Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

2GB Ray Hadley


MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Ray. I’m a happy shark today.

HADLEY: Yes I got your text yesterday, you were sitting with Mario. I hope you left Mario Fenech alone while your Sharks were demolishing his South Sydney Rabbitohs.

MINISTER MORRISON: He was pretty worked up, anyway he is a passionate supporter of the Rabbits and it was good to see him.

HADLEY: Now I saw your performance yesterday on the Andrew Bolt Programme on Channel Ten and I know I can almost answer this question on your behalf already with the Canning by-election now less than a week away. Your mate who you have Chinese meals with every now and then Malcolm Turnbull as I have said to you before is doing your Party and this country a great disservice with the games he is playing. He had an opportunity when the Whip approached him on Friday about issuing a statement, Andrew Nikolic, saying look I am not in a leadership battle with the Prime Minister. He won’t do it. That would suggest to everyone including me that he must be plotting behind the scenes. What is your view?

MINISTER MORRISON: Again Ray we have been over this I don’t know how many times on the programme. Everybody knows where I stand supporting the Prime Minister I have got no idea what others are up to and that’s up to them and I have no reason to think that anyone would be up to anything Ray because…

HADLEY: That’s what you said yesterday…

MINISTER MORRISON: Yep and nothing’s changed.

HADLEY: Are other people plotting behind the scenes that you know of?

MINISTER MORRISON: I have got no idea mate. Because I mean if they were they wouldn’t be talking to me because they know where I stand but I am going to continue mate not to amplify this or give it oxygen because I don’t think it helps the government, particularly in the run up to Canning…

HADLEY: I don’t think it does either but you must admit you have said on this programme that you have a high regard for Malcolm Turnbull. You must admit that he is white anting the Prime Minister.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well no I am not going to get into a commentary on him either. I mean others will make their commentary I am not going to say that because I haven’t seen him doing anything. He hasn’t said anything to me so…

HADLEY: Didn’t you see the smarmy walking down the street with his dog yesterday and having an organised chat with his wife and you know the picture to say you know I am above all this. I mean honestly look you didn’t come down in the last shower. He is white anting the Prime Minister and he should be called out by someone who supports the Prime Minister for the damage he is doing to your Party.

MINISTER MORRISON: I support the Prime Minister but I am not about to get into a slanging match about others’ commentary mate. I have got my job to do and my job is to resettle 12,000 refugees in Australia now and to do that as effectively as we can and to focus on those we need to help the most. That is where my focus has been as you know.

HADLEY: Well I am surprised he hasn’t spoken to you because if Graham Richardson is right, as he is usually on these matters, on Sky News this morning he declared that he can’t win any challenge Turnbull because he needs you because you deliver the numbers from the right that he would need to win in a ballot.

MINISTER MORRISON: I think Graham grossly exaggerates my influence for a start but secondly you know Graham and I actually spoke this morning…

HADLEY: He said that on Sky News.

MINISTER MORRISON: I heard there was this scuttlebutt going around and people suggesting – my position hasn’t changed and you know I was at the footy last night, got in here late and this morning we had an event here in Parliament House. You know I am getting on with the business of what the government should be getting on with.

HADLEY: Do you think there is a possibility that there may be a snap election once Canning is out of the way and I was most interested to here Michael Kroger on the same show yesterday with you. He said look this swing away is being overstated, he reckons that there was a big personal vote for the late Don Randall which was out of kilter with everything else, a 12 per cent swing his way because it was Don Randall who was a very popular local member may he rest in peace. He is saying it is more like if we win by a two per cent margin that would be a huge boost to the government that is what he is saying.

MINISTER MORRISON: A win is a win. A win is always a win in any political context and in any political contest. That is right about Don, he was a good mate of us all and he was incredibly popular in his electorate. I have got to tell you though Andrew Hastie, he is a champion candidate. I have seen a lot of candidates in my time Ray as you know I used to be a Director of the Party in NSW. I have seen some fabulous people go into Parliament and he is amongst the best of them that I have ever seen so I am just thrilled that he has put his hand up for us and the people of Canning next weekend will have the opportunity to send a very decent good family man to Parliament.

HADLEY: Now you make the point and I know you don’t want to get involved in it, is this being media driven then? Laurie Oakes was on Channel Nine least night, we had the stuff that has been laughed about published in the Telegraph last week about six blokes for the high jump and I heard Michael Kroger’s comments again yesterday declaring that anyone that shifts at least two of them and I think Andrew Robb was head of the list would be stark raving mad because the job that he has done in relation to trade. And it is not just Fairfax media News Ltd played a role there as well, is there an agenda by some sections of the media?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well this place has a habit of feeding on itself Ray all the time. I have seen that change over the years down here. You know in the days where there wasn’t 24/7 and social media and all that sort of thing things used to operate a bit differently. It acts on fast forward now and accelerate – look that is just, I am not complaining about it, I am just saying that is how things are now. You sort of have to discount a lot of the frenzy in these types of environments because a lot of it is driving itself but particularly you know I think people like Andrew Robb and Ian MacFarlane these guys have been doing a cracker job. I can’t think of anyone who could have negotiated that deal better than Andrew Robb, the guy has worked himself into the ground since coming to the government. There is not a harder working Minister in our government than Andrew Robb and Ian MacFarlane, no one knows more about industry policy in this government than he does. I have found him a great colleague to work with. I could go on about the others but just those two in particular I would highlight as cracker Ministers.

HADLEY: It is funny how listeners are in touch with things. One of my listeners, David, has made the point in my criticism of Malcolm Turnbull as he walked along with his puppy dog and his wife yesterday looking like he didn’t have a care in the world; don’t forget that rather stupid collar standing up. Now that is something that doesn’t happen where I come from in the western part of Sydney but it appears to be the domain of Eastern Suburbs types like the Member for Wentworth. Where they – it is a bit of a wank I have got to say and I will do it now I have got a golf shirt on. You know I am talking about the blokes that turn their collars up – their t-shirts up, it is an indication of someone being up themselves.

MINISTER MORRISON: You’re going to start having a crack at me about watching the rugby next, like you do when you accuse me of having the hors-d’oeuvres before the test match as well.

HADLEY: Thank you David for making that point, that stupid collar standing up is not a go either. So Malcolm get rid of that.

MINISTER MORRISON: You are becoming quite a fashion critic, it was my shoes the other week and now it is Malcolm’s collar.

HADLEY: I think blokes that wear t-shirts with the collar stuck up are stuck up themselves.

MINISTER MORRISON: You should be fashion ambassador for fashion week I reckon mate.

HADLEY: That won’t be happening. I want to take issue with a story from yesterday in The Age newspaper.


HADLEY: These two reporters, and I won’t identify them because they are not worthy of reporting. They are now identify the new ‘para-military immigration agency’ – the Australian Border Force. Now this is the story – ‘Australian Border Force officials have secretly transported an Iraqi man to Christmas Island despite a Melbourne magistrate granting the man bail while he awaits trial on drugs charges’. ‘The man’ so it goes on, ‘has lived here on a humanitarian visa since 1998, reported to police as part of his bail conditions when he was detained by officers of Australia’s new para-military immigration agency’. Now that is like saying they are a secret organisation operating outside the government.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well it is and it is very disrespectful to the men and women who serve in the Australian Border Force who do a great job for our country. I want to take my hat off to Peter Dutton too for backing in that decision. If it was me I would have punted him to Christmas Island too.

HADLEY: Hang on, let me go through it. Then they write in the article ‘the former Shia-Iraqi refugee who has a lengthy criminal record in Australia and extensive connections in Melbourne’s underworld was on bail and could face a criminal hearing over his alleged involvement in a $6 million heroin ecstasy importation ring’. Then they say ‘the 31 year old was taken into custody after the Australian Federal Police called in Australian border officials. The Melbourne based magistrate hearing the case rejected a bid to have his bail revoked. The man’s defence solicitor successfully argued he posed no risk…he was detained on the same day Fairfax media published details of telephone intercepts from an unrelated court matter that authorities believe included a coded message to collect the debt and possibly maim or kill someone on behalf of a jailed outlaw bikie’.

MINISTER MORRISON: I mean it is unbelievable. What are they suggesting Peter Dutton should do, have the bloke around for a cup of tea and a biscuit or something?

HADLEY: Fairfax media stand condemned for publishing this story and calling the Australian Border Force ‘a new para-military immigration agency’.


HADLEY: The two reporters need to pull their heads in because we are looking for wood.

MINISTER MORRISON: I couldn’t agree more with that and I think they have made exactly the right call. People seem to misunderstand when they write these stories the difference between our immigration laws and our more general criminal legal proceedings. Just because someone has been granted bail under a criminal court proceeding does not in any way impact on what the Immigration and Border Protection department may determine to do in accordance with policy and their responsibilities. They are two separate tracks. The judge can say what they like and that is fair enough and I am not going into his decision there at all…

HADLEY: Well I will.

MINISTER MORRISON: By all means but the Immigration and Border Protection officials will make their call based on their responsibilities and to conflate the two and level this outrageous attack against the Australian Border Force – there are some out there both in politics, particularly the Greens but also those elements of the media, who are trying to demonise the Australian Border Force. It is the Australian Border Force that work with me, when they were Customs and Border Protection and Immigration Department, to stop the boats and to stop the deaths. These people deserve medals and we gave them medals.

HADLEY: Let me just say in relation to the magistrate, how the magistrate gave the bloke bail is absolutely beyond me, particularly when he was detained on the same day Fairfax media themselves published details of telephone intercepts from an unrelated court matter that authorities believe included a coded message to collect the debt and possibly maim or kill someone on behalf of a jailed outlaw bikie. Now had there been an Australian Border Force in operation to overrule the magistrate who let Man Monis free, maybe two innocent people may not have lost their lives in December of 2014. So chewy on your boot the journalists from The Age newspaper, you are both wrong, you are both incredibly biased and to describe them as ‘a new para-military immigration agency’ is a blight on them – the men and women doing a good job.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well they get my Muppet award for the week.

HADLEY: Yeah one hundred per cent. Now the story in News Ltd papers today, refugees who were granted permanent visas under the previous Labor Government, and how many are we talking about there? Give me that number again.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well the surveyed number was around about 2,400 from memory. That is who we have surveyed, there are obviously more resettled.

HADLEY: Representative of how many?

MINISTER MORRISON: Oh 11,500 who came and were given visas in that year or there abouts. But what the survey showed as is reported today and as I mentioned in the Bolt Report yesterday, is almost 90 per cent are on some form of government benefits.

HADLEY: 88 per cent.

MINISTER MORRISON: Around six per cent are able to find a job. What these figures really tell us Ray is that it is a difficult job to resettle people from these countries. We have a big challenge with these 12,000. What we have committed to just so it is really clear, we obviously have a planned intake for those out of Syria and Iraq for this year and we have resettled almost 8,000 since we came to government. On an annual basis that is almost two thirds higher than what the previous government was doing for those two cohorts combined. So we have a planned intake over the next few years. On top of that planned intake we will be taking additional refugee and humanitarian entrants because already we would have been planning quite a large number of people to come out of Iraq and Syria, particularly persecuted minorities. As I made clear on the weekend that means Christian particularly minorities. It doesn’t mean we are not taking those of other beliefs or others who are persecuted, of course we are, but over the last two years more than 70 per cent has come from those persecuted minorities, particularly Christians. So we have got to get it right, we have got to work the process, we are not going to rush it. If you are going to take 12,000 overnight you would have to get a pretty big marquee and put it up down on Shark Park to get everybody in and that is not how you do it. If you want to fail then rush it.

HADLEY: Now, dole bludgers which is not politically correct in 2015 but I use the expression anyway. The Daily Telegraph reporting double dipping, creating fake identities for themselves to rip off the welfare system. Your portfolio – what do we do?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well in the last Budget we put – Minister Payne and I put over $200 million into sharpening up our compliance activities and that means specifically engaging law enforcement people working with our Human Services Department to better equip us to crack down on these cheats. We estimate that around about $1.5 billion will be saved over the Budget and forward estimates by putting this welfare cop on the beat and I have got to commend Marise Payne she is all over this, all over it. We are getting the results. Data matching and using those techniques is a key part of how we do that but everyone – not everyone I should say obviously – but there will always be people who will try and game the system; thankfully they are not the majority. It is a small minority but we are after them.

HADLEY: Ok, one final thing, Peter Dutton – who I will talk to on Thursday so please don’t say talk to him because I will. Because you were there with the Prime Minister and Mr Dutton. You obviously knew there was a boom mic there and Peter Dutton didn’t, it is not a hanging offence…

MINISTER MORRISON: Of course it is not.

HADLEY: He was having a joke and you were very diplomatic yesterday I thought you know when Andrew tried to bait you into defending a colleague and you said well if people are offended they are offended and we should apologise for offending people and you are exactly right. But he was having a joke about you know and Andrew Bolt produced figures yesterday showing that the sea levels weren’t going to engulf those Pacific Island nations despite the hysteria that is attached to that. But when into the conversation did you become aware of the boom mic?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I was always aware of the boom mic…

HADLEY: But you didn’t know it was live?

MINISTER MORRISON: No I knew it was live and these things are always live, every microphone is always live, that is the assumption you always make. But I mean I wasn’t really that engaged in that other conversation but…

HADLEY: You were sort of nodding and just going “yeah, yeah”

MINISTER MORRISON: Not my best ear but nevertheless I mean it was a light-hearted remark it wasn’t intended to offend.

HADLEY: It was a joke; it was probably not the best joke in the world either.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well people will make that judgement but it wasn’t…

HADLEY: I don’t think Peter will do stand-up anytime soon.

MINISTER MORRISON: Peter wasn’t [inaudible] about climate change or anything like that. Look it is a common sense thing and this was the point I was making yesterday. We work closely with all those countries, they are good friends of ours and sometimes you know if you have offended someone and they have taken offence the right thing to do – the friendly thing to do is to apologise for that and that is what Peter, I thought did graciously. Others want to beat it up to kingdom come on this; they should just get over it. He has said clearly and honestly that he regretted causing any offence and that should be the end of and we will all look heaven-ward whatever room we walk in to from here on in to look for that big boom.

HADLEY: You need to take him under your wing.

MINISTER MORRISON: You know I have got a high regard for Peter Dutton. I think he has done a great job picking up in immigration and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he has held the line on the borders which has enabled us to do this very generous act of 12,000.

HADLEY: There are notorious occasions where – I remember at a Logies one year one of the people who was co-presenting had a radio mic on and went into the bathroom and was talking to someone in the bathroom and everyone heard what was being said. Not generally but in the audio room they all heard what was being said.

MINISTER MORRISON: Now please tell me Michael Ennis is going to be up there in North Queensland next weekend?

HADLEY: I think you might have to go round without him ok?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well he has been a great leader in our club this year. He has been fantastic and Luke Lewis as well and of course Gallan answered his critics yesterday as well.

HADLEY: For people who don’t follow rugby league the Minister is talking about his beloved Sharkies team who have been in the comp since 1967 and have never ever won a premiership.

MINISTER MORRISON: Maybe this year, maybe this year. But Albo was there yesterday he left pretty early. He left a little early but that’s alright was good to see him there with his rabbits hat on.

HADLEY: Maybe he will leave early after Canning next Saturday as well. I will see you later.

MINISTER MORRISON: Thanks a lot Ray, good to talk to you.