Photos: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright
NATALIE LOCKE: We’re joined by the Prime Minister, the Honourable Scott Morrison. Scomo, good morning.
PRIME MINISTER: Good morning.
NAT: I tell you what, you timed your visit to WA very well.
SHAUN MCMANUS: Didn’t you what, Scott.
NAT: Jumping on the West Coast Eagles bandwagon, nice job.
NATHAN MORRIS: We feel like you helped them win.
PRIME MINISTER: There’s nothing to that. I was pleased to see them win on the weekend but as I think everybody knows now, I’m not really an AFL aficionado. But it was a great game and it’s just great to see everybody excited here. I expect there are a few people around Western Australia who barrack for Freo and so on, who wouldn’t be as excited. But nevertheless, you know, it’s a great moment.
NAT: Yep, here’s one now.
SHAUN: I’m one of them Scott and so are my parents, I spoke to them yesterday. But more importantly you’ve been over here splashing the cash? You’re telling us that 75 per cent is the minimum we’re going to get out of the GST? Which would - I think all the other states are going to be up in arms, even though it’s super fair.
PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is super fair. I mean I’ve been working on this for years as Treasurer, I was working on this as people in the West will know and I announced the package back in July, last time I was here actually. Yeah look, the reason I’m doing this is that I believe in it. That’s why I’m going to see it through. Bill Shorten has been crab-walking away from this and I don’t know what he believes on this. But I’ve been working on this with people here in the west now for years. I think it is fair. We’re putting more than $1 billion in forever, indexed to ensure that every state and territory is better off. So I think it is a fair deal. We have covered it all off and we’ve just got to get on and legislate it. Now, we’re going to make it law and I’ll be putting that law into the Parliament in a couple of weeks and if Bill Shorten supports it, it will be law and this issue will be finally addressed.
NATHAN: We get really angry when we see this being used as a political game, which is what Bill Shorten is doing at the moment, I feel. Because right at the start of this, he was super supportive, now he’s sort of back-tracking. Just recently he said something like; “I’ll only support it if it’s fair for the other states,” and if it’s not fair for the other states, then basically, screw WA. But it’s like, how long has it been unfair for us?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, that’s right.
NATHAN: That’s the frustrating part for us.
PRIME MINISTER: That’s right and he doesn’t believe it. At the end of the day, look, I’m going to put a lot of pressure on him and I think, well, I’m going to succeed here. Because I believe in it, I’m determined. He will back down. He will fall in line, because it is the right thing to do and if he’s not prepared to stand up for WA, then why should West Australians support him at all? I mean they already know, right now, they’ve got their message right now, that when push comes to shove, he falls over. For WA, I’ve been working on this for years. I think it’s the right thing to do and I know there’s been some opposition to it in my home state back on the east coast. But it’s the right thing to do and that’s why we’ll get it done.
NATHAN: Well, tell your home state to dig into the earth and find their own gold. Stop taking our money!
PRIME MINISTER: Well I come from a state which, you know, New South Wales has been paying above the odds since the Federation was set over 100 years ago, as has Victoria and Western Australia has particularly over the last decade. But look, this is fair and we’ve worked really hard to make it fair. So I’m removing all the obstacles to make sure that we can pass this legislation. There’s only one obstacle that remains and his name is Bill Shorten.
NAT: Now Scomo, in that you’ve got an open letter to all West Australians in the paper today, a full page ad – nice work – one of the things that you’ve said is that you want to, or that your legislation will permanently increase the size of the GST revenue pool to ensure that every state and territory is better off. How do you do that without increasing GST?
PRIME MINISTER: Because the way it works is that all the money that’s raised from the GST goes into one pool and what I’m doing is adding to that pool from other revenues.
PRIME MINISTER: An additional, at the end of that period, over $1 billion every year and it’s indexed. That’s why it’s fair to all the other states and territories, that extra $1 billion guarantees that everyone is better off because any smaller changes it might have had to what they would have otherwise got, is more than compensated for by the extra money that goes into the pool.
NAT: Right so you’ll be topping it up from other revenue sources?
PRIME MINISTER: I’ll be topping it up right across the board. But the important thing then is that all of that money out of that bigger pool gets distributed on the new fairer formula.
PRIME MINISTER: Which means that WA doesn’t get ripped off.
SHAUN: Hey Scott, I want to know, do you think that the prime ministership is like a poisoned chalice these days? Because every time anyone has taken the position in the last five years, they’ve been stabbed in the back and it’s both parties. It’s been an embarrassment to our country, let’s be honest, all overseas, every time a new Prime Minister has to go to Indonesia and America and all that and meet the guy. “Here’s the new guy.”
NAT: Like, new Prime Minister, who ‘dis?
SHAUN: Are you worried who is coming down the corridor?
PRIME MINISTER: No I‘m not. This is a great privilege, it is an incredible privilege and a huge responsibility and you know, I’ve stepped up to take that on and I’m going to give it everything and I am. And the things that drive me and the reason why I’ve acted on this GST, is because I think if you have a go, you should get a go and you should get a fair go. That’s what fairness should mean. It’s why I think taxes should be lower and it’s why I’ve already legislated to take taxes down. It’s why I think, you know, people should be looking to make a contribution rather than take one. And we’ve got to look after our mates, particularly in the aged care sector. I’ve announced a Royal Commission into the aged care sector because as people get older they should be able to age with dignity and be confident that they’re going to get looked after properly. So there’s a lot to do, we’re going to get on with it. But it’s good to see the Western Australian economy starting to come back now, that’s very encouraging. We’ve seen a lot of jobs created around the country.
NAT: It’s mostly West Coast Eagles merchandise to be honest.
NATHAN: Hey Scomo, how are you going with the new job? Are you tired? Like how is your social life, what’s going on?
NAT: Are you a bit worried you’re not seeing the kids enough?
NATHAN: What’s happening?
PRIME MINISTER: I haven’t seen the kids that much lately –
NATHAN: That’s alright, worked out well for Barnaby.
PRIME MINISTER: Bit harsh.
No look, my family has supported me in politics all of my life and you know, they’re being wonderful now. But my family is honestly what drives so much of what I’m about, you know that’s always been how I’ve done things. One of the things I’ve always loved, being over here in the west is it’s always been such a go-getting state. You know, WA has had its troubles over the last five years in particular, but they’ve hung in there and you know, we’re seeing the hope ahead and I think that’s great. The investment is going to come and I think there’s some really good days ahead for Western Australia.
SHAUN: Being in the prime ministership as you said, is an unbelievable honour and everyone else would, I mean, it’s a fantastic job and to be recognised by your peers to take that position is fantastic. The one thing, are you disappointed in the way Australian politics has been in recent times with the upheaval, the change, the lack of getting the things you want to have done achieved? Because everyone is fighting.
NAT: Yeah, nobody is serving full terms, that kind of thing.
PRIME MINISTER: Well yes is the short answer to that question but you know, it doesn’t always go that way. It was encouraging the other day – and this effects Western Australia as well – the issue that we had with the strawberries and the strawberry tampering.
PRIME MINISTER: In 24 hours, I got new laws through the Parliament, to ensure that any idiot who tried to do that would face up to ten years jail and the response from Australians to actually get behind our strawberry farmers was amazing. I was up in the Sunshine Coast, where there are a lot of strawberry farmers and I went past one of those roadside fruit shops. I went in there and I was chatting to the guy and I said; “Well how many strawberry trays do you normally sell?” He said; “Oh about 20,” and I said; “How did it go last weekend?” And he said; “Over 90.”
PRIME MINISTER: That was just Australians going; “No, we’re with you.”
PRIME MINISTER: So yeah, it can be frustrating, yes it can be disappointing. But always, when you can do things like that, then you know you’re doing the right thing.
NATHAN: Hey Scomo before we let you go, quickly, I just want to know how many of the politicians are jealous of your “Scomo”? Because we’ve got “J-Bish”.
NATHAN: We had “K-Rudd” and I’m just thinking of Peter Dutton, he wanted to be probably “P-Dutt”?
NAT: That’s not great.
NATHAN: And “B-Short”?
NATHAN: Do you feel like you’ve got an edge over them, because you’ve got your –
NAT: Scomo is catchy as.
NATHAN: Celebrity name?
PRIME MINISTER: Well it sort of fits and I’m sort of, happy with it, but I don’t know if they can do a take on will.i.am or something like that?
I got to meet him on the weekend that was pretty cool.
SHAUN: Oh, was it?
NATHAN: Yeah he’s a nice guy isn’t he?
PRIME MINISTER: Yep, so between him and a few of the others, that’s one of the sort of fun things you get to do.
NATHAN: Look at you with your little celebrity friends!
SHAUN: Was he really small by the way, will.i.am? Was he really short?
NATHAN: like everyone from Hollywood is really small.
PRIME MINISTER: He was a bit smaller than me but you know, I’m not the smallest unit around.
NATHAN: How tall are you?
PRIME MINISTER: Me? Oh, just over six foot? Yeah.
NAT: Enough of the probing personal questions.
PRIME MINISTER: Do you want my star sign too, or –
NATHAN: Please! What’s your star sign?
PRIME MINISTER: I’m a Taurus, but you know, goodo, whatever.
NATHAN: And you’re the Year of the what?
PRIME MINISTER: Oh I can’t, I don’t know, I don’t know.
SHAUN: I’m Year of the Dragon, Nathan and I are –
NAT: You’re Dragon, I’m Rooster…
PRIME MINISTER: I dunno, you tell me.
PRIME MINISTER: It was the Rooster’s weekend last weekend.
SHAUN: Are they your team by the way Scomo?
PRIME MINISTER: Nah, the Sharks are my team.
SHAUN: Oh, you had your moment in the sun a couple of years ago?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah we did a couple of years ago and –
NATHAN. Monkey, you’re Monkey.
PRIME MINISTER: There you go, there you go. I used to watch that show –
SHAUN: Some Monkey Magic?
PRIME MINISTER: Monkey Magic, yeah.
NATHAN: Do you know there’s a reboot of Money Magic, they’ve done it again Scomo.
PRIME MINISTER: Is that right?
PRIME MINISTER: Maybe I’ll get a walk on role.
NAT: We really appreciate your time.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks guys.
NAT: Next time you’re in town come in and talk to us in the studio Scomo?
PRIME MINISTER: That’d be fun.
NAT: Good man, thank you.
PRIME MINISTER: All the best.