Last night Professionals Australia member Gavin Scarman attended the candidates forum in the South Australian seat of Hindmarsh.
Gavin is an experienced Defence professional and lives in Hindmarsh, and like many of our members he wanted to know what politicians (and aspiring politicians) have to say about the critical losses the Defence science and engineering workforce are experiencing as a result of the pay and recruitment freeze implemented by the current government.
The forum was televised live on the Sky News program, ‘Paul Murray Live’ (listen to the podcast here).
The crowd responded positively to Gavin’s question, but not so much to the candidate’s answer. Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Gavin and Liberal candidate and incumbent Matt Williams
Gavin: My question is to Matt. Despite spending billions on French science and technology at the same time, during the entire period of this current government, you have frozen the pay and recruitment of your own Defence science and technology, so we are haemorrhaging the skills staff, the world leading staff, at the moment and you are doing nothing about it. Will you give a commitment to do something about our own Australian defence science and technology?
Matt: I’m glad you raised the question about technology and what the defence industry means. And that’s because the submarines build or frigates build, that will involve technologies in Australia. Whether it be combat systems from the US, whether it is Raytheon, whether it’s Lockheed Martin, whether it is Saab Systems, they are based here employing software engineers and highly skilled Australians and highly skilled Australians. That is great news for Australia. In terms of the Defence… and the Centre for Defence Capabilities will help work with local industry to maximise the Australian industry benefits, not just global supply chains like BAE Systems with the Joint Strike Fighter, but also supply chains, and that’s a fantastic initiative. More jobs, more investment by the federal government in South Australia.
Following filming, Gavin was able to speak further with Matt Williams MP, Labor candidate Steve Georganas and Daniel Kirk from the Nick Xenophon Team.
If you want to get involved in our campaign to secure defence capability, or to make science and engineering skills in your industry an election issue, get in touch.