Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

2GB, Ray Hadley

Program: 2GB


HADLEY: He was of course the Immigration Minister now the Social Services Minister – he is on the line right now, Minister G’day.

MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Ray and to everybody in Brisbane.

HADLEY: You told me on Friday via an email that you were involved in the commemorations at Cronulla on Saturday for ANZAC day, how did it all go?

MINISTER MORRISON: It was fabulous. We had over 15,000 people down there at the beach, many thousands up at Miranda; it was a great day all the way through. We had a big live screen which linked us to the Gallipoli dawn service as well. A very special commemoration service where we obviously remembered the 431 people from the Shire who went off to the Great War but we also took time to remember Sergeant Brett Till who was killed in Afghanistan and his family was there to read a tribute to him. It was a very, very moving day.

HADLEY: I’d be disappointed if you didn’t have a say about the mindless, dumb, stupid, unbelievable rant by the SBS reporter who is no longer an SBS reporter on ANZAC day night.

MINISTER MORRISON: It was ugly, it was obscene and I am pleased that action has been taken. I was very pleased with the reaction from Malcolm Turnbull as well; I thought he was right on to it. The right thing has been done. It is a free country, you can say what you like but there are consequences for when you say stupid and ugly things.

HADLEY: Hear, hear. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia is continuing to make last minute pleas to Indonesia to spare the lives of these two Bali Nine ringleaders; Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. They are talking about Tuesday or Wednesday morning. It is a faint hope isn’t it?

MINISTER MORRISON: Sadly I think it is a faint hope but the Australian people can be assured that the government and Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are doing everything that we can even at these late hours trying to keep whatever hope remains alive. Thoughts are with the families of course as well as the two young men themselves and we appeal to the Indonesian government to do frankly what is in its own interests as well. They are seeking clemency for their people all around the world and to take this action would not only count against their pleas in those other countries but obviously it would be in the interests of Australia as well.

HADLEY: Ok. We have had a bumpy relationship in recent times with Indonesia, under your government and before that when they of course stopped the live cattle trade, the previous government. This is I guess even more serious; what do we do as a nation to repair the damage that will be done when what happens either tomorrow or Wednesday morning happens?

MINISTER MORRISON: I think one of the good things about the relationship is the people-to-people relationship is a very strong one. At various times there are issues at the political level which cause tension and strain but between the people of Indonesia and the people of Australia there are very, very strong relationships and that is where we really need to focus. But at this stage we just hope and pray for the best possible outcome and particularly for peace and a sense of support from fellow Australians for those two young men. They did the wrong thing, we all know that and no one condones their actions but we are not a country that believes in the death penalty and these young men certainly had a significant transformation during their time up there. I think that has always been a compelling factor in this case.

HADLEY: Ok. A story in the Sun Herald yesterday about the number of welfare recipients who were overpaid last year by Centrelink, they are talking about 750,000 people receiving more than they should in just the second half of 2014. The biggest class of overpayment was Family Tax Benefit followed by Newstart. Are most of these deliberate rorts or cases where people have simply changed their details and haven’t advised Centrelink?

MINISTER MORRISON: In some cases they are deliberate rorts and we do recover about over 90 per cent of these cases but in other times it is just misreporting of their income and things like that. There is a reporting line: 133 276 -13 EARN, 133 276 – 13 EARN, that is the number you can call to update your details or you can do it at website. It is important to make sure your details are kept up to date with Human Services because obviously if debts are raised then they will have to be repaid and that can cause hardship and it is better not to get oneself in that position in the first place.

HADLEY: How much was overpaid?

MINISTER MORRISON: The details I don’t have exactly in front of me Ray, I am sorry. That is held by the Human Services department which is Marise Payne’s bailiwick. We get 90 per cent back of it, I know that and I think that is where we have to focus and moving into this budget we are working on some improved integrity measures that target those who look to rip the system off, not those who just simply don’t get their details right.

HADLEY: As always we will talk next week, thanks for your time.

MINISTER MORRISON: Thanks a lot Ray.