The opposition spokesman for Defence has called for continued bipartisanship around the defence industry and has cited the need for deeper thought in order to move the industry forward.
Member for Corio Richard Marles joined the Defence Connect podcast team where he discussed the current government's and opposition's similar views across the defence industry.
“I think defence industry is obviously very important for our national economy. It's also important in strategic sense for our sovereign capability. Labor has championed that for a long time,” stated Marles.
"We do now have a bipartisan position, really, about supporting a domestic defence industry, where there is as much Australian industry content associated with what is being procured by the Australian Defence Force as possible. That's obviously a good thing."
The Victorian MP said he hopes that this bipartisanship will ultimately lead to a more sustainable defence industry, but stressed that more thought and analysis must be done if the industry is to progress to the best of its abilities.
"What I hope the bipartisanship does now is allows us all the freedom to perhaps think a little bit more deeply about this and make sure that defence industry going forward is sustainable," said Marles.
"It's in this respect that I think there is a requirement to do some more thinking."
Marles said that this thinking around developing a successful and sustainable defence industry must consider the current state of defence exports, to which he suggested looking at the more successful defence industry companies around the globe.
"Having Australian industry build what we are, procuring [for] the Australian Defence Force is great, but when you look at the major defence industry companies around the world, often what they do for their home defence force is central and may have been the beginning of their business, [but] the really successful ones are export oriented," he said.
"I think that's the thing now for us. How do we build an export-based Australian defence industry? I think there's a question to be asked, do we have a defence industry, a long-term sustainable one, which doesn't have an export focus? I would suggest that it's absolutely critical that we get that. How do we make sure that we bring that about?
"It feels to me like the decision around our defence industry is kind of a bit half pregnant at the moment. Great that we're building stuff for our own defence force, but are we making this the national mission that we need to in order to create a long-term, sustainable, export-based defence industry in the future?"
To hear more from the Labor MP, stay tuned for our exclusive podcast.