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Political foes put aside attacks for Defence

Politics

Steven Marshall and Peter Malinauskas will present a “bipartisan” united front at a major international defence expo in Paris this week, after the Premier invited the Opposition Leader to attend with him.

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Defence SA will have a stall at the biennial Euronaval conference, a world-leading naval defence expo which starts this weekend and features more than 400 exhibitors from 34 countries.

Marshall told InDaily Malinauskas would be attending at his invitation, “because we feel very strongly that these defence and space opportunities really are important for SA”.

“We’re looking forward to moving it back to a bipartisan portfolio, where all members of parliament take on a very supportive role in securing as much work for SA as possible,” he said.

He said the Labor leader would be “participating in all the events” and had “already had detailed briefings from Defence SA” which were not attended by Government members.

“We’ve genuinely moved back to a bipartisan approach to this, and I’m delighted he’s taken on the portfolios of Defence and Space,” he said.

“There are incredible opportunities meeting with people from the Naval Group supply chain, the BAE supply chain, the Offshore Patrol Vessels supply chain… we’re going to be doing everything we can to encourage further investment from overseas into our supply chain in SA.”

Malinauskas told InDaily the Premier “rang me and invited me to come along, and articulated the reasons why he thought that was important – and I agreed with him”.

“I think where bipartisanship can be achieved for the long-term strategic needs of our state, that’s a good thing,” he said.

“It strikes me that naval shipbuilding is an area where we want bipartisanship [and] I want to acknowledge and thank the Premier for his invitation.

“It’s an opportunity that hopefully will serve the state well… in terms of the overall long-term strategic importance for our state, the opportunity to be able to demonstrate that there’s a spirit of bipartisanship on this area bodes well for making sure we get the best chance of investment.”

He said the potential investments from forthcoming defence contracts will “outlast the life of this parliament, and the next -and the next”.

“People focus on the fact that the government changed but something else changed too, and that’s the Opposition,” he said.

“People understand that governments change hands, but we want to see a continuity of commitment around this – and maintain a sense of bipartisanship.”

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