Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

2GB Ray Hadley


RAY HADLEY: Minister, Good Morning.

MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Ray, good to be with you again.

HADLEY: Ok, Tony Burke – ‘Tony Perk’ is on the front page of the newspapers again over his expenses. Now I know we had a little running battle about this a couple of weeks ago. There was one sacrificial lamb from your side of politics, Bronwyn Bishop, they will probably keep me quiet if we can find another sacrificial lamb in Tony Burke so the score is one a piece.

MINISTER MORRISON: The great problem Tony Burke has is he is a hypocrite. I mean he was judging someone by another standard that he won’t apply to himself. This was a junior Cabinet Minister who made the Foreign Minister look like a homebody based on the report today. The joke in his own electorate is that the way he saw his own electorate was from 30,000 feet. The guy’s problem here is the hypocrisy and the way he prosecuted Bronwyn Bishop but wasn’t prepared to hold himself to the same standard. Now that is a matter for him, he set that standard, he went after Bronwyn Bishop and he made that point. Now the Government is getting on dealing with the serious issue of entitlements and that is the proper process and Mr. Tune and others are doing that, and Brendan Nelson and I am pleased about that and it is a good thing to be doing. But there is the outstanding issue of Tony Burke’s appalling hypocrisy.

HADLEY: Now just about the standards you refer to, the Conde-Tune Report, the Telegraph has gone into detail about some of the overseas trips taken by MPs. I can tell you from the email reaction today, this sits in the craw of many listeners. When people are about to leave parliament they seem to find the need to go to Italy, Germany, Austria, Nepal, Ecuador, Paraguay and other places – and it is from both sides of the House. Labor Senator John Hogg went to Italy, Germany and Austria; I mean you wouldn’t have known he was there until you got his travel bill. Liberal Senator Brett Mason went to Nepal, former Labor MP Dick Adams travelled to Ecuador and Paraguay. Surely this is something that the Conde-Tune Report has to look at in detail? When you are about to go – it is tantamount to me saying to Singo the day I retire “look I am going to go December 31 but between July 1st and December 31 I am going to take all that accumulated leave and you are going to pay for me to travel the world. I am not going to do anything for you by the way but you are going to pay for me to do it.” It wouldn’t stand the test in private enterprise; it shouldn’t stand the test in Government or Opposition.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well I think these are the issues that the Tune-Conde Report has to look at Ray. It’s important that we give through that process to the public the confidence about real change to the system. As a Member of Parliament and as Minister I just want the rules to be clear so we can just get on with the job and not have these things come up as they do and people can have confidence about how their money is being spent. That is what we all want and I am sure that is what the public wants. But issues of hypocrisy, and those sitting in glass houses throwing stones, still remain unresolved.

HADLEY: I know that I get labeled as a conservative commentator, I am happy to wear that particular tag, but I wish some people particularly those who wrote in the Fairfax newspaper the Melbourne Age on Saturday would absolutely come out and declare themselves “I’m a conservative commentator, hello yes I am, I have conservative values yes I do.” But those who swing from the other side…

MINISTER MORRISON: There would be shock all around the world.

HADLEY: Yes there is and Andrew Bolt is conservative too…

MINISTER MORRISON: Another big shock.

HADLEY: And Alan Jones might be one although on some issues he swings the other way from time to time – as I do. I have had battles with you and I think the two biggest battles I have had on air were with Alexander Downer over him not telling people that there were pedophiles operating in hotels in Indonesia and we had a screaming match. I have never had a bigger blue with any politician than I had with him. But anyway that being said the people who wrote the story in the Fairfax newspapers need to declare themselves as card-carrying members of the Labor Party who want Bill Shorten to be the next Prime Minister. This disgraceful attack on Captain Andrew Hastie who is standing for the Liberal Party in the Canning by-election in Western Australia following the death of Mr. Don Randall. They need to identify themselves, this was horrific stuff, this was as low as it gets.

MINISTER MORRISON: It wasn’t just the journalists it was of course the editorial team who could not wait to rush this into print. This was an out and out disgraceful partisan attack on a Liberal candidate, someone of extraordinary standing. This is the bloke, Captain Andrew Hastie, who was the one who reported this matter up the chain of command, was cleared of any wrongdoing. There is one matter I understand is still outstanding but it is not just the shameful reporting of The Age and I am not surprised their circulation is dwindling to that of a small community newspaper when they put this sort of rubbish on the front page but in addition to that we have got Labor MPs out there joining the sledging, joining the sledging. The most silent voice on this is the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten.

HADLEY: Well I think Brendan O’Connor needs some credit because he…

MINISTER MORRIS: Yeah Brendan called it out.

HADLEY: He reined them in but there are two palookas in Western Australia who I have never heard of and probably will never hear of – they are state members of the opposition over there. I mean all this social media stuff they think they are cute and smart denigrating a man who gave service in defense of this country.

MINISTER MORRISON: Absolutely. It is shameful and I think Bill Shorten should be far clearer in where he stands on the actions of his Labor colleagues in Western Australia on this. He can’t just come out and give a glib statement like he did on the weekend. He needs to decry it and denounce it and so far he hasn’t done that. Now I am happy to stand corrected if Bill has come out in the course of the last hour and said something different but last time I checked it was a pretty feeble display.

HADLEY: Ok, the Prime Minister is in remote indigenous communities, a promise he kept. This week he is the Torres Strait in the far northern part of Queensland, north of the tip. I have got to say with no disrespect intended to him for other matters, he is at his best when he gets to these communities. I think we get to see the real Tony Abbott.

MINISTER MORRISON: And I will be joining Tony there tomorrow…

HADLEY: Oh will you?

MINISTER MORRISON: I’m flying up there late tonight and I will be at Bamaga over the next few days with Tony.

HADLEY: You wouldn’t believe it; I had a phone call from Bamaga on Saturday during the continuous call team. Two Queensland Cup teams, and there is an extensive report in the Courier Mail today, travelled up there to play a game of the Queensland Cup.


HADLEY: North Devils and Northern Pride I think it was. The population of Bamaga is 745. There were 1,000 people from the other indigenous communities who came there but I did speak to a lovely lady, an indigenous lady I would assume, who told me that she got to us through the Black Star indigenous network up there, and she told me that they are encountering the same problems in Bamaga that we encounter in Cabramatta, Chermside and everywhere else across Australia.

MINISTER MORRISON: True. Of course there are significant issues of disadvantage that are specific to indigenous communities Ray but there are also issues that are common to non-indigenous communities as well. Whether that is drugs, or that’s welfare dependency, or things like this, these things also happen in non-indigenous communities right here in our own city. Many of the responses that we need to take to these issues are the same. But look I am looking forward to going up there, we will looking at welfare issues, we will be looking at child care issues, education and maybe there will be the chance in the odd hour off to have the odd game of touch footy who knows.

HADLEY: Exactly, now I don’t know if you had time over your busy weekend to hear my interview with the former Treasurer Peter Costello on Saturday during our Saturday morning programme. But he had some advice for you because I named you as the go to man to try and get Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir and others across the line. His advice was simply this, suck up as much as you can. He spoke about the later Senator Brian Harradine, when he was trying to get the partial sale of Telstra through; he said Brian was very concerned that mobile phone coverage would be affected in Tasmania so he told me quite candidly Tasmania now has more mobile phone towers than any other location anywhere on the planet. He also told me about Senator Harradine being a bit upset about a textbook – not a text in the modern sense, a textbook that was being put out around schools about sex education so he canned that and he went to the Education Minister and said “get rid of that because Brian is not happy about it.” So it appears you are right and I am wrong because you have always been a consensus man and said “Ray we can’t yell at these people we have got to be nice to them.” So according to Mr. Costello you need to suck up more to Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir et al.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well you just have to talk and listen basically and do a bit more listening than you do talking…

HADLEY: And do what they want?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well you have got to listen and that is the key.

HADLEY: He said you have got to say, “what will it take to get your vote?”

MINISTER MORRISON: Well it is a fairly binary process I have got to say and that I think is fairly transparent. I mean Peter has been a mentor of mine for a long period of time and he makes a lot of sense and I often listen to his good sense. But as the Social Services Minister what I tend to do – I mean I can talk to people about things that happen in my patch when we discuss these issues. Now my patch is $154 billion that is twice the size of the NSW State Budget so there is a fair bit to work with there but look you have got to be patient too Ray and we are working through a number of issues. I see a report – another report in Fairfax today going on about not enough legislation being passed. Since when was having more laws, more regulation, the measure of being a good government? I mean we are actually a government that is trying to reduce the amount of regulation at the moment; we are the ones who actually have a measure that we are seeking to pursue at the moment, which says that you need more than just a Twitter account to have standing to stop a $16 billion mining project. What we are seeing at the moment is we are seeing these projects basically getting stopped by environmental advocacy and you have got to have more than a Twitter account to be able to put 10,000 jobs at risk.

HADLEY: Now that has been taken up strangely by the Labor Government in Queensland. There is an article I referred to in my opening from the Courier Mail today saying exactly the same thing. The Minister up there responsible – you would expect the mining industry to say the same thing but the Minister who came to power saying “oh we have got to stop all these developments, stop this and stop that.” Then all of a sudden they have come and realized how many people are going to be out of work in Queensland if they stop everything and they are scratching their heads saying, “oh dear, what do we do now? Because we will lose the election on the basis that we will have ten per cent unemployment.”

MINISTER MORRISON: Standing is something that has to be established and our view is that standing on that current environmental law the bar is too low. Now this isn’t just about the Adani Carmichael mine as those who are opposing this change are trying to focus to, this is about a broader campaign by environmental activists seeking to kill jobs. As a government we are going to stand up to it. It is also about – we are out there trying to attract important investment into the country, that is what Andrew Robb is doing, to get big projects underway and you have got to keep the faith on that by ensuring that if you are wanting people to come and invest then you back their investment in where they satisfy the highest environmental standards and not allow them to be gamed by Twitter activists in the courts.

HADLEY: Thanks for your time as always. Talk next week.

MINISTER MORRISON: Thanks a lot Ray.