Radio interview with Alan Jones, 2GB

20 May 2019
Prime Minister

ALAN JONES: The Prime Minister of Australia, good morning to you. I don’t know what to say to you, is congratulations enough?

PRIME MINISTER: It's a very humbling thing Alan. As you know for anyone to be elected as Prime Minister in this country, it’s a great honour. It's a very humbling experience and it's one that has just got me very focused on the job ahead. Getting back to work this morning and getting about the task. 

JONES: You spoke - look I'm speaking on behalf of millions of Australians and I don't care if I embarrass you - you spoke splendidly on Saturday night. Absolutely splendidly, off the cuff, no script, away you went. That was after I might add, you didn't do too badly at bowls I see.


You did all right. I thought the drop kick wasn't too bad. I thought the soccer goal was quite fair. You're a pretty crook chef but you seem to do Ok. And you had said to me last thing on Friday, what did you say? The Sharkies what?

PRIME MINISTER: The Sharks always find a way to win.

JONES: They didn't!

PRIME MINISTER: They didn't on Sunday actually, I was there, but it was that same spirit on Saturday night. 

JONES: Yeah, it's very refreshing isn't it, to know that the public when pushed to the limit are capable of making their own judgments?

PRIME MINISTER: Well this is what I was talking about on Saturday night. This wasn't about me or the Liberal and National parties, it was about quiet Australians as I referred to them, just out there, saying; ‘We just want you to do your job. We'll go and keep doing ours. There are some things we want you to focus on and you've talked about those and we appreciate that. Lower taxes, ensuring we're investing in the hospitals and services and just taking action on the things we need to. But we don't want to have this sort of country where we try and hold some people down, to lift other people up. We don't want to set people against each other. We don't want to have that politics of division.’

Today as we know, we start out again, the Government in our third term. I think they just want to see us get back to work. They don't want to see politics in their face or anything like that. They’ve had their say they've made their decision. Now they expect us to get on with it so they can get on with their lives. 

That's what the quiet Australia have said and I’m going to honour that.

JONES: Yes, I know you will. By the way this success derives significantly from your capacity to prosecute the case in very simple language. But at the same time, even when it came to the debates we were told you were beaten in every one of them. I just wonder what exactly what the agenda was there. You're going to have to contend now with a very powerful -

PRIME MINISTER: Well, one thing about that. John Howard reminded me over the course of the campaign, he said; ‘I only won one debate, in 1996, the second one’.

JONES: I know.

PRIME MINISTER: And he served as our second-longest prime minister. So it’s interesting, in the campaign, what people think are ‘the’ things.

JONES: Yes, I mean the left haven't finished though. They've told everyone that they're ‘morons’ now for voting for Morrison. The stuff out there… are you confident you've got this job to bring people back to the fold? There was some ugly stuff in relation to many of your candidates, I mean Greg Hunt copped it. Andrew Hastie copped it. Tony Abbott copped it. Josh Frydenberg copped it.

We've got to do better though, haven't we in terms of conducting elections in a civilised way? It's easy to disagree that's fine, but you don't have to do that violently, do you?

PRIME MINISTER: We've got to disagree better Alan. I gave a speech before the election down at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and I made this point. Yeah, we can disagree about many things, we all have different views. I heard your introduction just coming into this interview; you know, we're all sort of ‘biased’ one way or the other, because we all have a view about things one way or the other.

JONES: Yeah absolutely.

PRIME MINISTER: But that doesn't mean it that justifies the sort of impolite at best and at worst, quite violent behavior we've seen. One of the reasons I've been so outraged by the farmers’ properties being invaded, is because it’s the most extreme version of that. I mean Ok; you've got a different view about being a vegan. I've got nothing against vegans, that's fine. Everybody make your own choices. But just because you think that, it doesn't give you a right to disrespect others and to go and charge onto someone else's farm.

I remember I was out at Dubbo with Michael McCormack, we were announcing one of our Ag policies and I’ve come across this rather disturbing statistic, which said that 40 per cent of primary and secondary school kids, believe farmers were harming the environment.

JONES: Right, right.

PRIME MINISTER: I just went; ‘What is going on?’

JONES: Well, it’s happening in your classrooms.

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, so ensuring that we teach everyone –

JONES: You would be staggered - I mean you're too busy - but you would be staggered if you saw my correspondence in relation to what is happening in university lecture theatres, I can tell you. But you and I and everybody, we are the subject. No academia, we are the subject. We are and the things that are said about you in the lecture theatres of Sydney University and about me, are unprintable, unprintable.

PRIME MINISTER: Well the personalities have got to come out of it. There are legitimate debates to be had and we prosecute those. But I think, that discourse of civility. We're a great country and we're good people and we really do like each other. We all come together around many things and it's usually sport, but it'd be good to come together around a lot more and when we do disagree, that we just do it in a more Australian way.

JONES: Can I ask you one difficult question or two.


JONES: Will you be building a dam and harvesting water?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I was talking to Bob Katter yesterday and we’re already building one with Bob up in Hughenden. We've got that major water fund which I want to see us actually get on and do some things with. I mean, we've had it there for a while. It was under administration there and there wasn't too many dams being built. Michael and I are very keen to see that agenda prosecuted.

JONES: And you’ve heard Barnaby Joyce nominate the number of families who have had their power disconnected, because they can't afford the bill? We need coal fired power, are you going to give a commitment to that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well Alan, we set out all our energy policies at the election, that's what I'm going to do. I mean, it included a continuation of coal fired power as part of the baseload power in Australia, it also included hydro, it included gas, it includes all of these all around the country. So there's no change to our policies there. What I took to the election, is what I'm going to do.

JONES: Are you going to get a rest between now and cranking it up again? 


PRIME MINISTER: Unlikely, but you know me I've always got plenty of energy. The Australian people as I said last week and on the night; they really do find me up. I was down as we're leaving the Sharks game last night - which was a bit disappointing on the result, but it was lovely to have the reception from the local crowd there - they were lining the sides of the street as I left. They gave me a good cheerio and I really thank them for that. That was a very special moment with my local community.

JONES: Well people are very grateful to you. Proud yes, but very grateful. Because the economic suicide note was written, but you managed to rip it up.

PRIME MINISTER: Well Alan, there weren’t too many people eight months ago who thought this was achievable .


PRIME MINISTER: You one of them.

JONES: Thank you. I was sure it was.

PRIME MINISTER: There were others like Paul Murray and a few others who did understand that.

JONES: Yes! I used to send this bloke texts to say; ‘You can win this!’


PRIME MINISTER: And you educated me about Winx.

JONES: I did.


PRIME MINISTER: Didn't know much about Winx eight months ago, didn’t know much about the horses but now –


JONES: It’s become a metaphor, a metaphor for the occasion. Good on you, you go, well done. Congratulations, very proud of you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks a lot Alan and thanks to all your listeners and to all those who were out there supporting us on the weekend. Now, we’re going to govern for everybody.