Television Interview, Sunrise

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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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22 March 2024

SUBJECT/S: Kevin Rudd, submarine announcements

HOST, MATT SHIRVINGTON: Joining us now from Osborne in South Australia is Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Good morning to you. Before we get to the subs, can I ask you about this rift between Donald Trump and Kevin Rudd? It's quite interesting. It seems to be growing more and more commentary from around the world. How is this war of words affecting our diplomatic relations with the White House at the moment? Is it?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, RICHARD MARLES: Well, no, it's not. I mean, Kevin Rudd's doing a great job in the US advocating Australia's interest, not least in respect of AUKUS. At the end of last year, we saw groundbreaking legislation being passed through the US Congress, which sees Virginia class submarines being transferred to Australia in the early 2030s, establishes a seamless defence industrial base across our two countries. And I think the things to understand about that, in light of your question, is, firstly, that enjoyed the support of the full political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans alike. And secondly, Kevin Rudd was at the heart of doing Australia's advocacy and lobbying effort in Congress to Democrats and Republicans, and did a fantastic job in seeing that occur.

SHIRVINGTON: Slightly different situation, though. If Donald Trump does become president again, do you think his position is tenable? Do you think Kevin Rudd will have to stand down as Ambassador?

MARLES: Look, Kevin is doing a great job representing Australia's interests in the US. And I get all the heat and light at the moment, but I think we need to take a step back and just remember this: that the alliance has been enduring over decades, across administrations of both persuasions in the US, both persuasions in Australia, and it will be going forward, and Kevin is going to do a great job representing Australia in that context.

SHIRVINGTON: Let's talk about this partnership with the sub builders. It sounds like a really credible partnership.

MARLES: Yeah. Look, it's a really important announcement that we'll be making later this morning that ASC, an Australian builder, which currently maintains and extends the life of our Collins class submarines, and BAE, which builds the nuclear powered submarines in Britain together will be forming a joint venture to build nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy, right here at the Osborne naval shipyard. This is a fundamentally important step in seeing Australia acquire that capability. We've also announced that ASC will be the sustainer of submarines in Perth as part of the Submarine Rotational Force West. That's the US Virginias and the British Astute class submarine that will be rotating through Perth in the latter part of this decade. This is a really important, foundational step in delivering this capability for the country. And when it's up and running, we're going to see something in the order of 4000 to 5000 people working here on building Australia's nuclear powered submarines.

SHIRVINGTON: And that's the best thing, isn't it? Peter Malinauskas said, lifetime jobs for South Australians, one of the key parts of this deal. Thanks for joining us, Richard Marles, appreciate your time.

MARLES: Thanks, Shirvo.


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