Transcript: Interview With Paul Murray, Sky News




PAUL MURRAY: Unlike Richard Marles, Andrew Hastie has served his country, he now serves in the Parliament where he’s the Shadow Defence Minister. He joins us now. Great man, lovely to see you. Thank you very much for joining us on the show. So, we get the game that they're playing here, which is everything's terrible, and everything's a fresh new broom and greatest government of all time. But when the Liberal Party came to government in 2013, they were at a place, when it came to spending on Defence, that was back into the 1930s. So, what is this bloke talking about?


THE HON ANDREW HASTIE MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Well, good evening, Paul. You’re absolutely right. Under the previous Labor Government, they drove Defence spending to the lowest in 70 years. Under Stephen Smith, the guy they've appointed to head up the Defence Strategic Review, he as Defence Minister, cut Defence spending to the lowest since 1938. So, if we want to go by track record and past experience, Labor Government has, in the past, made a real mess of Defence. So, this morning, Richard Marles and his industry offsider, Pat Conroy, got up in Canberra this morning, and it was a press conference about not very much at all. We're all left wondering, what's the news here? It was hyper partisan - he launched an attack on the Coalition Government, which we obviously over nine years cleaned up Labor’s mess. And he said he was going to actively manage the department from here. We want driven leadership, not more active management. And he also talked about how he's going to get them to do more paperwork. What we really need, Paul is results. We need capability and we need it soon because as you know, our strategic situation is more and more dangerous each day that goes by.


PAUL MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, the thing that I think normal people sit back and they go, well, hang on, we obviously were able to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They weren't endless stories about the kit not being good enough, we were able to develop things like the Bushmaster. But obviously, where we go in the next 20 years is about a whole bunch of strategic things to deal with things like China. I mean, there will be gaps in the market but was there not a period of time in the past 10 years when we were ordering things, we were paying for things, we were deciding to get them delivered, and they will start to be delivered in the next five, 10 and 20 years?


ANDREW HASTIE: You bet, Paul. We announced $270 billion worth of Defence investment over the next decade for critical capabilities like strike, whether it be through submarines or precision-guided missiles or more aircraft. And there's also a load of projects that will come to fruition over the next decade as well. So, to suggest that we were sitting on our hands is completely mistaken and completely political. So, Richard Marles also said, it's not the fault of the Defence department. Well, you and I both know that there are departmental secretaries, and there are big departments, and they are responsible for things, and they need to be held accountable. And so, Richard Marles today basically just took ownership of the whole problem and said, it's up to me now. So, I say to him, well, the speed of the boss is the speed of the team. And we're going to be watching and we will hold you to account. I should say, Paul, I’m in Phil Thompson's office right here in Townsville. That's not WA behind me, as you can probably tell. And I spent a good day with him, and obviously did the joint presser with him. And Phil and I are going to be watching very closely what this Defence team does over the next few years.


PAUL MURRAY: Let's compare the pair - two blokes who served the country who now serve their community, versus two blokes who served the Labor Party their whole life. I know which side I'm backing. Andrew, all the best. Say g’day to Thomo for all of us as well. Enjoy Queensland mate.


ANDREW HASTIE: Thanks, Paul. Good to speak with you.