Richard Marles

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Richard Marles

Richard Marles crop.jpg
Shadow Minister for Defence
Assumed office
23 July 2016
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Corio
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded byGavan O'Connor
Personal details
Richard Donald Marles

(1967-07-13) 13 July 1967 (age 51)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Spouse(s)Lisa Neville (divorced)
Rachel Schutze
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
Trade Unionist

Richard Donald Marles (born 13 July 1967) is an Australian politician and the Shadow Minister for Defence and was formerly the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. He was briefly the Minister for Trade from July to September 2013 and has been the member for the Victorian federal seat of Corio, based on Geelong, since 2007. Marles previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs between 2012 and 2013.

Background and early career[edit]

Marles was born in Geelong, Victoria. He is the son of Donald Marles, a former headmaster of Trinity Grammar School, and Fay Marles, Victoria's first Equal Opportunity Commissioner and later Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. He was also the General Secretary of the National Union of Students in 1989.

Marles was educated at Geelong Grammar School and the University of Melbourne where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws with Honours. He started his career as a solicitor with Melbourne industrial law firm Slater and Gordon. In 1994, he became legal officer for the national office of the Transport Workers' Union (TWU). He was elected TWU National Assistant Secretary four years later. In 2000 he joined Australia's peak national union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), as Assistant Secretary.

In March 2006, Marles nominated for Labor preselection against the sitting member for Corio, Gavan O'Connor, as part of a challenge to several sitting members organised by the right-wing Labor Unity faction of the party. In the local ballot Marles polled 57% of the vote, and his endorsement was then confirmed by the party's public office selection committee.[1][2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Marles was elected member for Corio on 24 November 2007 in the election that returned the Labor Party to office under the leadership of Kevin Rudd. From February 2008 to June 2009 he was chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. In June 2009 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry.

Marles retained his seat in the 2010 election and was sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs in the First Gillard Ministry on 14 September 2010.[3] In July 2011, Marles became the first Australian member of parliament to visit Wallis and Futuna.[4] Marles arrived in Wallis and Futuna to attend a ceremony with King Kapiliele Faupala in Mata-Utu marking the 50th anniversary of the islands' status as a French Overseas collectivity.[4] Marles had previously visited New Caledonia in October 2010 and French Polynesia in March 2011.[4]

In the ministerial reshuffle of 2 March 2012, Marles was given the additional role of Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.[5] On 21 March 2013 he resigned these roles after expressing support for Kevin Rudd to challenge Julia Gillard for the leadership; a challenge that did not eventuate.[6]

In June 2013, he was appointed the Minister for Trade and a member of the Cabinet,[7] succeeding Craig Emerson, who resigned following the June 2013 leadership spill that saw Kevin Rudd defeat Julia Gillard for leadership of the Labor Party.

From February 2016, Marles has co-hosted the weekly television program Pyne & Marles on Sky News Live with Liberal MP Christopher Pyne.[8]


  1. ^ "Two more fall in faction battles". The Age. Melbourne. 10 March 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  2. ^ McManus, Gerard (19 October 2007). "Gavan O'Connor targets Labor party". Herald Sun. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Australia reaffirms cooperation with France in Pacific". Tahitipresse. 1 August 2011. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  5. ^ Gillard, Julia (2 March 2012). "Changes to the Ministry" (Press release). Prime Minister of Australia. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  6. ^ Best, Cameron (22 March 2013). "Corio MP backs the wrong side". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Second Rudd Ministry" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ Molloy, Shannon (28 January 2016). "Christopher Pyne ... the TV star? The colourful MP lands his own weekly show, alongside rival Richard Marles". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Craig Emerson
as Minister for Trade and Competitiveness
Minister for Trade
Succeeded by
Andrew Robb
as Minister for Trade and Investment
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Gavan O'Connor
Member for Corio