Doorstop Interview, Melbourne

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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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11 October 2023

SUBJECT/S: Hamas-Israel conflict.

JOURNALIST: What consideration is Australia giving to repatriation flights from Israel?

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, we have been very focused on Australians who are in Israel now and we've been very active about looking at ways in which we can support Australians who are in Israel, who want to leave. We understand that Tel Aviv airport is still open but obviously there are international carriers who have closed flights and so we're working very intensely on how we can provide options for those Australians.

JOURNALIST: Are you able to give us any sense of what considerations come into play here?

MARLES: Look, it's difficult to go into the specifics. But what you should know and what Australians should know is that we are very focused on providing options to those Australians who are in Israel now who are wanting to leave.

JOURNALIST: The New South Wales Premier has said that protests in support of Palestinians were unacceptable on Monday, and thus, he won't be allowing any further protests of that nature to go ahead. What's your response to that kind of action?

MARLES: Well, obviously, this is a matter for New South Wales. But I very much understand the position that the New South Wales Premier has taken, I agree with that. You know, the protests that we saw, the kind of appalling comments which were made, have absolutely no place in the discourse of events here in Australia. You know, we need to be a country which is respecting each other. And we get that there are passionately held views about the Middle East, but there is no place for the kind of comments, the anti-semitic comments that we were seeing being raised in the protests that occurred in Sydney.

JOURNALIST: Just a last one, some would argue that those protests in support of Palestinians could be held without that taking place, and that in Australia, you should have a democratic right to express views like that.

MARLES: Well, obviously the management of this as a matter for New South Wales. But there is no place in Australian discourse for the kind of comments that we heard, and the chants that we heard that were made at the protests in Sydney over the last couple days.


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