Leigh Sales and Scott Morrison squared off tonight. Picture: ABC 730
Leigh Sales and Scott Morrison squared off tonight. Picture: ABC 730

‘I haven’t finished’: Morrison fires up

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has clashed with 7.30 host Leigh Sales and refused to answer a simple question.

Mr Morrison appeared on the ABC program a week after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. But the PM's time in the hot seat was spent interrupting the host and telling her: "I'm not finished yet."

Sales lobbed a soft question the Prime Minister's way out of the gate before going in hard.

"If your record is as good as you say, why did you have to dump a PM," Sales asked, referring to the ousting of the party's former leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Morrison initially tried to deflect the question.

"That's a matter of record and history now, Leigh," he said.

But when asked again, the Prime Minister offered an explanation.

"The previous PM, Mr Turnbull, had lost the confidence of the Liberal Party room and they changed PMs," he said. "What I did when I became PM was make sure that can't happen again."

 

Scott Morrison was determined to have his say. Picture: ABC 730
Scott Morrison was determined to have his say. Picture: ABC 730

 

Sales pushed further on the rift between Mr Morrison and Mr Turnbull. She referred to the very public reunion of former bitter Labor rivals Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, who smiled side-by-side at the Labor Party's official campaign launch on Sunday.

"Will you be having John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull at yours?" she asked.

Mr Morrison again dodged the question.

"What I remembered from those two PMs when they did their big spending (is) it always costs more because their implementation on 'cash for clunkers' (car allowance rebate system) and border blowouts and pink batts. This was a reminder of their failures," Mr Morrison said.

Sales asked again and the Prime Minister refused to answer the question directly.

"It's not a hoopla event," Mr Morrison said. "It's not about the Liberal or the National Party.

"Labor's launch was very much about the Labor Party. I just want a conversation with people on Sunday directly about the choice. It's not about who's coming.

"It's about who will be listening. And my opportunity to set out to them once again the choice of this election."

The pair went back on forth on the Government's policy on climate change. Sales told the PM that carbon emissions have been rising since the Coalition was elected in 2013.

 

Leigh Sales asked the PM why anybody would trust his government after the manner in which he came to power. Picture: ABC 730
Leigh Sales asked the PM why anybody would trust his government after the manner in which he came to power. Picture: ABC 730

 

She said the Liberal Party was littered with climate sceptics, both past and present.

"John Howard admitted he was a climate sceptic. Tony Abbott the same. You famously took a lump of coal into the parliament. Business has decried the absence of a climate and energy policy. Why would voters trust a third-term Coalition Government to do anything differently?"

Mr Morrison said the Government would meet its Kyoto 2020 targets and was "taking action on climate change".

Sales took aim at the Liberal Party's preference deal with Clive Palmer.

"Does it tell voters something about Coalition principles that you'll do deals with Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer if it helps you stay in power?" she asked.

 

Mr Morrison said it was about "advocating a valid vote of numbering all the squares" and admitted "I wouldn't describe them as perfect".

But when asked if the United Australia Party poses a bigger risk to Australia's jobs and the economy than a Bill Shorten-led Government, he didn't hesitate.

"I think Bill Shorten and the Greens are a much greater risk to people's jobs and the economic and national security of this country than the alternative."

Greens Senator Hanson-Young tweeted during the show that the PM had turned into "Shouty Scott" and that was "sounding rabid and argumentative".

It was a view shared by others. Guardian columnist Van Badham said Mr Morrison was using "bullboy antics towards Leigh Sales".


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