3AW Neil Mitchell
NEIL MITCHELL: First some people are touting him as a future leader, the Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison good morning.
MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Neil.
MITCHELL: Thank you for your time I know you haven’t got long, what is the one thing Tony Abbott needs to change?
MINISTER MORRISON: PPL and that has been done. That will not be going forward and the good reason for that is because we need to get the focus of the families package on child care because it is the inability to get access to affordable childcare that can prevent families going back to work and then getting caught in a welfare net for potentially the rest of their lives and we want to avoid that.
MITCHELL: But do you really think just changing PPL will turn the government’s fortunes around?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well you asked me the one thing and that is the policy thing I think that will be an important change…
MITCHELL: Ok, will that turn things around?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well I think the other thing he will say more on today is that the consultative process he engages in is something that he has acknowledged needs to change and he is making some pretty big changes to that today. Our government members, Michael Sukkar and others down there in Melbourne, Bruce Billson and a whole range of others, they are the ones with their most ears to the ground obviously and we need to make sure that is hard-wired connected into the decision making process.
MITCHELL: Isn’t the PPL another broken promise?
MINISTER MORRISON: We took it to two elections but at the end of the day it hasn’t been accepted in the Senate, it won’t be able to proceed there and we need to look practically about what’s the best way to help families.
MITCHELL: So it is a broken promise?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well it is one that hasn’t been able to be implemented because it has been rejected. He took it to the election, he put it before the people and it hasn’t been accepted. So you just don’t stand there and do nothing then, you go ahead and do the best you can to help Australian families and the reality is that child care is where we believe that focus can best be put. He was moving there last year I should stress Neil. He asked me to come and do this job late last year. We have been talking about it for some time as have other members of the government and I think it is a good decision.
MITCHELL: Who has been approaching you to stand as leader?
MINISTER MORRISON: I have heard this speculation but maybe they are ringing some other number…
MITCHELL: So you have had no approach?
MINISTER MORRISON: Look, no there are people who scatter things around Neil but at the end of the day I am focused on doing the job I am doing…
MITCHELL: I understand that but have you had an approach or not?
MINISTER MORRISON: I would not describe it like that.
MITCHELL: How would you describe it Mr Morrison?
MINISTER MORRISON: I would describe it as people clearly have some angst around a whole bunch of issues they want to see fixed. That is understandable. I would be a fool to think the government is rolling in clover at the moment. We obviously aren’t and we have got some heavy weather but our problems aren’t the problems that I think the Australian people are worried about. They are worried about their problems and how we are going to fix them and that is what we have got to focus our minds on.
MITCHELL: Would you like to lead one day?
MINISTER MORRISON: Oh look, come on any politician that goes to Canberra and seeks to serve would seek to serve as best they can wherever they can and take the opportunities where they can but I can assure you of this I am not the one who would be challenging Tony Abbott and would never be someone who challenged Tony Abbott. I am focused on working with Tony Abbott to ensure we have the right policies in place to fix Labor’s horrific mess.
MITCHELL: Yeah but nobody is talking about a challenge I would have thought if anything tony Abbott is the sort of bloke who would jump on his sword if it came to that and then you might have to be a candidate, would you be?
MINISTER MORRISON: This is fantasy football speculation and it is not something I get engaged with as a Cabinet Minister because that is not my job. That is the job of others and that is fair enough and people will be having those discussions around the water cooler or wherever and I understand that but that is not something the government can get caught up in. We have got to get focused on what we need to get done and I am very pleased about this change on PPL because I think it does get the focus where it needs to be. We also made the change to the marriage counselling vouchers and putting that money back into frontline social services. I think that is a good move and we are working on a whole range of these things so that is where all my attention is.
MITCHELL: Do you believe you can win the next election?
MINISTER MORRISON: Of course I do and it is really important that we do because Bill Shorten does not have a plan to fix the problems Labor left behind. He has got a plan to stop us from doing it and the problems don’t go away. They don’t just magically disappear because people have discussions about leadership. They need to be fixed and that means some difficult stuff.
MITCHELL: You agree it is going to be a hell of a fight to win it?
MINISTER MORRISON: There is always a hell of a fight.
MITCHELL: From this position though, look at Queensland.
MINISTER MORRISON: Of course I don’t discount the challenge and the difficulties that governments have but frankly our problems are not what the Australian people are worried about. They are worried about their problems, that is as it should be and that is where our focus has to be and that is where I believe it is.
MITCHELL: Could I suggest the leader is the problem and the people are worried about that. By all the polls they don’t see him as a good leader and they want good leadership.
MINISTER MORRISON: Good leadership involves getting the right policies in place and ensuring that you are listening and consulting. I think that is what people will hear from the PM today. They don’t want to see a government obsessed with itself. They want to see it obsessed with the Australian people . that is how the Prime Minister thinks about it, certainly how I think about it. But that is not to say Neil that we are living in lala land on this sort of stuff. We know, I know, we all know that people have some real frustrations and anxieties about some of these issues and we are going to work hard on fixing them.
MITCHELL: Have you discussed the crisis with Julie Bishop or Malcolm Turnbull?
MINISTER MORRISON: No.
MITCHELL: Do you agree it is a crisis?
MINISTER MORRISON: No I don’t agree it is a crisis. I think what we have got is a lot of concern following from an election results and some poll noise and all of that and I think there are some real concerns in the community about can the job get done of fixing Labor’s mess? That is what we were elected to do and I think people were very pleased that we stopped the boats, very pleased we got rid of the carbon tax and mining tax. We are creating 500 jobs every single day last year – three times what it was in 2013. That is all good achievement but we have got to get the politics right and that is what as a team we need to focus on – that is all of us, not just the leader, it is all of us.
MITCHELL: I know you are very busy I appreciate the time. Thank you.
MINISTER MORRISON: Thanks a lot Neil, good to talk to you.