HOST: Prime Minister Morrison.
PRIME MINISTER: Great to be here.
HOST: We can’t believe that you’re actually here and as Sam Pang say…
HOST: Yeah my first question is who thought this was a good idea?
PRIME MINISTER: [Laughter] We’ll find out whether it is or not in a sec I suspect.
HOST: It’s most unusual to have the actual Prime Minister in here with us, I mean…
HOST: Yeah I don’t think I’ve interviewed a Prime Minister before.
HOST: No. So far on the show we’ve done the Honey Badger expose… um…
HOST: Who’s starting, who’s kicking off, Swannie?
HOST: Um, I’ll ask. I would love to know, why do you want to be Prime Minister? It seems like a terrible job.
PRIME MINISTER: Well it’s a great job. I love the job. The best thing about this job is it doesn’t matter where you go in the country everybody is happy to have a chat with you. That is actually the best part of the job. It doesn’t matter where I am; I was up at Bathurst on the weekend and we’re chatting to families who are there and that event was amazing. I got to do a hot lap with Mark Skaife and my little girl Lilly came with me for the day. I didn’t tell her she was going to be on national television and she’s sitting there in the back of the hot lap and we’re coming down off the mountain and it was literally like being on the Wild Mouse. And we were rolling around and her pig tails were up in the air and she was having a great time. So look, the serious part of the job is a great privilege and you can make a difference everyday – how good is that?
HOST: Did you step up when Peter Dutton got interested? Because him wanting to be Prime Minister is a little bit like when the drummer turns up and says “I’ve written some songs”. Did you just go “Pete, come on mate…” Because you’re like a bass player I think.
PRIME MINISTER: I came pretty late to the party, I’ve got to say. I was there right at the end. But look, when people ask you to step up, you do, and that’s what I’ve done and we are getting on with it.
HOST: Were you embarrassed about the situation?
HOST: With Malcolm?
HOST: Because we were embarrassed for you.
PRIME MINISTER: It was messy. It was a really messy week. But the important thing is that you’ve got to move quickly to get things on track again and we’ve done that. I mean today we are announcing that we are cutting taxes for small business again. We are bringing forward the small business tax rate down to 25 per cent. So every hairdresser in the country, every tradie who’s out there working this morning running their own business, you’re going to pay 25 per cent under us.
HOST: I did read this but do you know what else I read…
HOST: You’ve misread the room. I don’t know if you know this but I’m anti small business… [INAUDIBLE]. By the way, there’s a bit of heat on outside the studio. As I ask my questions if you see a red dot… just… [laughter]… I can be accused of being a bit cynical, you know what I mean. Largely caused by a lifetime of inconsistencies by politicians. So I thought what I’d do is I’d actually go to a school last night for a fete and I’ve asked some kids, I’ve said you were here that you’re coming on, so I’ve actually got some questions from the kids if that’s alright.
PRIME MINISTER: Sure.
HOST: By the way no money changed hands, it was not a cashier, Scott. In case you’re wondering.
HOST: This one’s from Molly, who’s seven, says I was so excited when I heard the Prime Minister was going to be on Chrissie, Sam, and Brownie. Please thank Alan Jones for allowing him to appear on your show.
PRIME MINISTER: Molly’s pretty switched on.
HOST: What did you think about Alan Jones, the way he spoke to the CEO of the Opera House?
PRIME MINISTER: Well he did apologise for it.
HOST: He apologised?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah he did apologise for it. As I said at the time, they weren’t painting it on, it’s all sort of passed now. It became a bit of a kerfuffle up there in Sydney, but you know, it’s all passed now. You know, the Opera House is still standing.
HOST: Red dot on your head right now.
HOST: With education, because I see you guys are in charge of the Government schools and as someone who sends their kids to Government schools very proudly, you send your kids to private schools. How can we trust that you’re going to have Government schools in the best, you know, efforts?
PRIME MINISTER: Well state governments run the state government schools…
PRIME MINISTER: No no. The state government runs them but we’ve put $29 billion extra into our public schools and into our independent schools and into our Catholic schools. You know, everybody should have a choice about what they do. I went to public schools all of my life, so did my wife, and we took a decision to send our kids to a Christian school because that’s how we are bringing our kids up and when parents want to do that they should have that choice. But state schools, they are the heart of the education system for the overwhelming majority of families. About 30 per cent of kids actually go to non-state schools and we want all kids to have the best education regardless of what school they go to and our funding package backs that up.
HOST: It’s like you guys run a fish and chip shop but you send your kids to the sushi shop next door.
PRIME MINISTER: No look my kids…
HOST: Don’t have the fish and chips, go to the shop next door. So it’s like, how can you actually support government schools when you’re not supporting themselves.
PRIME MINISTER: Well I do support state government schools but you know what, if I want to send my kids to a Christian school, why shouldn’t I be able to do that?
HOST: Yeah, but I don’t think everybody has a choice though because it involves money doesn’t it?
PRIME MINISTER: Well it can. There are some schools which are non-state schools that don’t cost much and there are others that cost more and parents make their own choices. But all parents should have their choices and as I said, I went to state government schools…
HOST: And had a great time.
PRIME MINISTER: I did. I enjoyed my time at state government schools and I went to great schools. And there are great schools where my electorate is in Sydney and my kids were going to those schools and then we made a decision to send them to a Christian school. Look, you know what I really don’t like about the education debate? It’s not an us and them thing.
HOST: Well it is though.
PRIME MINISTER: No it’s not. It’s not an us and them.
HOST: Of course it is.
PRIME MINISTER: No. I mean, why do we have to set parents against each other? Why do we do that?
HOST: Yeah but… it’s not… just because…
PRIME MINISTER: Why do we have to put kids who go to one school against kids who go to another school? How about parents just make their own decisions be supported in their choices and let them all have a great education?
HOST: Because there is a culture that says that private school is better than state school…
PRIME MINISTER: That’s not my view.
HOST: Well it’s back to $14 billion or something that’s just been slashed off public school education…
PRIME MINISTER: No they haven’t. We are increasing the amount of funding going into public schools by around $20 billion over the next five years and we are increasing the amount that’s going into independent schools and into Catholic schools. We are spending more and more money on education but what I want to see is I want to see us get good results for that money. I mean you can’t just splash money around and think that’s the answer. We are investing more in schools, I mean, the Commonwealth Government has increased our funding to public schools five times faster than state governments have. So we are in there and we are backing them in, but you know what, I don’t think…
HOST: The results for state schools are often on par or better than the private schools.
PRIME MINISTER: Of course they are. The reason I’ve decided to send my kids, because you guys have raised it, to an independent school is because I want them to go to a Christian school. I think the education quality they were getting in the public school was as good; I just wanted them to go to a Christian school.
HOST: I want to talk to you about this because the two big headlines in the last few days has been the tax cuts that you were talking about for new business but also this, and I don’t really understand it but I don’t like the way it smells, Scott Morrison. I’m going to read you the front of it then you can explain it to me. Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, that’s you, has backed the right of religious schools, so Catholic private schools, I went to one, to discriminate against gay students in a political row over a confidential report into religious freedom. That sounds really bad.
PRIME MINISTER: Well it also sounds untrue.
HOST: Great. Explain it then.
PRIME MINISTER: Well what happens is under current law, which was introduced under the Labor Government, by the way, Tanya Plibersek, they introduced the law which allows religious schools to exercise their judgement about who can work in schools and all the rest. But what the proposal is to us is that that should be refined to make it better to ensure that the interest of the child is put at the centre of any decisions. The report also finds that there has been no practice where these schools have been doing this either. So all I said yesterday was what is being talked about is currently the law and it was actually a law introduced by the Labor Party when they were in Government. Now what has been proposed to us by Philip Ruddock is we should be tightening that law to ensure that the interest of the child is put at the centre of the consideration and I think religious schools will support that strongly. So you know, once again, people go out there and say I’ve said something that I haven’t said at all.
HOST: But shouldn’t it just be scrapped anyway? Like, no one should really have the right to discriminate against somebody according to their sexuality.
PRIME MINISTER: I don’t think people should have a right to discriminate against people on the basis of their race, on the basis of their gender, or on the basis of their religion, or any of these things…
HOST: Or their sexuality.
PRIME MINISTER: … or their sexuality. I genuinely believe that and protecting people’s faith is as important as protecting their discrimination on their race. So there’s been a report on that, we are going to look at that carefully. But I want to stress, what we are looking to do, what’s been proposed to us, is to ensure that the children at the centre of these issues are at the centre of consideration. And the law that we currently have, which the Labor Party brought in actually doesn’t do that.
HOST: Scott, I’ll just give the last word to little Andy, last night who was eight years. Sorry mate, we’ve got to go because we’ve got the mystery word coming up.
PRIME MINISTER: [Laughter]
HOST: So little Andy who is eight said, this is a question from last night, your predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull finished his tenure looking like a broken man crippled by the compromises he’s had to make to placate the hard-right members of his party…
HOST: How old is this kid?
HOST: Eight. Now that you’re PM, is it comforting to know that Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton have got your back? Like is that a comfort to you?
PRIME MINISTER: What I’m really comfortable about is that I come in here with you guys and I can hear from these young children who clearly spend a lot of time… [INAUDIBLE]. I’m encouraged by the state school system here in Victoria which shows such an intense level of understanding of modern politics.
HOST: The fete was at Scotch College…
PRIME MINISTER: Look, we are righting the ship really quickly, we are getting on with it, we are backing small businesses. It’s been fun to come in here with you guys to talk about important issues. Schools are an important issue, discrimination is an important issue, and making sure we create jobs and young people… you know last year 100,000 jobs created for young people: the strongest ever year of growth for youth employment in Australia’s economic history. You get a young kid into a job, it changes their life forever.
HOST: You’re looking at Deano when you’re saying that. Was he one of those jobs?
HOST: Mr Prime Minister, Deano, I’m glad to have you here…
HOST: And also, he’s 56 by the way.
PRIME MINISTER: [Laughter]
HOST: You know what… this man is cooked out of his mind…
HOST: Can I ask you about marijuana laws? Where are we at with legalising weed, boss?
PRIME MINISTER: We are nowhere near it.
HOST: Oh come on.