Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

Transcript
03 May 2017
Prime Minister
Schools funding; Commonwealth infrastructure funding in Victoria; Vice-Regal appointments; US visit
E&OE

DAVID KOCH:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joins me now, good to see you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good to see you, Kochie.

DAVID KOCH:

Sort of a little bit of smoke and mirrors here isn’t it? You’re giving back a bit of what you’ve already cut.

PRIME MINISTER:

No what we’re doing is we’re providing a substantial additional amount of funding. I mean Labor had -

DAVID KOCH:

From what you promised.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well yeah, from what we had previously.

You see what we’re doing is we’re actually fulfilling David Gonski’s vision. David Gonski’s big idea – which the Labor Party did not follow – was that every student, every school student in Australia, should be given Government funding to their school, based on their need and it should be consistent across the states and consistent across government and non-government schools.

Now that’s what we’re delivering.

And you saw, David Gonski was there with us yesterday - he’s welcomed it, he’s supported it.

DAVID KOCH:

But it’s not as much as Gonski originally recommended though is it? It’s less than that.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, hang on, no, that’s not right. Gonski did not recommend a specific amount of money.

What the Labor Party did was they entered into 27 conflicting deals. So you had students in, a same student with the same needs in one state, would get less money than a student in another state.

They created a mishmash of conflicting deals.

That’s why so many people have welcomed what we have come out with today, particularly the independent schools and primary school and state school organisations, parents organisations because they can see the clarity and the equity of what we are delivering.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

We are delivering consistency and fairness right across the country.

DAVID KOCH:

The experts I talk to say ‘less funding, but way better distributed.’ So it is going to be a better playing field. But, yes, they may have done all these conflicting deals, but New South Wales for example, Rob Stokes, the Education Minister there, saying: ‘I don’t like your plan, I like the old Labor Party one, because I am going to get more!’ He’s talking about taking you to court over this!

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, let me just say this to you-

DAVID KOCH:

And he is a friendly government, a conservative.

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, let’s be clear though, the Labor Party never had the money.

What they proposed, I mean Colin Barnett, who was the West Australian Premier at the time, called it out. He said at the time, it was obvious they didn't have the money. It was Monopoly money.

What we’re proposing here, what we are setting out is fully funded and you are right, what you’ve been told is right - it is consistent, it is fair.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER:

This is Gonski the vision.

DAVID KOCH:

So rich schools are going to get less? Have you rung your old school Sydney Grammar and said: ‘fellas, I’m going to cut your funding’?

(Laughter)

PRIME MINISTER:

No, just to be clear, there are only about 24 schools, it’s estimated that actually receive less, and not a lot less-

DAVID KOCH:

And they are rich private schools, aren’t they?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, that’s right, independent, they’re non-government schools. They will receive less per student, not a lot less, and the reason for that is that the goal is to get everybody being treated equitably and consistently. 

And because of the way Labor handled it, some schools were getting funding well ahead of others, some were behind.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

It was all over the place.

Now under Labor’s proposed plan - even with the supposed extra money, which was Monopoly money I might add – but even with that it would have taken 150 years to get the consistency and the fairness that Gonski proposed. So we’re delivering that.

Now what David Gonski is doing, the Gonski 2.0 is not about funding, because we believe we’ve got the dollars right – and so does David. What the real question now is, how do we ensure that with all of that money, we get better schools, better teachers and better results?

DAVID KOCH:

And it’s fairer.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah and that’s the critical bit. We need to get better outcomes. We owe that to our kids.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright, a couple of quick ones. Victorians aren’t too happy today – the Herald Sun is saying that you and Bill Shorten are favoring New South Wales over Victoria with new railways and new airports. Fair comment?

PRIME MINISTER:

No it’s not fair. We are spending 20 per cent of our total budget on road funding in Victoria.

I mean the real problem in Victoria, Kochie, is the state government. Remember, they payed $1.2 billion not to build the East West Link. They tore up that contract and blasted away over $1 billion in compensation and costs for doing that.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

We are putting real money into the Western Freeway. Real money into the M80 Ring Road, the western road there. And we are prepared to look at commitments to other big projects in Victoria. We’re putting money into regional rail, into Murray Basin rail-

DAVID KOCH:

Okay - so you still love Victoria?

PRIME MINISTER:

We adore Victoria. Love Victoria.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

Love Victoria. Marvelous Melbourne. 

DAVID KOCH:

You love everyone, we know.

PRIME MINISTER:

I love trams.

(Laughter)

DAVID KOCH:

Give em’ a big kiss

Alright. News Corp columnist Miranda Devine reckons you should appoint Tony Abbott Governor-General. What do you think of that? Fair idea? We’ve had former Prime Ministers as Governor General before and they’ve done alright.

PRIME MINISTER:

Is that right? Have we had former-

DAVID KOCH:

Bill?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, Bill was a former Foreign Minister, but yeah, I don't think we have ever had a former Prime Minister. Well, you never speculate on Vice-Regal matters, but it just proves that Miranda Devine is as original and creative as ever.

DAVID KOCH:

So do you think it’s got merit? It’d keep him quiet.

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh look, you can’t, you never ever speculate or comment on vice regal matters, even if it’s as fascinating a suggestion as Miranda has made.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright. You are off to New York to meet ‘the Donald’.

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s true.

DAVID KOCH:

You’ve got to be back for the budget next week, so it’s a quick trip.

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a flying visit.

DAVID KOCH:

What are you going to talk to him about?

PRIME MINISTER:

We’ll talk about the wide range of security and economic issues. But top of the list obviously at the moment is North Korea-

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER:

And the situation in the Middle East.

DAVID KOCH:

Are you a bit nervous because the last phone call wasn’t great? He was a bit grumpy with you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, the reports were pretty exaggerated. It was a very frank, courteous and forthright call and I’m sure we’ll get on very well–

DAVID KOCH:

But his team leaked it, didn't they?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh I don’t know. The so-called leak - which I said was inaccurate in many respects - was in The Washington Post.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah but it was his people that leaked it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t know who leaked it.

DAVID KOCH:

Right. Will you take him a present? Sort of housewarming?

(Laughter)

PRIME MINISTER:

I am sure we will exchange courtesies. We don’t need to be bringing big gifts, but we will have something to commemorate-

DAVID KOCH:

A tea towel or something like that?

PRIME MINISTER:

A mulga wood ashtray, perhaps? You see they’re out of date nowadays – no-one smokes anymore.

(Laughter)

DAVID KOCH:

Alright, that’s original. Well done Prime Minister.

(Laughter)

PRIME MINISTER:

But I’d just say this about the Coral Sea commemoration, which is what it’s all about.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah – it’s really important.

PRIME MINISTER:

Can I just say this was the turning point in the Second World War. This was the first time the Japanese advance was reversed.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

An invasion fleet headed to Port Moresby - which would have taken Port Moresby - was stopped and it was stopped by a combined effort of the Australian Navy and the US Navy, fighting together, side-by-side for the first time.

DAVID KOCH:

It was extraordinary. Amazing bit of history.

PRIME MINISTER:

A great moment in history 75 years ago.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright, enjoy the trip. Safe travels.

PRIME MINISTER:

We will. Thank you.

[ENDS]