Television interview, Sunrise

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

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10 October 2023

SUBJECT: Hamas-Israel conflict.

NATALIE BARR, HOST: More now on our top story, Israel has declared a complete siege of Gaza in preparation for an assault to rescue hostages being held by Hamas. Tanks and troops are gathering at the border, following the biggest call up of reservists in Israel’s history.

MATT SHIRVINGTON, HOST: Authorities hold grave concerns for a missing Australian woman, with fears she has been taken by the terror group.

Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles joins us now. Good morning to you. Firstly, can you give us any update on the Australian woman believed to be missing, feared kidnapped, in Israel?

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Look, I’m aware of the speculation around that, but I’m not in a position to confirm any details in respect of that person. There’s about 10,000 Australians who live in Israel, there are more who are there as tourists, and right now we’re in the process of trying to assess the wellbeing of all of those Australians. At this point, we’ve not had any reports of any Australians being killed or being hospitalised and we will be pretty reticent about talking any individual cases, as I’m sure you’d understand.

BARR: Minister, just in the last hour or so we’ve had this terrifying new warning from Hamas, that for every home hit, an Israeli hostage will be executed on live TV. What do you know about that warning?

MARLES: Well, I only know what’s in the public domain, but obviously that is horrific. It adds to the shock that the world has seen, and obviously Israel has experienced since this began on Saturday evening Australia time. In this moment we are thinking of the people of Israel. This has been an act of terror. There is nothing that justifies the murdering of innocent people which is what we have been witnessing and clearly, Israel, in this moment, has a right to defend itself and to seek to protect and to liberate its citizens.

SHIRVINGTON: Will Australia send military support?

MARLES: We’ve not been asked that by Israel. I’d be very surprised if that occurred. We stand by Israel in this moment. I’ve been in contact with the Israeli Ambassador and my colleagues, the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister, have sought to be in contact as well. But there’s no talk of any of that kind of support.

BARR: Minister, nobody supports what Hamas did on the weekend, but there is of course another side to this – the innocent Palestinian people caught in the middle. That’s what the support Palestinian protestors are protesting about. What’s your message to them?

MARLES: Look, I understand there is a broader context here, but nothing justifies the killing of innocent people and that’s what we’ve witnessed. This has been an act of terror and should be seen in those terms. And in that sense, it absolutely needs to be condemned.

SHIRVINGTON: Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, thanks for your time.

MARLES: Thank you.


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