgrade of facilities, because we've still got young girls who are going to soccer games getting changed in the car or in the car park, which is completely unacceptable. And we think the state and territory governments should match it and the clubs can put in 20 per cent. That will give a huge uptake to the level of facilities right across the country. And many sporting clubs at the moment have got boys only facilities. Girls just won't go into the boy’s toilets, understandably. And I think that would encourage participation and that's within our grasp to do. And we'd be keen to work with the Government if they're able to match it.

ABO: And with so many girls already participating in sports, I think that is a vote winner right there.

All right, let's move on. And Anthony Albanese will promise almost 10,000 submarine building unionised jobs in South Australia as part of a deal to keep the AUKUS agreement intact. I mean, Richard, who's running the Labor Party here? How much is this going to cost us?

MARLES: Well, firstly, these were announcements that we made back in March. In fact, what this is going to do is create 20,000 jobs around the country, direct jobs around the country, a point that we made back in March, because this is going to be one of the great industrial endeavours of our country, to have us constructing nuclear-powered submarines in Australia. And there will be jobs in South Australia. There'll be jobs in Western Australia as well. But we're going to be reliant on a supply chain which actually goes into the industrial base of the whole country, into places like Queensland, NSW, Victoria. So, these are points that we made back in March. But we're not afraid of a difficult debate. That's what happens at Labor Party conferences and we let the country see that. That's very different to how both the Greens and the Liberals operate. But I very much know how important this is for our nation. We need to have this military capability in an uncertain world if we want to be able to have submarines as a capability going forward. We simply have to take the step towards nuclear propulsion. And, Sarah, my experience is that when you're talking about difficult debates, be it immigration, border protection, national security, what we do here is have considered debates and we make hard decisions. And I'm sure that's what the conference will do today.

ABO: Yeah. And look, obviously, the presence of the unions has been very clear on the streets of Brisbane at your national conference. Peter, do you think the unions have too much power here, especially when it comes to things like national security?

DUTTON: Of course they do. I mean, they shouldn't be dictating our policy on Israel. The Labor party sold out Israel to try and get a deal with the hard-left unions of the Labor Party. I think people saw on display the militant CFMEU, the hundreds of people within the CFMEU who have been charged before the courts for assault, they have associations with bikie gangs. They're a big part of why we've got probably the most expensive building costs in the world. So, every time you buy a unit or you build a hospital, it's inflated because of the union influence under the CFMEU. So, I think Australians saw the influence of the unions on the Labor Party and I'm pleased that we don't have that influence on our party. We want the jobs, but we don't want the unions running the show.

ABO: Yeah. All right, guys, we have run out of time, but thank you so much for joining us. And on behalf of you both, I'm going to say we're going to back Spain on Sunday to take out the World Cup, aren't we Karl?

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: That's 100 per cent right.



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