Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

2GB Ray Hadley


HADLEY: …I had a text exchange with him yesterday when I didn’t work, he was seeking to come onto the programme before Monday so the invitation was extended to come on, he is now in our Canberra studio so we are not in the same room, he is there and I’m here. Minister, good Morning.

MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Ray and congratulations on yesterday with the graduation

HADLEY: Very happy for my youngest daughter. Why haven’t you spoken to Tony Abbott since last Monday night Scott?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well we spoke very briefly after the ballot, I shook his hand and said good luck and that was the last conversation we have had?

HADLEY: Why haven’t you reached out to him?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well mate I don’t see when bosses change and when radio bosses might change, when footy coaches change you turn up to work the next day and you get on with it. I expressed my condolences to him and I said good luck and I shook his hand.

HADLEY: He was a supporter of yours and a friend of yours.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well mate I said good luck after the ballot and we shook hands when I left.

HADLEY: Were you embarrassed by the role you played in his demise?

MINISTER MORRISON: Absolutely not. I had no role in his demise. For the last 5, 6 years I served Tony Abbott as a shadow minister, as a Minister and I gave him everything I had. I gave him everything he asked me to do, every policy achievement, stopping the boats, dealing with welfare, running our campaigns in opposition, seeking to get the government elected as we did. That’s what he got from me. He got my vote on Monday night and he had my support.

HADLEY: What about your factional allies Stuart Robert, Louise Markus, Lucy Wicks, Burt van Manen, Steve Irons?

MINISTER MORRISON: You must be confusing me with Bill Shorten. No, let me finish. You must because in the Labor Party and in the unions people go around strong arming people for their votes, now I don’t do that mate.

HADLEY: Did you have a ‘Wickr’ exchange, that’s a self-destructive message device that you’ve been known to use in the past, with either Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Hawke, Mr Robert, Ms Markus, Ms Wicks, Mr Van Manen or Mr Irons at all last week?


HADLEY: Did you discuss with Mr Hawke, Mr Robert, Ms Markus, Ms Wicks, Mr Van Manen, or Steve Irons any of this?


HADLEY: Did you discuss this with Mr Turnbull any of this?


HADLEY: Did you discuss this with anyone the likelihood that there would be a move against him on the Monday?

MINISTER MORRISON: I did actually, I said, I said on Friday to the Prime Minister’s office that I thought things were pretty febrile and they should be on high alert.

HADLEY: Can you exchange why, can you tell us why you voted for Mr Abbott and people who look to you for leadership in Hawke, Robert, Markus, Wicks, Van Manen, Irons voted for Mr Turnbull?

MINISTER MORRISON: They are their own people, they make their own decisions.

HADLEY: And you didn’t influence them in anyway?

MINISTER MORRISON: I told them I was voting for Tony Abbott and I did.

HADLEY: Do you find it a bit strange that you’re the only Tony Abbott supporter that will be elevated in the Ministry that will be announced on Sunday?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I believe on promotion on merit. The only person who offered me the job…No let me finish, no Ray, Ray, Ray. Ray let me finish, the only person who offered me the job of Treasurer before the ballot on Monday was Tony Abbott.

HADLEY: If you look down to your right hand side in the studio, there is a book there.

MINISTER MORRISON: No there’s not actually.

HADLEY: Well there should be a book there. If you look down, one of my staff will get it for you. As a man who has confirmed with me on many, many occasions of your staunch religious beliefs that when you tell me something, as you did on Monday and you have repeated that now, do you understand now that I think you misled my listeners on Monday?


HADLEY: Well there is a Bible there. Do you want to put your right hand on it and swear on that Bible?

MINISTER MORRISON: I don’t have one mate and there is not one here. I don’t see what my faith has got to do with it Ray.

HADLEY: Then it would be easier for people to believe…

MINISTER MORRISON: You get to judge my policies but you don’t get to judge my faith mate.

HADLEY: No it would be easier for people to believe you…

MINISTER MORRISON: I don’t have to swear on a Bible mate. I swear an oath when I take a Ministerial office. I swear an oath when I go as a Member of Parliament and that’s where I do those things because they are serious things you do in our parliamentary chamber as part of our democracy. I didn’t mislead you on Monday mate. I haven’t misled you at any time in our discussions over years. Over years. People know me mate. I say what I mean, I mean what I say, I do what I say. The people smugglers know that and my colleagues know that.

HADLEY: Don’t you understand, I mean this is the circumstantial evidence you confront and you are a possible future leader of this country. If it doesn’t work out with Mr Turnbull you are probably next in line. If we do the Labor shuffle and we have three Prime Ministers in three years you might be the one that is elevated to that position.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I am working to see the election of the Turnbull Government at the next election. That is what I am doing.

HADLEY: But on Monday afternoon you were seeking the election of the Abbott Government, allegedly.

MINISTER MORRISON: I voted for Tony Abbott, absolutely and the party room made their decision…

HADLEY: Why didn’t you accept his offer to be Treasurer and Deputy Leader on Monday?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well let’s go through that. What happened on Monday afternoon, and I think this is an important conversation to have Ray…

HADLEY: By the way the Bible is there, it is on the shelf down to your right, if you lean down you will see it there, it is sitting there, it is always there.

MINISTER MORRISON: I think I have covered that Ray…

HADLEY: No, no I just wanted to know whether you saw it or not.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well no I can’t see it. There is not one there mate. I will show you what is there – you have a copy of the Budget from 2009/10. You have a Productivity Commission report and you have got a few other things. I am not going to use my faith as a stunt mate for the programme.

HADLEY: So if it was there you wouldn’t use it anyway?

MINISTER MORRISON: No, Ray I am not going to use my faith for a stunt for your programme.

HADLEY: It is not a stunt.


HADLEY: It is a way of [inaudible] telling the truth.

MINISTER MORRISON: No, no, Ray. Ray with great respect I don’t appreciate you bringing religion and faith into this discussion. Ray I am a man of my word and if you can’t accept that mate then that is your problem, it is not mine.

HADLEY: But don’t you understand the circumstantial evidence here? Peter Dutton is going to get the punt…

MINISTER MORRISON: I don’t know that, how do you know that?

HADLEY: Oh, please.

MINISTER MORRISON: How do you know that?

HADLEY: What, have you been able to talk Mr Turnbull into keeping him?

MINISTER MORRISON: I will have my discussions with Mr Turnbull but why are you suggesting that would be the case?

HADLEY: Would you try and keep Mr Dutton in his position…

MINISTER MORRISON: I think Mr Dutton has done a great job. I have said that on numerous occasions.

HADLEY: Well you obviously have some influence over the Prime Minister because you are being elevated as Treasurer from Social Services so…

MINISTER MORRISON: Well that is a matter for the Prime Minister. As I said, the only person who offered me the job…

HADLEY: [inaudible] shocked and horrified on Sunday when he says you are the Treasurer?


HADLEY: Are you going to be shocked and horrified when he says you are the Treasurer on Sunday?

MINISTER MORRISON: If he asks me to be Treasurer and that is what we do I will have got that on merit the same way I have got every job Ray, the same way you got your job because you have got it on merit, because you work hard and you respond to your listeners and you talk to your listeners and you run a good show. I do the same thing in my job. It may seem remarkable so you that someone in politics actually might be promoted on merit but the only person who offered me the job of Treasurer was Tony Abbott.

HADLEY: It is just strange that you were the only one elevated after voting for Tony Abbott.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well who do you suggest? Who do you suggest?

HADLEY: Who do you suggest for what?

MINISTER MORRISON: Who do you suggest, I mean he can appoint anyone he likes, so who do you suggest he should appoint?

HADLEY: Well I am suggesting to you that the deal was done last week…

MINISTER MORRISON: Well Ray that is a lie.

HADLEY: Well if you can direct Mr Hawke, Mr Roberts, Ms Markus…

MINISTER MORRISON: Why can I direct them?

HADLEY: Well because…

MINISTER MORRISON: I am not Bill Shorten mate. I am not a union thug.

HADLEY: I am not suggesting you are a thug but you are a man of influence and those six votes made the difference because in the end had they voted the other way it would have been – the status quo would have remained.

MINISTER MORRISON: So if they didn’t want to vote for Mr Abbott and wanted to vote for Mr Turnbull I should have got them to act like robots and do something against their judgement?

HADLEY: Certainly not…

MINISTER MORRISON: No, no that is exactly what you have asked me to do Ray.

HADLEY: I am suggesting…

MINISTER MORRISON: Would you do that if Singo rang you? If Singo rang you today…

HADLEY: Listen I am not in Parliament, I am not up for public election as you are so don’t start talking about Singo and all the rest of it…

MINISTER MORRISON: No I am just saying I don’t take instructions and I don’t give instructions, do you?

HADLEY: I have won 91 surveys in a row, that’s why I am here. If I lose 92 I might not be here so I don’t get elected, you do and the people of Australia…

MINISTER MORRISON: You get elected every day.

HADLEY: People of Australia are looking for credibility…

MINISTER MORRISON: Ok, so what is the charge?

HADLEY: Would it distress you to know that Tony Abbott feels betrayed by you?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well he hasn’t expressed that to me, has he expressed that to you?

HADLEY: Someone close to the former PM said of you in the last 24 hours to me that Scott has badly blotted his copybook.

MINISTER MORRISON: And why? Because I voted for Tony Abbott? Because I was one of his best performing Ministers for two years?

HADLEY: Mr Abbott thinks that you ran with the foxes and hunted with the hounds.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well he is wrong. I can understand Ray that people in these circumstances will be very upset. These are pretty traumatic events but at the end of the day I voted for Tony Abbott, I gave him utter loyalty for the entire time I served as his Minister and his Shadow Minister, I did everything, I did everything I could to make his government a success and you know that. Tell me that is not true. Tell me that is not true. At the end of the day the party room made a decision because of the performance of the government. I supported the Prime Minister. He offered me the job of Treasurer hours out from that ballot. He had never done that before. He had never had a discussion with me before about being his deputy leader…

HADLEY: Were you dirty about that?

MINISTER MORRISON: I couldn’t understand…

HADLEY: Were you cranky about that?

MINISTER MORRISON: I can’t understand Ray why I was being offered that job when he had showed such strong support for Joe Hockey. He was asking me to throw Joe Hockey under a bus…

HADLEY: So you were cranky that he hadn’t offered you the Treasurer’s job before Monday?

MINISTER MORRISON: No, no I’m not. I never sought it and Tony Abbott knows that. Tony Abbot knows that I never sought the job of Treasurer from him.

HADLEY: Was your nose out of joint because he offered it to you at the eleventh hour and threw as you just said, Hockey under a bus?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I didn’t understand it and I didn’t understand if we were to be successful that night how we would explain to the Australian people why he thought Joe Hockey was the best man for Treasurer the day before and then I was the best man for Treasurer the day after. I mean one of Tony Abbott’s great strengths is his loyalty and I didn’t understand why he wanted me to pick a fight with Joe Hockey and throw him under a bus and why he wanted to pick a fight with Joe Hockey and throw him under a bus and why he wanted me to pick a fight with Julie Bishop who I had no grievance with.

HADLEY: Are you picking a fight with Joe Hockey now because he is about to go under the 508 to Carlingford.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I am not picking a fight with anyone. I didn’t pick a fight with anyone here.

HADLEY: You just told me you didn’t want Joe Hockey to go under the bus. On Sunday he is going under the bus and you are the man throwing him there.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well no I am not throwing anyone anywhere mate.

HADLEY: Well you are going to have his job.

MINISTER MORRISON: That is a matter for Malcolm Turnbull and when it was a matter for Tony Abbott he said that he supported Joe Hockey. Now I said to the Prime Minister…

HADLEY: Which Prime Minister?

MINISTER MORRISON: The former Prime Minister. I said to him, why don’t you offer Joe to run with you? I mean he is the Treasurer but if you offer me the Deputy then I would be Treasurer so I can’t understand why we would broaden this conflict between Tony and Malcolm to a broader audience and invite other things into this when frankly it was between those two and has been between those two over a long period of time. I have no issue with Julie, I have no issue with Joe. The new Prime Minister will pick his team and that is appropriate.

HADLEY: Did you know about the meeting in Queanbeyan involving James McGrath, Scott Ryan, Wyatt Roy, Mitch Fifield, Mal Brough and Peter Hendy?


HADLEY: Well you said that to me on Monday but as I said…

MINISTER MORRISON: Yeah and I am saying it to you now.

HADLEY: And it is very hard for people to accept Scott.


HADLEY: Well you are becoming the Treasurer on Monday, you are the only one who voted for the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott who is getting elevated.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well look are you going to put that same position if Andrew Robb is appointed Trade and Investment Minister on Monday?

HADLEY: Well if he is elevated, yes.

MINISTER MORRISON: If he voted, as I believe he did, for Mr Abbott…

HADLEY: Do you think he will be elevated?

MINISTER MORRISON: If Matthias Cormann is Finance Minister on Monday has he done a deal?

HADLEY: Hang on is that an elevation or the same job they had?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well what is the difference?

HADLEY: Well there is a big difference. If you keep your job…

MINISTER MORRISON: Ray, Ray what you are suggesting to me…Ok I will let you finish.

HADLEY: Ok thank you for doing that. You are talking about people who will keep their job in the two Ministers you referred to. I am talking about you going from Social Services to perhaps the second most important job in the country being the Treasurer.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well if Mr Turnbull wants to appoint Joe Hockey as Treasurer fine but if he doesn’t do that he will have to appoint someone else.

HADLEY: My mail is he would be breaking a promise to you if he does that.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well he won’t. I have never been offered the job of Treasurer by Malcolm Turnbull. I mean the only person who offered me that job before the ballot on Monday was Tony Abbott and I knocked it back because I didn’t think it was consistent and I didn’t think it had been thoroughly thought through. I didn’t think, as I worked through the issues, that there was no ticket that was running against Tony Abbott. Malcolm Turnbull was running against Tony Abbott. Julie Bishop had not asked Tony Abbott to stand down and so I had no beef with Julie and so why would I want to create two fights rather than one and disrupt the party even further? So mate, you know I can understand you are not happy about the outcome and that is alright, that is alright but to say I had a part in it Ray is utter rubbish.

HADLEY: I am telling you what listeners…

MINISTER MORRISON: And to say…sure.

HADLEY: The circumstantial evidence presents itself that you are the only person who voted for Tony Abbott who will get an elevation on Monday.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well how do you know that, there may be others who do as well on the basis of merit. Fancy that? Wouldn’t it be amazing if Malcolm Turnbull started appointing people on merit.

HADLEY: I will probably have to withdraw and apologise to you if on Monday someone is elevated beyond their current Ministry but at the moment it appears you are the only one.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well you don’t know that Ray. I mean what you are suggesting is, is that the only reason he might consider me for the Treasurer role, if that is what he wants to do, is because of a deal and that is rubbish. I mean your listeners know that in all my portfolios I have worked my guts out and have got good results.

HADLEY: Scott no one is decrying your work as Immigration Minister or Social Services Minister, no one is decrying that. But what…

MINISTER MORRISON: But you can’t believe that my work in both those portfolio Ray might actually lead someone to think I could do a job in another portfolio.

HADLEY: You are a very ambitious young man and it is one of the things I admire about you plus your diligence and your hard work. But what I am suggesting to you is in a moment of weakness you may well have decided that the bird had flown, he wouldn’t sack Hockey because of his amazing loyalty which was unfounded perhaps in the end and you were not going to get the job you aspired to which was Treasurer…

MINISTER MORRISON: No that is not true Ray. I never sought the job of Treasurer and Tony Abbot knows that. I never sought it, not once. I never asked him for it, I never pushed for it, never happened.

HADLEY: Ok. Do you think Julie Bishop or anyone else, and you deny you had prior knowledge, do you think anyone else should have advised the Prime Minister under the Cabinet orders that he was under threat, immediately she knew about it or someone else new about it because she has already admitted she didn’t tell him until well after she knew about it.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well look Julie can answer her own questions. Julie told the Prime Minister as I understand it about what the position was, as a deputy should.

HADLEY: Not when she first heard about it.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I haven’t had that discussion with Julie and so I can’t speak for what she knew and when she knew it and all of those things but Ray, getting back to the point of today’s discussion, look I understand and that is why I was happy to come on today, I mean you and I have been chatting every week for a long time and I know that your listeners have questions about this and that is why I was happy to come on and have a chat and I owe them some answers and that is what I am trying to do today as honestly as I possibly can. I wasn’t going to do that with a…

HADLEY: Would have been easier for you to grab the Bible which is still there and sworn on it and said ‘no I didn’t do it’.

MINISTER MORRISON: No, it is not here Ray and I wish you would stop injecting faith into this but you know if you want me to do it, I am happy to do it but I think it is a bit offensive for you to try and use my faith as some sort of debating point.

HADLEY: You are either happy to do it or not.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well bring it in Ray, bring it in.


MINISTER MORRISON: Bring it in and if this will satisfy you, if that will satisfy you then I think it is a pretty offensive thing to do to use people’s faith and religion in an interview like this. We are mates, mate but that does step over the line.

HADLEY: I am sorry if you are offended by it but it is a way of making sure that I believe you.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well Ray if that is what you need then I don’t think we have the relationship that you thought we had and I thought we had.

HADLEY: Well it is a very simple request, you are a man of faith. There is no good me swearing on a Bible, I don’t share your faith.

MINISTER MORRISON: I will do it Ray, but I think it is a very offensive thing for you to ask me to do. But I will do it if that is what you require.

HADLEY: I won’t make you do anything carried kicking and screaming to the table, if you don’t want to do it, you don’t want to do that.

MINISTER MORRISON: Ray, the reason I don’t wish to do it is because I don’t think my faith and my religion should be a matter of Australian political debate. But if you want to bring that into it, if you think that is the sort of thing you want to display here with the cameras on, if that is the sort of thing you want to choose to do on your programme that is up to you. So I will let you decide whether you want me to do that or not but if you insist I will.

HADLEY: I won’t insist on anything, it is up to you, I will leave it…

MINISTER MORRISON: No, no mate. No, if you put it in there and you want me to do it you insist on it now and I will do it.

HADLEY: I am certainly not going to insist on making anyone do anything they don’t wish to do.

MINISTER MORRISON: No, I don’t wish to have my faith and religion used in this way in Australian political debate but if that is what you want to do, bring it in and we will do it and we will get it over with.

HADLEY: We will talk to you some time in the future. Thank you.