Daily Bulletin


Politics

  • Written by Scott Morrison


PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you very much for that very kind introduction. I love being in Western Australia, I love being here in Perth. I always get such a warm welcome when I'm here. So many friends here from so many years of coming across to Western Australia. And there's something very special about today's gathering and I could make many acknowledgements this morning because there are so many great and good Western Australians who are here amongst us, including of course my colleagues led by Mathias Cormann. Of course, I want to acknowledge the traditional owners, Elders past and present and those emerging. I also want to acknowledge our servicemen and women who are in the room today and say simply to those who have served and veterans, thank you for your service. There's a very proud history of service here in Western Australia.

 

But a person I want to acknowledge this morning is Kerry Stokes. This event, this vision - I'm going to talk to you about my vision today, but the vision that you’ve seen realised through Kerry here at the Seven West Telethon is something truly remarkable. $37 million raised in the last event alone. More than 40 incredibly worthy and amazing organisations have been the beneficiary of this tremendous initiative. And what I really like about this initiative is it isn't Seven West is writing out the cheque, it’s Seven West harnessing the goodwill of Western Australians for each other. That's what's happening here at this event, that's why I think it's such a great thing. Yes, it's generous. Yes, it's impactful because I know Richard Goyder who leads the charge on this understands and manages that process incredibly well. But its great beauty is how it harnesses the passion and empathy of Western Australians and people around the country to support these incredible causes. So if can you join me in thanking Kerry Stokes.

 

[Applause]

 

A fair go for those who have a go. You’ve probably heard me say that before. That’s why I like Western Australia. Because here in Western Australia, there is no better example of that way of doing things. That expectation of every single resident of this incredible state. And I believe this is a fundamentally Australian value. A fair go for those who have a go. Fairness isn't just about everybody gets the same. We didn't build this country on that principle. We built it on a very different principle that you have to show up. That you have to make an effort. That you have responsibility for yourself. But also to extend that to those around you. This notion of responsibility as the trigger, the entry if you like. Being able to benefit from this country's great opportunities, I think, is a fundamental principle. And I particularly think about it when I think of the migrants who've come from all over the world. Unless we’re Indigenous, like Ken, then we have all come from somewhere else at some point in time. And people have come to this country for this very principle - a fair go for those who have a go. And our migrant history of this country is one of our migrant communities doing exactly that. That's what they were hoping for. That's what they were looking for. To make a contribution, not to take one. And that's what a fair go for those who have a go means. And that's why it is the fundamental principle that sits underneath every single plan, every single policy, that me and my team, my Liberal National team, are implementing now as we have over the last five and a half years and seek to continue to implement into the future.

 

Now this principle of a fair go for those who have go was deeply violated by the way GST was being distributed in this country. The decisions I took as Treasurer to take action on this was not borne out of any sort of sentiment or, you know, sweet beliefs about Western Australia or how lovely you all are - of course that’s the case. But it wasn't about that. It was about ensuring that the way that the GST was distributed was distributed on the principle of a fair go for those who have a go. And this is the ‘have a go’ state. And the ‘have a go’ state was not getting a fair deal and that needed to change. And that was the point being made by The West Australian. And they gave me quite a good stick, I've got to tell you, when I became Treasurer. Just like Steve Irons, who was my flatmate in Canberra who would give me quite a bit of stick on this issue every single day, as a proud Western Australian. And I remember the day after I resolved in my own mind, and working within the senior levels of government, that this was something we had to fix. That it could not be kicked down the road any longer, that we had to take it head on, and we had to deal with is, and it would not be easy. And I want to thank Seven West because they had rightly been advocating on this issue. They have rightly been championing this issue, just like so many of my colleagues here in Western Australia have. Whether it was Christian Porter, who as a state treasurer here was also such a strong advocate, and all of my team. But The West Australian, they led the charge and so I remember the meeting I had. And I said, “Look, you better be rough with me. But I want to know one answer to one question when we sat down. Do you want to fix this, or do you just want a campaign?” And you won't be surprised that the answer from Seven West is no, we want to fix it. We want to see this fixed. That's why we’re in this. And so I said, “Look, this isn't going to be easy. An eastern state Treasurer who has got to go and convince not only everybody back on the other side of the country, but we have to work out how we can actually achieve this.” And I said this is going to take you some time. And so you need to give me some room and some space to go and get a solution and get people on board for the switch. And I want to thank Seven West and The West Australian for giving me that time. Because without that time, then I think it would have been very difficult to achieve and I think what that shows is the pragmatic advocacy that was brought to this issue in the public arena from The West.

 

So I think people understood here that the argument was never going to be won on some parochial argument. It had to be won on its merits, and the merits were that the principle of a fair go for those who have a go was not operating. Now, I'm pleased to say it is operating now because together we've with Mathias and the whole team, we have legislated this. That deal is done. It's locked, it’s in by none less than the Governor-General of Australia. To give security to Western Australians about their access to that fair share forever. And of all the things that I think they've been able to achieve here in Western Australia, I think this is a very significant moment. Not just because of how it enables Western Australia to be able to guarantee the essential services that Western Australians rely on. But I think it says something very clearly on behalf of my government to Western Australians - when I say I'm going to do something, I will do it. I won't lead people along. I won't give them false promises. But if I say I'm going to do it, you better look at out, because I’m going to. Whether it's on stopping the boats. Whether it's on reforming our welfare system, getting the Budget back into balance. Reforming the GST, the first of its kind since Federation began. If I set my mind on that and I believe that is in the country's interests, wild horses will not drag me away from achieving that goal. I'm often criticised for being a little too hard-headed on these things. But I'll tell you what, problems require some hard-headedness sometimes to be able to crash through. All of the naysayers and all of those who think it can't be achieved. But this why I like Western Australia, because you get this. You get this notion of vision, you get this notion of achievement.

 

So let me tell you in 10 quick points what is that plan for a stronger economy for Australia. It's the plan we've been delivering. A plan that has delivered more than one and a quarter million jobs in the last five and a half years. That has reduced unemployment down to the lowest level in a very long time. It now has a 4 in front of it, 4.9 per cent. And I know things in Western Australia are still on their way back. It is a plan that has already ensured that the proportion of Australians of working age in this country who have a job is at the highest level in our history. That's right, higher than what it was under the Howard/Costello government. It is now at the highest level. That our welfare dependence of the working age population is at its lowest level in more than 30 years. That our expenditure is under control. The lowest level of spending growth of a federal government in more than 50 years. This plan is based on ensuring, of course, that the government lives within its means and next week we will hand down the first Budget surplus in 12 years. 12 years. Why is that so important? Well, if you vote Labor once, you will pay for it for more than a decade. In 2007, going into that election, the government had a $20 billion dollar surplus and there was $40 billion dollars in the bank. Labor reversed that in the space of a year. And then they just kept going. And it has taken us more than 10 years for a Treasurer to stand at the despatch box again, as Josh Frydenberg will do with Mathias’ support next Tuesday night and announce a surplus. And that comes from just the sheer determination and will to get expenditure under control. To put in place the measures that drive your economy forward. And just the sheer everyday competent discipline of running a responsible government.

 

So next Tuesday will be a very important day, because it's the day we got back. It's the day Australia got back to where the Howard government left us and it's taken us more than a decade to achieve it. And so no one should be under any mistake that if you vote Labor in this next election, you're voting for a decade and more of economic hardship and difficulty, setting the nation on the wrong course for our economy. Lower taxes is part of our plan. And it's not just a promise because we've legislated. $144 billion worth of personal income tax relief right across the board, I stress. See, our view on taxes is you don't have to tax some people more to tax other people less. I think that violates the fair go principle for those who have a go. I don't buy into the politics of envy. I am a fully signed up member on the politics of aspiration and the economics of aspiration, which I think Western Australians understand. Lower taxes is about ensuring that when you earn more, you keep more of what you want. And I want Australians to earn more and that will come from a stronger economy, not some magic wand in the union movement or a Labor prime minister who thinks he can wave his magic wand and all of a sudden everybody's wages go up. That is a cruel hoax and it is a cruel thing to say to Australians, because that policy he is speaking about will cost other Australians their jobs. Someone always suffers under Labor for them to do something for someone else. Not under our government.

 

Under our government, we want tax relief for all Australians. We want tax relief by backing small and family and medium sized businesses. Whether it's been our plan to reduce the payment terms for small businesses down from over 30 days down to 20 days which comes in place on the 1st of July of this year. Where there's the small business tax relief, the instant asset write-off which we have raised to 25,000 for companies up to $10 million. Whether it's the investments we're making in the small business loan securitisation fund so small businesses can get access to capital. Ensuring affordable and reliable energy. Now, in Western Australia that’s a more achievable goal because of the sensible arrangements that you have here, particularly in relation to gas. But for all of Australia to do better, including Western Australia, then all of Australia has to do better. And that means having sensible energy policies for both households and businesses. And just this week, we've announced a series of initiatives to ensure that we're getting, in the east coast, some 4,000 megawatt capacity additions to the market through the underwriting proposal that is being put forward to us by the ACCC which we've adopted. And that comes on top of our series of investments that will see our emissions reduction targets achieved, while not costing us our economy. Investing in hydro and other important energy sources that will provide reliability and sustainability for the future and keep electricity prices down. Get them down, keep the lights on while at the same time meeting our emissions reduction targets.

 

Building the transport and technology infrastructure Australia needs in the future. Now today I'll be joined by Mathias and many others from my team. We'll be announcing $1.6 billion additional, which will be in next week's Budget, for an investment in Australian infrastructure here in the West. Now, we have already been big investors here but this will be on roads of strategic importance. Projects like the Tonkin Highway. Projects like METRONET. All of these things which are designed for Australians, frankly, to get home sooner and safer, or to work sooner and safer and people can get out of the traffic and onto the site. These are practical projects. Our congestion busting projects. We've currently got a rolling program of infrastructure investment around the country, some $75 billion dollars, and that continues into the future. We've got to drive all of our industries forward, all of them. Sure, the bright shiny new ones, they’re tremendous. The exciting innovation that’s taking place there [inaudible] in the medical instruments industry and the health industry. This is fantastic, but we want agriculture to go forward. We want mining to go forward. We want forestry to go forward. We want our traditional industries to continue to go forward. We need all our industries to continue and a diversity in our industries. And so no, we won’t embrace policies like the Labor Party will with their 45 per cent emissions reduction target which will wipe out aluminium smelters in this country and hit industry. We won’t do that. Or increasing the costs of agricultural production and to this day, I can tell you tonne by tonne where we will be meeting our emissions reduction targets. Our opponents still, after all these years, cannot answer the most basic questions. Will you use the carry over targets from Kyoto? Will you use taxpayers’ money to buy foreign carbon credits as part of your emissions reduction costs? What’s the overall emissions abasement budget you have to meet? Is it 1.1 billion tonnes or 1.4 billion tonnes? I can tell you what ours is, it’s 328 million tonnes and we have a plan to meet all of that over the next 10 years. The reckless targets of an emissions reduction target of 45 percent will shut down industries and it will and shutdown jobs and particularly the cuts here in WA.

 

We need to ensure Australians of all generations have the skills they need. I'm frustrated as I'm sure many of you are, that our current schools arrangements delivered across the country are not hitting the mark. And you know it's not about just money. You can chuck more money down the funnel and just see it go to the same place it's going now. We need to rethink how we're achieving things in the skills area across this country and that requires a closer collaboration about what is needed on the ground, on the shop floor, in the office, in the business and we'll have more to say about that.

 

I want to keep Australians working together. I hate this idea of setting one Australian against another. When I walk into the small and family businesses around the country, the thing I love hearing, “So how have you been here?” “I’ve been here about 12 years. 18 years, 7 years.” Men, women. Been to each others’ christenings and weddings. So has the boss. That's Australians working together in small and family businesses medium sized businesses around the country. They understand that it's an enterprise and you will do better by all working together. And the industrial conflict that Labor wants to bring to this country I think is very, very serious. I was down in Geelong the other day. And as I was announcing this project for fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong, there they were, standing behind me, chanting away – “union power, union power, union power”. Well that's what it's going to look like on your site, in your office, in your community. We don't want that. Australians want to work together. Australians want to get on together and we need to have an industrial system which doesn't try to set people against each other. Of course, we’ve got to keep big businesses accountable and pay the taxes. They need to keep investing in the future of the country. They need to ensure that they do the right thing by small and family businesses and those in agricultural sector and our competition laws need to protect against that. We’re seeing that in the banking and financial industry, certainly seeing it in the energy industry. We need to hold them to account and we will be, and we will continue to do that.

 

And we need to keep expanding our horizons with our export opportunities and our government has been so successful at this like none other before us, I believe. More opportunity into the future. That's what we want. More business opportunities because that means more jobs. It’s all about jobs. I’ll finish on this. It's all about jobs. Warren Mundine, as some of you may know, told me that when his grandfather got a job, it changed their family. And look at Warren now. A job changes a life. A job changes a family, a job changes a community and jobs change nations. You want to know what I’m about? Jobs. The thing I'm most proud of what our government has achieved is over one and a quarter million jobs for Australians. We've had record growth of jobs for young Australians, over 100,000 in one financial year, never achieved before. Those young people's lives are changed forever. You know, when I talk to businesses and they talk about employing young people, that's when their heart beats, that's when their chest pumps up. Because they know by running a good business, a competitive business, a business that's successful, they know they can employ people and change their lives.

 

So we're all in the same occupation here - creating jobs for Australians to create a stronger Australia. That's my plan. I will be seeking the support of all Australians to back, particularly here in Western Australia, so all Australians get a fair go for those who have a go. Thank you.


PRIME MINISTER: I was here two weeks ago. And go down and have a chat to the people at the Stirling Pool still the pool where I do my laps when I'm here. They were happy to see me again when I was down there last night. This is a place I'm a regular visitor to and have been over 20 years. I always love being here. Well I can understand why Bill Shorten might want to come here and try and explain to people why he tried to work against us getting a fairer deal for GST for W.A. Perhaps he's just got a lot more to explain to people over here in the West. But when it comes to our government, I think Western Australians know exactly who we are and exactly what we're about. And when we make a promise we deliver on it.

 

QUESTION: Bob Menzies served as Prime Minister for six thousand, seven hundred and thirty-three days. Howard was four thousand, two hundred and eighty-two. Bob Hawke; three thousand two hundred and four and Malcolm Fraser; two thousand six hundred and seventy-five. Now if as many people think you call an election on May 11, and, if as many people think you could lose that, you will have been Prime Minister for two hundred and fifty-three days, which doesn't sound that great compared to Bob, Malcolm and John. But, compared to Earle Page; 19 days after the death of John Lyons, compared to Frank Forde, just a week after the death of John Curtin two hundred and fifty-three days sounds pretty good. The reason I thought I'd put this in context is because you've achieved quite a lot in two hundred and fifty-three days. So could you tell us what the highlight and also the lowlight has been of your Prime Ministership thus far?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I just sort of answered that question there. The most exciting thing I think for our government which I've been central to has been our job creation record. That's the thing that floats my boat. That's what excites us as a government, is when we can create those jobs. Of course, there are many other initiatives that we've lead, particularly over these last six months. The privilege of leading the National Apology to the victims of institutional child sexual abuse was I'd have to say the most difficult day, but also the most important day. Those are the moments where Australians are expecting their Prime Minister to properly convey the deep sense of hurt and grievance and empathy. And I found it an incredibly humbling day as I sat and listened over several weeks and longer than that before. And I often think about that day and the people that I met. See the great privilege of doing this job is how many people and how many Australians you get to meet in so many different circumstances. And you get a window and a connection to Australian life that probably not many others really get to see. You see its greatness. You see its beauty in its people and you also see the things you need to address. So I love doing this job. It's the great privilege of my life. And the best players, whether it's in AFL or anything, they don't care how many games they've played, they care about how they play the game each and every day. I was talking to Paul Gallen the other day - I know it's Rugby League, so just give me a break - But Paul Gallen played 328 games for my beloved Sharks on the weekend. That is the all time club record. And I sent Paul a message before the game just congratulating him. And he sent me a text back saying "Thanks mate, I just want the win today." And that's how I approach every single day. Just doing the job with Australians that I have the privilege to do for Australians and to seek their mandate at the next election to keep doing that job for them.

 

QUESTION: You were going through a pretty ordinary trot for a while there with Cabinet resignations and what not. You seem to have a bit of your mojo coming back here, just pay homage to Kerry which is always a good thing to do and you talked about the GST which ticks a box for us over here as well. I've got to say, a few months ago when we heard that you were coming over, we were billing this as a farewell tour. But now, we think maybe this guy could be in for a win. We're not sure exactly -

 

PRIME MINISTER: I'm glad you've come round.

 

[Laughter and applause]

 

QUESTION: When you're looking at the polls and are constantly saying 'it's not going to happen', how do you keep positive, how do you keep punching on?

 

PRIME MINISTER: I think of the West Coast Eagles.

 

[Laughter and applause].

 

PRIME MINISTER: I was there. The Collingwood supporters were pretty cocky after that first term, that first quarter. But the boys had a great plan to get themselves back into that game and they didn't get distracted. They just kept their head down and they kept going. I'm sure there are plenty of fans in the stadium, supporters indeed, 'ah, this is done'. They didn't believe that. And I'm the same, and my team is the same. We know what our job is. We know what's at stake here. I'm not kidding when I say you vote Labor, you pay for it for more than a decade. The economy you will live in, your kids will live in, the business that you run, that someone may want to start, the school fees you might want to pay. That's all going to be determined by the economy you live in, in the next decade. And the decision that Australians will make at this next election will determine that environment. And this is very important because people express a lot of opinions on politics. They are even known to write it in the newspaper from time to time. But opinions are interesting but votes change the course of a nation and when people go to vote, they're not expressing opinion. They are actually taking part in what is going to set the economic climate for the next decade. And I think Australians know, and here in Western Australia you are on the way back with your economy. You're on the way back. And I would say to you at this time, more than ever, you do not want to hand the economic wheel to someone in Bill Shorten who does not know how to drive.

 

QUESTION: The subject of leadership is one [indistinct] why we created this series Leader Matters and we've seen two examples of very different types of styles of leadership over the last month or so. First of all with New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern and then Turkish President Erdogan. How do you think Donald Trump would have reacted to a Turkish president threatening the lives of US citizens? You were tempered in your response.

 

PRIME MINISTER: I wouldn't have described my comments as tempered to be honest. I said that President Erdogan had failed on the promise made by Ataturk to the mothers of Anzacs. If that's tempered, well I must be quite a diplomat. I was furious about it and I'm pleased that the responses that have been made since that has reflected, I think, a respect for the Australian position.

 

So no, I would say that my response was incredibly strong and swift. And the result of that always has to be me thinking about the safety of Australians and ensuring that our interests are legitimately protected. See, we have a very good relationship with the Turkish people. And I think there is a bond between Australians and Turks that descend from that great conflict over a hundred years ago. And that's what I rely on. The bonds between the people. Of course, I rejected absolutely and condemned the comments that were made. But what I didn't do, is I didn't ascribe them to the Turkish people, or importantly, I did not ascribe them to Turkish Australians because I know because I spoke to Turkish leaders in Australia that morning and discussed this issue with them. And so my remarks were designed to do what a responsible Prime Minister would do; express our very deep outrage about this but also ensure that we continue to get on with the job of protecting Australia's interests and the safety of Australians.

 

QUESTION: You've said safety of Australians quite a lot. You get the unvarnished reports about domestic security. How worried are you as a father of two?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, worried enough to ensure that I have a national security plan which keeps them safe. I would never put - I think about my kids and my wife a lot in this context. I want to keep them safe. And I extend that to every Australian. I'm not looking for some special deal for my family and something different for everyone else. Quite the contrary. And so that's why we've invested in our security agencies and our services. That's why our Defence Forces will get back to 2 percent of GDP years ahead of schedule. Last time I was here - I stress just a couple of weeks ago - when I was out at the SAS regiment and I was going through and looking at their capability of deployment and what they're able do, I was incredibly impressed with that. I mean that's what we're investing in. I just saw the new centre that we built out there and our investments in safety and security, though, aren't just about protecting our borders - and you know what Labor will do on that front - and it's not just about our Defence Forces.

 

Keeping Australians safe is about keeping Australians safe from domestic violence, keeping Australians safe is about keeping kids safe from sexual predators whether in the physical world or online. Keeping Australians safe is what I have been raising with the social media companies. And that's why I've raised that with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister and current president of the G20. These companies, if they create these platforms, they need to make them safe and not allow them to be weaponised by terrorists or other predators. And so right across the board, my plan is to keep Australians safe. To do that, you've got to keep the economy strong. Because if you don't have a strong economy, you can't do that. Countries with weak economies don't have strong defences. And that's why having a strong economy is so important. Countries with weak economies don't have strong health systems. Countries with weak economies don't have a PBS where you list 2000 pharmaceuticals which is what our government has done. And under the Labor Party when they were in government, they stopped listing affordable medicines because they couldn't manage their budget. A strong economy is the ticket to essential service. At this election, health’s your major issue? That's the case for many Australians - the way I'm guaranteeing those health services is because we know how to run a budget and we know how to run a strong economy. That's what guarantees health services, not pledges from platforms.

 

QUESTION: Prime Minister, I understand that I am not the most important ginger in your life moment because One Nation is causing all sorts of dramas and most of the questions that we have coming through on this iPad pertain to One Nation and how you are going to deal with them. First of all, you've said you were shocked at some of the revelations that we've had in regards to the NRA and with comment about Port Arthur. Do you think that preferencing One Nation under Labor is going to draw a line under this issue for you?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well that's the decision that we've taken and I've announced this morning and the final decision on how preferences are allocated right across the ticket, you can only do once you know who all the nominations are. Sadly, there will be a lot of competition for who goes in the final last spot. There are a lot of extremist views on the left and on the right in Australian politics and we'll work through that once we know who all the nominations are.

 

But, what happened this week was shocking. It was deeply concerning as the party that actually introduced our strong gun laws. And I don't care if they were drinking scotch or not, who cares, that's not an excuse. Even flippantly if it were that, and I don't think it was, the idea of our gun laws being traded for political donations is abhorrent. Now, I waited to see what the response of the One Nation leadership would be to those events and I was very disappointed. I thought it was unsatisfactory and that's why we've taken the decision that we have.

 

QUESTION: There's probably going to be some people that say you should preference them last.

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well what if Fraser Anning's running? What if Reclaim Australia is running? What about all of them? I mean there's no shortage of candidates for going lost on our ticket, I can tell you. That's alright, Bill Shorten's going to put Fraser Anning above One Nation and he's going to put Reclaim Australia above One Nation. See this is the thing. You've got to think this stuff through. It's alright for Bill to get up there and give his grab on this sort of thing. But this is the same bloke who had a six day delay, not a six second if you go on 6PR, but a six day delay on actually calling out Michael Daley, the Labor New South Wales leader going to election for saying Asian migrants take your jobs.

 

Now the question I have is will Bill Shorten have called him out if Michael Daley had won the election? Why did he wait till the election was over? Can't get himself off WeChat today and yesterday. But this bloke took six days and an election and only a few weeks before he was getting up there and saying Michael Daley was the saviour to everybody in New South Wales. You've got to think this stuff through. When John Howard made the same decision that I've made today, he did it in a similar way. He didn't rush into it. He thought about it carefully. And the other thing I've done, as John did - One Nation is one thing, the people who vote for them are another. Any comments I make about the behaviour of One Nation, particularly in this past week, that does not in any way extend any commentary on those who voted One Nation or considered to vote for One Nation. They are Australians with real questions about real issues going on in their communities. And my appeal to them is these other parties, they're not going to answer those questions. They don't have the answer to those questions. They're not parties in government. They have no responsibility. They'll say what they think you want to hear, but they don't have any answers to water, they don't have any answers to managing population, they don't have any answers on national security. The Liberal National Parties, the Liberal Party here in Western Australia, have those answers. And so if you're looking to answer those questions, then we are the answer to those questions. Don't flirt with these minor parties. We've seen what it's done in the Senate. Senator Reynolds here, our newly minted cabinet minister from Western Australia, congratulations Linda. We've see what that's done in the Parliament. And it's put another 10 years on Mathias’ life in negotiating these arrangements through the Senate. Both Mathias and I once used to be very good looking guys. Dealing with those things is sort of had a pretty big impact on that. But, that's what the chaos of these other parties do. And so that's why One Nation will go below Labor.

 

QUESTION: We've got a couple of questions about tourism. We've got a tourism problem in this state at the moment in that no one's coming here anymore and you used to be the boss of Tourism Australia. And so someone's asked, what would you do to fix this problem?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well it's not always a marketing problem. But these things can be relevant. When I was Managing Director of Tourism Australia I ensured that the eight Australian tourism exchanges came here twice. And why did I do that? Because the world is always looking for, or the world's tourism buyers, are always looking for new and amazing experiences and they're all here. I mean, there are a lot of known experiences around Australia and they're fantastic, and we've got a lot to sell. But I always thought Western Australia had quite an edge in terms of the types of experiences that are on offer here in WA. So I think it is relying very much on that freshness and that newness and that more exotic side of the tourism experience here in Western Australia. Of course the accommodation and so on, but there's been real improvements here on that in Western Australia. And so it is about getting your share of voice, it is actually about connecting with those customers all around the world. But I think you've always got to focus on the things that give you the edge in any business or anything like that. And I think WA's edge has always been these incredible, quite amazing, natural experiences that you literally don't get anywhere else in Australia let alone the rest of the world.

 

QUESTION: You were thrust into the Prime Ministership very very quickly and it obviously has a huge impact on your family life and I remember back in August when we were seeing you frantically working the phones with everyone trying to get the numbers up, I was thinking to myself, 'I hope one of these phone calls is to his wife'. And I had this image of you coming home and Jenny answering the door and say 'How was your day, love?' and you say 'Oh, yeah I went for a walk and had breakfast with Mathias, and became Prime Minister, and picked up some milk on the way home, and changed offices, et cetera et cetera.' How did you actually keep your family abreast of what was happening on that frantic day?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Well you're right. Things did happen very quickly and very late for me in that piece. Pretty much the last 24 hours or so, or thereabouts, but I did call Jenny and I said, 'You might want to pick the kids up from school and jump in the car and come down', and talked to her about what was happening. I've been blessed with my family in a way that it's hard for me to put into words. They are so incredibly supportive. But what I'm trying to teach my girls is you believe in things, then you put the effort in and you champion them. I was raised by my parents that life was not about what you accumulate but what you contribute. My parents served in their local church and their local community. My dad was a policeman. My mum and dad ran a thing called Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade for 45 years every Thursday and Friday night of a school night. For 45 years. So that's the model of community service and I was brought up to go 'you're here to make a contribution', and I'm trying to teach, with Jenny, my girls the same thing. But I'm so blessed with Jen because Jenn has continued to provide a nurturing environment for our family. Her focus is very much all there and they allow me to come home every now and then and spend some time which I love more than anything else. Going down the footy with my girls, with Lily and so on or whatever we might be doing, reading books with Abbey. Precious moments, you grab them, but I'm blessed to have a great family who supports what I do.

 

QUESTION: You got the numbers, and so there would have been that first night in The Lodge. You made it. You're the Prime Minister of Australia. The 30th Prime Minister. Did you look around a bit, go into every room? You've seen the film Love Actually, there's this scene with Hugh Grant as Prime Minister does a dance -

 

PRIME MINISTER: Someone's done a meme and put my head on it. You should check it out. My wife thought it was hilarious. You'd never see me dance like that, I can tell you.

 

QUESTION: It must be a bizarre situation when the reality hits, when you're looking at the view in Kirribilli or sitting in The Lodge.

 

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah. For me it was more when I was at Kirribilli because I'd spent obviously a lot of time at The Lodge as Mathias does and all senior pollies do. So that was a fairly familiar environment for a Minister. It was more when, I suppose, we had to move our family from our beloved shire in southern Sydney, largely because of security reasons and practical reasons. I remember my youngest daughter said to me - and I explained that we had to move and she wasn't that flash about it because we had a small pool in our place, like a backyard pool – she goes “is there pool?”, “Well no, there's not, next door's got one”, which is the Governor General's place in Admiralty House. And she said, “well can you ring them and ask them if I can swim in their pool?” And I said okay. So I rang Lady Cosgrove and I said, “Lily wants to know if she can use the pool”. Now Lady Cosgrove grew up in Cronulla, so she has the Shire link, and she said 'of course, of course, of course'. So I told Lily and she said “that's all good, yep, we're good Dad, we'll move, we got a pool”. That was when John Howard - and for me John Howard has been just like when I was Treasurer with Peter Costello - they are the great role models for me in my political life. And Bruce Baird who was the former member in my electorate had been just a massive influence on my political life. And I always feel like when I'm at home in Kirribilli that I'm staying at John's house and I keep expecting him to walk out of a room somewhere and say 'Oi, what are you doing here?'

 

QUESTION: We sometimes do a thing at the end of these events where we ask a few quick questions of the person that's our guest. All we ask is you try and keep it brief and answer it, which is going to be counterintuitive for a politician. So I'm just asking if you're ready?

 

PRIME MINISTER: All good.

 

QUESTION: Name three nice things about Bill Shorten.

 

PRIME MINISTER: Chloe Shorten. She's lovely. We share a commitment to at least what we believe in, I suppose. Otherwise, you wouldn't go into public life and as a fellow parliamentarian, there is respect for other parliamentarians. I've put it in those terms and don't worry, I wasn't getting too generous there. And thirdly, he's a mad Collingwood fan. I'm not. But anyone who likes going to a game, I think good for them.

 

QUESTION: Who's your favourite Prime Minister?

 

PRIME MINISTER: John Howard.

 

QUESTION: Who's the most under-appreciated Prime Minister?

 

PRIME MINISTER: That's a good question. I would say Joe Lyons.

 

QUESTION: Biggest foreign policy challenge for Australia?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Managing our independence and our national interests within the competing demands of the great powers of the world today, in our region.

 

QUESTION:Have you ever Googled yourself? I wouldn't if I were you. Some people -.

 

PRIME MINISTER: You know, it's an occupational hazard. Otherwise, you walk into an FM radio interview and they will say, 'we're doing this Google game, we've just Googled you' and then they'll hit you with five questions, so it's an occupational hazard to keep abreast of these things.

 

QUESTION: Are you and Waleed Aly Facebook friends?

 

PRIME MINISTER: No, to the best of my knowledge. I don't think I am. I might have to check those who - nope, I don’t believe we are. But you know, that's alright.

 

QUESTION: If you're a dictator for a day and can change just one law that you think would benefit Australia, what would it be?

 

PRIME MINISTER: That’s a very good question. Not that I aspire to the title you've just outlined because I think that's the best thing about Australia, is that will never happen. Take a look around the world and you see where that has happened and it reminds you just how precious our freedom is. But you know what? That law was passed. The one I'm interested in. It's called the Constitution.

 

QUESTION: Have you ever eaten an entire raw onion?

 

PRIME MINISTER: I haven't, but I've got to tell you one story on that. I was down at the markets in Melbourne, at Epping, the other week. And there's every single piece of fruit and vegetable known to humankind. And I think, if you're going as a politician and you're engaged in kicking the ball or bowling, you can't help but remember back to that image of John Howard bowling - sorry John - but any time you go anywhere near fruit and vegetable you just say 'don't eat the onion'.

 

QUESTION: What is your least favourite part of Australia? What do you see now is a man doing electoral maths at a speed a super computer would be proud of [crosstalk] some oxygen before you answer this, but is there one area you just think [crosstalk].

 

PRIME MINISTER: I've had the great privilege in many different roles both inside and outside of politics and I've got to say I've never visited a part of the country I haven't liked. I really haven't. And remember, I was in tourism before and I've seen probably more of this country than most people. But what makes every part of Australia so great to visit, and this was a key part of the tourism message that I was trying to pitch when I was responsible for it, it's actually us that's the attraction. What makes all of these places so great? Yeah, physically magnificent, beautiful, it's great. But the things that impact you are the people that you meet and Australians are awesome wherever you go. They're awesome.

 

QUESTION: Last question, and actually several questions have come in this, if you win a second term, what will your number one priority be?

 

PRIME MINISTER: Jobs. The economic strength of the country. Because from that, everything else flows. You want to do something in health, you must have a strong economy. If you want to do something in education, you must have a strong economy. You want to defend the nation, you must have a strong economy. If you don't have a strong economy, you don't have a plan for anything else.

 

QUESTION: Well speaking of jobs, you've got to go and get back to yours. Please thank Scott Morrison.

 

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