Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Multiple Sclerosis event at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, November 29, 2018. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Doorstop, Canberra

29 Nov 2018
Canberra, ACT
Prime Minister

Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

JOURNALIST: Do you have any issues with the way Malcolm Turnbull has conducted himself since you took over the leadership?

PRIME MINISTER: No I don’t provide any commentary on that. We stay in contact.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how relieved were you after that phone call with Craig Kelly yesterday when he told you that he wasn't going to go to the crossbench?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I wasn't considering the option that he was and that's never been the subject of our conversations.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, would you have any consideration about Ben Roberts-Smith, the developments today that the AFP is investigating him over allegations of war crimes. Do you have any response to that?

PRIME MINISTER: Look, I absolutely, like I think all Australians, respect the enormous contribution that Ben Roberts-Smith has made to his country and as I do for all Australians servicemen and women and where there are formal processes that are underway, I'll respect those processes. I'm sure all Australians will.

JOURNALIST: You're flying off to the G20. What is the message that you would send your backbench colleagues, all of your colleagues, about loyalty while you're away?

PRIME MINISTER: What all of my team are talking about and as we have been all this week and as I will continue to from this day all the way to the next election, and that is a strong economy is what guarantees the essentials that Australians rely on. And we have the runs on the board and we have the - I believe - the trust and confidence of the Australian people to be the ones who are better able to manage that economy into the future. That's what guarantees Medicare, that’s what guarantees things like MS research. You can only do that if you're running a strong economy and you can only do that if you can manage a Budget. Now, we know how to manage money in the Liberal and National Parties, we have demonstrated that. You’ve asked the question, now let me answer it. What I'm saying is, is that we're putting down a Budget next year. That's what we're focused on.

JOURNALIST: With respect you’re not answering the question.

PRIME MINISTER: That will be the first surplus Budget that we have seen in 12 years and that's what pays for things like MS research. That's what pays for things like life-saving affordable medicines for Australians. So that's what we're focusing on. That's what we're doing. That's what we're delivering and that's what I'll be taking to the next election. The next election will be about who can run that strong economy to deliver the essential services that Australians rely on and it's a choice - it's a choice the Australian people will be able to make and they can either choose Bill Shorten who wants higher taxes or they can choose me and the Liberal Party and the National Party which will keep taxes down and grow that economy can which gives then the essential services they rely on.

JOURNALIST: Do you think - are you still confident that you can move to ban discrimination against the kids on the base of their sexuality before the end of the year?

PRIME MINISTER: That really is a matter for the Parliament and I have sought to deal with this in a bipartisan way. I have put forward two proposals to seek to deal with this in a bipartisan way and I'm disappointed that the Labor Party has sought to politicise this issue and play political football with it. I remain of the view I would like to see this matter addressed in the same terms I set out some months ago.

JOURNALIST: So in the spirit of bipartisanship, what do you make of the legislation Labor has taken to the Senate?

PRIME MINISTER: Well that's different to what we proposed to them and we heard nothing from them for over a month until one of them, the Shadow Attorney-General, decided to go and do an ABC radio interview. I don't consider the way they’ve handled that in the spirit of, I thought, the bipartisan approach that I had offered. So I found that disappointing. Our proposals are very clear and we would seek support for those proposals that we put forward.

JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed not to be meeting president Trump at the G20?

PRIME MINISTER:  Watch this space as he would say. Thank you.