E&OE TRANSCRIPT | SUBJECTS: Australian Labor Party; Australian Jobs; Scott Morrison.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: All right, let’s go now to Richard Marles. Of course, Richard has had a lot to say in recent times in relation to Scott Morrison. In fact, some of Richard’s critiques have been scathing. Whether it’s the Prime Minister playing politics on borders, whether there’s been, you know, too much of a push toward looking after big business rather than chasing Jobkeeper payments from big business who have you know, made a pretty handy profit during the pandemic. Richard has been speaking up, the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Federal Member for Corio, and a Geelong Cats supporter as well. Gee whiz g’day Richard, how are you, mate?
RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: How are you, Marcus? Thank you for that introduction.
PAUL: Not a problem at all. Anthony Albanese on the programme yesterday, I speak to Joel Fitzgibbon quite regularly and I’m very happy to be talking to you. Of course, I need to do my job. All this nonsense that’s going on around Labor leadership, it’s all a distraction.
MARLES: Well, there’s a lot of conversation that you see in the media, but we’re very focused on the task at hand and that is making sure that we’re presenting Australians with an alternative view, making sure that we get ready to give Australians the choice of an alternative government and we are 100 per cent focused on making Anthony Albanese the next Prime Minister of the country. I mean, we’ve got a government right now, which is at a critical moment in our country’s history, which is very focused on itself, which has got pretty stale after eight years in office, and which doesn’t really have a plan for jobs in this country right now and jobs in the country in the future, particularly when you think about manufacturing, making things in Australia. And it’s critically important that we are focused on all of that, which we are and we’re giving Australians the choice that they desperately want at the next election, which we will.
PAUL: Well I mean, that’s what it’s all about. You say Australia needs to be a nation that makes things, we all deserve a future made right here at home, Australian made. Why aren’t we doing it?
MARLES: Well, it’s a really good question. I think the answer is that we’ve got a government that is asleep at the wheel really, in relation to this. We’ve seen the most significant deindustrialisation of Australia since 2013 in our country’s history. We’ve lost the car industry, and we lost it because this was a government which dared the car industry to leave and guess what, they did. And when that happened, obviously a whole lot of people lost really secure, well paid jobs. The country lost industrial capability, you know that this was the most complex, high tech manufacturing that we were doing in Australia at that time. We need to be climbing the technological ladder. The day we lost the car industry, we actually fell down a technological ladder and that is the issue here. That you know, there’s no thought on the part of the government, about how you connect science, making it front and centre in the way in which we see the country and the way in which we talk about the country and generating the kind of jobs that we need so that we make things in this country. And the point really here is this, if you let go of manufacturing, and you let go of that kind of industry, which is what we’ve seen over the last few years, then we don’t end up being the kind of modern, diverse economy that we need to be which generates the kind of well-paid secure jobs that people want. And that’s the failure of this government over the last eight years.
PAUL: Well, Craig Kelly, Barnaby Joyce for goodness sake, these two men are apparently you know, at the forefront of government’s response to science and fact and hard work. I mean, what chance have we got with these two blokes on the science committee?
MARLES: Exactly, and I think there’s a real issue about the way we as a nation relate to science you know, we don’t give it the importance, we don’t talk about it enough, we don’t celebrate big science. One of the things I talk about a lot is the biggest scientific project in the world today, the Square Kilometre Array telescope which will illuminate the sky in a way we’ve never seen and it’s happening right here in Australia, but no one knows that.It will mean the biggest computer in the world is going to be in Western Australia that, you know, we never talk about it. And instead what you’ve got on the government side, as you say, is Craig Kelly peddling conspiracy theories, talking about the anti-vax agenda at this moment, which is just so dangerous to the Australian people. But all the while, you know, the government cutting jobs, science jobs from CSIRO, I mean, that’s their science policy. You know, we’ve got no hope of climbing the technological ladder, of making things in this country again, in the way that places like Korea or Germany do, as long as you’ve got a government, which is – sees science in this way.
PAUL: I just want want to play a little bit of audio and get your thoughts on it.
CLIP OF SCOTT MORRISON: “I mean, that’s a matter for the Premier …that’s a matter for the Queensland Government …And that’s a matter for the Premier to deal with …That’s a matter that I’ll raise with other Premiers and Chief Ministers … Well, that’s really a question to the Premier … that’s a matter I’m happy to take up with the other Premiers and Chief Ministers …That’s entirely a matter for the states … when there is a public health pandemic, then they are things that are managed from Victoria … I don’t hold a hose mate.”
PAUL: It’s hardly leadership, is it Richard?
MARLES: It says it all. That is a clip which sums up Scott Morrison and his attitude to government. The National Cabinet was heralded as this big step forward in our Federation, great cooperation. And when all the Premiers agree on an issue, Scott Morrison will be the first out the door to announce that as his achievement, but when there is any disagreement, when things get tough, when we’re talking about really concerning issues, this guy goes to ground. And that’s been his form all along and that’s what that clip demonstrates. So, you look at the question of quarantine right now, you can go to the Constitution, quarantine is a federal government responsibility.
MARLES: And yet the way it’s being treated now, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that this is the responsibility of the States. The federal government has completely abrogated its responsibility in relation to quarantine. And for the life of me, I don’t understand how the internal borders of our nation hasn’t got something to do with the national government. And yet, you know, we’ve got a Prime Minister who just has gone totally missing, put himself to the sidelines. And essentially, it’s acted as a commentator bagging the States. No way John Howard would have done that. No way Bob Hawke would have done that.
PAUL: No, they probably would have done things about the mess in aged care, mental health, Robodebt, which again, is just being swept under the carpet. I mean, we still have taxpayer dollars, whether it’s in New South Wales or at a federal level, that’s still not reaching bushfire affected communities. We’ve got stranded Australians overseas and what about that complete and utter waste of money, the COVID safe app. But there’s nothing, nothing that as your leader Anthony Albanese calls him, ‘Promo’, wants to take responsibility for.
MARLES: That’s totally right and I mean, you mentioned the app. I mean, that’s the one thing you’ll never hear the Prime Minister talk about now.
PAUL: Richard, I enjoyed our chat. Let’s do it again very soon.
MARLES: Look forward to it, Marcus.