Richard Marles

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Richard Marles
Parliamentary Secretary Marles with the President of the Republic of Nauru, His Excellency Mr Sprent Dabwido, and Nauru’s Finance Minister, Mr David Adeang (cropped).jpg
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
30 May 2019
LeaderAnthony Albanese
Preceded byTanya Plibersek
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
Assumed office
30 May 2019
LeaderAnthony Albanese
Preceded byTanya Plibersek
Shadow Minister for Science
Assumed office
28 January 2021
LeaderAnthony Albanese
Preceded byBrendan O'Connor
Shadow Minister for National Reconstruction, Employment, Skills and Small Business
Assumed office
28 January 2021
LeaderAnthony Albanese
Preceded byBrendan O'Connor[a]
Chris Bowen[b]
Shadow Minister Assisting for Small Business
Assumed office
28 January 2021
Serving with Matt Keogh
LeaderAnthony Albanese
Preceded byMadeleine King
Shadow Minister for Defence
In office
23 July 2016 – 28 January 2021
LeaderBill Shorten
Anthony Albanese
Preceded byStephen Conroy
Succeeded byBrendan O'Connor
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
In office
18 October 2013 – 23 July 2016
LeaderBill Shorten
Preceded byScott Morrison[c]
Michael Keenan[d]
Succeeded byShayne Neumann
Minister for Trade
In office
27 June 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Preceded byCraig Emerson
Succeeded byAndrew Robb
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 54)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Spouse(s)Rachel Schutze
Lisa Neville
Parent(s)Donald Marles
Fay Marles
ResidenceEast Geelong, Victoria, Australia
EducationGeelong Grammar School
Alma materOrmond College, Melbourne (BSc, LLB)
  • Lawyer
  • Unionist
  • Politician

Richard Donald Marles (born 13 July 1967[1]) is an Australian politician who has been deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Deputy Leader of the Opposition since May 2019. He has held the Division of Corio in Victoria since the 2007 federal election. He was a parliamentary secretary from 2009 to 2013, and briefly served as Minister for Trade in the second Rudd Government from June to September 2013. He has been a member of the shadow cabinet since Labor's defeat at the 2013 election.

Early life[edit]

Marles was born in Geelong, Victoria. He is the son of Donald Marles, a former headmaster of Trinity Grammar School, and Fay Marles (née Pearce), Victoria's first Equal Opportunity Commissioner and later Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.[2]

Marles was educated at Geelong Grammar School and the University of Melbourne where he resided at Ormond College. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws with Honours. He joined the Melbourne University Labor Club in his first week at university.[2] He was also the General Secretary of the National Union of Students in 1989. He started his career as a solicitor with Melbourne industrial law firm Slater and Gordon. In 1994, he became legal officer for 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, remaining in the position until 2007.[2]


Marles in August 2012 with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully

Early career[edit]

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.[3][4]

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.

Parliamentary secretary and Minister for Trade[edit]

In June 2009 Marles was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry. He 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.[5] In July 2011, Marles became the first Australian member of parliament to visit Wallis and Futuna.[6] 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.[6] Marles had previously visited New Caledonia in October 2010 and French Polynesia in March 2011.[6]

Marles in 2012

In the ministerial reshuffle of 2 March 2012, Marles was given the additional role of Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.[7] 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.[8]

In June 2013, he was appointed the Minister for Trade and a member of the Cabinet,[9] succeeding Craig Emerson, who resigned following the June 2013 leadership spill that saw Kevin Rudd defeat Julia Gillard for leadership of the Labor Party.

Shadow minister[edit]

After the ALP's defeat at the 2013 federal election, Marles was appointed Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection under opposition leader Bill Shorten.[1] In February 2016, he began co-hosting the weekly television program Pyne & Marles on Sky News Live with Liberal MP Christopher Pyne.[10] Marles had his portfolio changed after the 2016 election, becoming Shadow Minister for Defence.[1] He has been cited as holding pro-U.S. views and as a "somewhat of a hawk".[2][11]

Deputy Leader of the Opposition[edit]

In May 2019, after Labor lost the 2019 federal election, it was reported that Marles would stand for the deputy leadership of the party, and would likely be elected unopposed following Clare O'Neil's decision not to run.[12] He was formally endorsed as deputy to Anthony Albanese on 30 May, and selected the portfolio of Defence in the shadow cabinet.[13][14]

Following a shadow cabinet reshuffle in January 2021, Marles was placed in charge of a new "super portfolio" relating to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,[15] encompassing a "broad brief across national reconstruction, jobs, skills, small business and science".[16]

Political positions[edit]

Marles is a senior figure in his state's Labor Right faction.[11]

Refugees and asylum seekers[edit]

Marles supports the turning back of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat and a Pacific Solution for the resettlement of refugees.[17]

Marles was supportive of an Australian War Memorial commemorating Operation Sovereign Borders navy personnel who undertook activities to stop asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. That position was slammed by several Labor Left MPs as well as the Greens.[18]

National defence[edit]

Marles is critical of the governments handling of the future submarine program and says that the project has "profoundly compromised Australia’s National security". Marles otherwise supports the bipartisan consensus on national defence matters.[19]

Fossil fuels and energy[edit]

On an interview on Sky News on 20 February 2019, Marles stated that it would be “a good thing” if the thermal coal market in Australia collapsed.[20] He later back-tracked on this statement, saying that his “attack on coal was tone-deaf”.[21]

Following the 2019 Federal Election, Marles maintained that public funds should not be used to subsidise coal, saying “a Labor government is not going to put a cent into subsidising coal-fired power”, and the market should be allowed to make its own decisions, while also saying that if a private company decided to push forward with a mine and gained the necessary approvals that Labor would not stand in its way.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Marles lives in Geelong with his wife Rachel Schutze. He has three children from his current marriage and one from his first marriage to Lisa Neville, who was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 2002.[23]


  1. ^ As Minister for Employment
  2. ^ As Minister for Small Business
  3. ^ As Minister for Immigration
  4. ^ As Minister for Border Protection
  1. ^ a b c "Hon Richard Marles MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Bramston, Troy (29 June 2019). "'First grieve, then learn from election mistakes'". The Weekend Australian. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Two more fall in faction battles". The Age. Melbourne. 10 March 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  4. ^ McManus, Gerard (19 October 2007). "Gavan O'Connor targets Labor party". Herald Sun. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c "Australia reaffirms cooperation with France in Pacific". Tahitipresse. 1 August 2011. Archived from the original on 18 September 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Best, Cameron (22 March 2013). "Corio MP backs the wrong side". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Second Rudd Ministry" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b "The 12 Labor figures who will do the heavy lifting in government". The Australian Financial Review. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2019. Marles is very pro-US and a touch hawkish on China
  12. ^ "Clare O'Neil pulls out of Labor deputy race, paving the way for Richard Marles". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Labor factional boss steps aside to make way for gender balance in Anthony Albanese's ministry". ABC News. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Labor leader Anthony Albanese announces frontbench in wake of federal election 2019". 2 June 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  15. ^ Murphy, Katharine (28 January 2021). "Labor reshuffle: Anthony Albanese elevates Richard Marles to new super portfolio". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  16. ^ Snape, Jack (28 January 2021). "Labor set for climate change shift as architect of emissions target Mark Butler is moved on". ABC News. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  17. ^ "The Refugee Question That Richard Marles Couldn't Answer". New Matilda. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Richard Marles under attack for support of war memorial display honouring boat turnbacks". the Guardian. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Labor misses opportunity to offer new perspectives on Australia's defence policy". The Strategist. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Collapse of thermal coal market a ‘good thing’: Marles". 20 February 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  21. ^ Ferguson, Richard (27 May 2019). "Richard Marles admits attack on coal was 'tone deaf'". The Australian. Archived from the original on 30 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Labor's Richard Marles won't rule out supporting new coal developments". the Guardian. 9 February 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  23. ^ "Richard Marles". Q&A. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2019.

External links[edit]


Political offices
Preceded byas Minister for Trade and Competitiveness Minister for Trade
Succeeded byas Minister for Trade and Investment
Preceded by Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Corio