Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Today Show, Nine Network

Program: Today Show


LISA WILKINSON: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.

MINISTER MORRISON: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Tell me, what do you have against stay at home mums?

MINISTER MORRISON: I do not have anything – in fact that is our own family’s experience. This is a package to support childcare and the reason why the Commonwealth Government is involved in providing subsidies for childcare is to help families be in work, get work, and stay in work; that is the whole point of it. It is not a welfare payment; it is not a pension payment or anything like that. It is designed to help families be in work and get in work.

WILKINSON: But all of these women are working just as hard and some would argue harder than other working mums.

MINISTER MORRISON: All mums work hard. Every single mum works hard. I think everybody acknowledges that. The childcare subsidy though is there so when mothers who are in paid employment go to work, that is the reason why we do it. Now for those on low incomes we will continue to provide two days a week, 6 hours a day of early childhood learning for families who are on low incomes just like we have a broader package which is supporting families who are disadvantaged or vulnerable. So we are keeping that support for those in that situation. The childcare subsidy that taxpayers pay for is there to help families be in work and stay in work in paid employment.

WILKINSON: So this is all designed to push them out the door to get jobs? Where are those jobs?

MINISTER MORRISON: No, no Lisa. That is not fair.

WILKINSON: Where are those jobs going to come from and if they do get jobs where are the new child care places going to come from?

MINISTER MORRISON: Firstly in terms of the growth of jobs that is what the economy’s growth and the Budget is designed to do and why we are seeking to give incentives and give encouragement to business and others all around the country. More will be said about that in the Budget. In the issue of child care places themselves we have actually got a fund which is there to support child care services in areas where they are not viable but the Productivity Commission found that it is a mixed bag when it comes to the over-supply and under-supply of childcare centres. But the whole point of people being in work and staying in work for so many families, two- thirds of two-parent families are double-income families now and that is because families increasingly have to be in work. What this does is helps those families have the choices to be in work and have child care work for them rather than them having to work for childcare.

WILKINSON: Well you currently have just over $9 billion worth of family benefit cuts stuck in the Senate, if they do not get through will these changes still come into effect?

MINISTER MORRISON: You have to pay for every new investment you make. We want to spend $3.5 billion extra in low to middle income families, some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families, families with disabilities, families in remote and regional areas. That is where the new money is going and we want to do that but you have to pay for it. We have savings that are currently before the Senate and if others have alternative savings then they need to put them up but our savings are there very clearly, they have been there for a year. This is a good way to reinvest the money which the taxpayer has given us for the Social Services portfolio in an area that helps families have the choice to be in work and stay in work.

WILKINSON: So you are going to have to jump into bed with the Greens to get the crossbenchers across the line?

MINISTER MORRISON: I have already had discussions with crossbenchers around these issues as I did over the pension matters. These are the areas that I have been focussing on now for some time. This will go where it will go and we will keep working hard with the crossbench but we are doing the responsible thing here, we are paying for the increased investment that we are seeking to make. The Labor Party talks about robbing Peter to pay Paul, they want to tax Peter, Paul and Mary to pay for an ever-expanding welfare bill and that is not what this government is going to do.

WILKINSON: You have really been the face of this Budget. You have been everywhere in the last week batting about seven interviews to every one of Joe Hockey’s, even holding a press conference yesterday with the Prime Minister that excluded the Treasurer. This is his budget. Whose decision was it for you to release so much of your budget detail ahead of Tuesday and leave Joe Hockey out of this announcement?

MINISTER MORRISON: These are areas within my specific portfolio Lisa and that is why I have been announcing them and yesterday I announced them with the Prime Minister. All of these are measures that will go into the budget. This has been part of a team decision about how we can ensure people have appropriate time before the budget to digest all the big, important measures that are in this Budget. If you announce everything on budget night there is not enough time for people to absorb the information and that is why we are getting these measures out so people can fully understand what is happening with families who need childcare and what is happening with the pension.

WILKINSON: But surely you can understand that you are cutting the Treasurer’s grass here?

MINISTER MORRISON: No I’m not and I think that goes against the very real objective we have here to help people understand what we are doing in this budget and giving people time to look at these individual measures. Rather than having…

WILKINSON: What is wrong with looking at them after Budget day and letting the Treasurer release that detail?

MINISTER MORRISON: As you know, Lisa you are an experienced journalist, there is a lot of information in the Budget. This enables these particular measures which are important measures for families and older Australians, to get the detail, to have them understood and then they can focus on the many other important economic measures that will be in the Budget. What we are doing here is we are explaining and communicating our Budget and I think that is a team decision and it is a team objective and hopefully we are succeeding in helping explain to people what we are doing particularly for families and older Australians.

WILKINSON: Did the Prime Minister ask you to release it?

MINISTER MORRISON: It is a team decision. We are all involved in the decisions about how we get the information out there. Joe Hockey is…

WILKINSON: He is the captain. Was that a captain’s call?

MINISTER MORRISON: No, it was a team decision Lisa. This is what I’m saying. Joe Hockey is doing his part in the team, I’m doing my part in the team, the Prime Minister is doing his part in the team. I think the hyperventilating over this issue is just getting frankly a little bit ridiculous.

WILKINSON: Frankly, you are seen as the rising star of the Liberal Party. Your front bench colleague Christopher Pyne has even described you as Prime Ministerial material. Do you want to be Prime Minister some day?

MINISTER MORRISON: I want to do my job, Lisa. That is what I’m doing

WILKINSON: Would you like to be Prime Minister one day?

MINISTER MORRISON: Everybody wants to do the most they can to support what they have gone into politics for. There is no shortage of people in Canberra like that. What I am trying to do…

WILKINSON: Do you rule out one day being Prime Minister?

MINISTER MORRISON: Lisa, seriously. This week I have released important packages for families who want access to child care and what is going to happen to the Age Pension. That is far more important than anything you are putting to me now.

WILKINSON: Ok, I think we also need to know if you are someone who has ambitions to one day lead the party because obviously you have got a lot of public support at the moment. Do you rule out or in having your eye one day on the Prime Ministership? It is not bad thing; it is not bad to be ambitious in politics.

MINISTER MORRISON: Lisa, the problem with all this is it’s distracting from the main message of the Budget. I will seek to do as much as I can in politics to the best of my ability wherever that takes me Lisa…

WILKINSON: People like you and they like that you deliver.

MINISTER MORRISON: Well that’s nice. It is flattering and it’s nice but the real job is the one I’ve come on the program to talk about today. I will seek to do as much in politics as I have the opportunity to do, like any other Member of Parliament. There is no shortage of ambition in this place that is something that can drive people to do good things for the country as it drives Joe to do good things for the country and Tony and the rest of the team. We are led by a strong captain and that is exactly what we are focused on explaining to Australians that we want to do the right things by families and the right things by older Australians.

WILKINSON: And as all good politicians do, you are very good at not answering a question. Thank you very much Scott Morrison.