PM worried Labor will change Vegemite if Shorten wins
Nobody messes with ScoMo's breakfast. Not even the Prime Minister's wife, Jenny.
Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne this morning he had Vegemite on his toast "every single morning" despite the fact "Jenny can't stand me eating it".
"I love it," the PM said. "It's fantastic."
It's no surprise Mr Morrison didn't take kindly to a question from a reporter about a Labor proposal that could alter the recipe of Australia's favourite spread drastically.
"What do you think about the idea of a government being able to change the recipe of Vegemite?" a reporter asked.
"What?" Mr Morrison fired back, clearly taken by surprise.
"Labor is looking at a policy that could change the recipes and reduce the salt in certain foods," the reporter told him.
"Changing the recipe of Vegemite is a first," Mr Morrison said, before his Treasurer Josh Frydenberg interjected, declaring: "It is un-Australian."
The possibility of changing the recipe for Vegemite was first raised yesterday at the National Press Club in Canberra when Nine News asked Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King about Labor's plan to tackle obesity.
A Bill Shorten-led government would consider mandating food reformulation targets and ordering companies to cut the amount of salt or sugar in certain foods.
"Would a Shorten government potentially force food companies to put less salt in Vegemite or cut the amount of sugar in Tim Tams?" the reporter asked Ms King.
She said it was an important conversation to be had, both now and in the future.
"I think it does need, over time, the industry to be more committed to that," she said.
"We'll have a look at mandating. At this stage, it's not necessarily something we'd do straight away, but we want to work with the industry on that."
Mr Morrison used this morning's question about Vegemite to somehow segue into an attack on Labor's tax plans.
"The more important point is this: It goes to how Labor want to interfere in your lives. People say, 'Why are you always going on about lowering taxes? Why does that matter to you so much?'
"Apart from ensuring it drives the economy forward, it is this: I think your money is better off in your hands so you can spend it on the things that are important to you. In your family, in your community, for you to get ahead, so you can plan for the future with confidence.
"Bill Shorten thinks your money is better off in his hands to be spent on the things that he thinks are important, not what you think are important.
"Taxes aren't just things that accountants and treasuries and tax offices deal with. Taxes tell you a lot about the beliefs of the party that is in Government, and our belief is that your money is better off in your hands, not in Bill Shorten's."
The conversation about food regulation was a welcome distraction for the Government after another Liberal candidate was dumped over anti-Muslim social media posts.
The Liberal candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons, Jessica Whelan, stood down after the Hobart Mercury newspaper unearthed Islamophobic Facebook comments she had made.
Mr Morrison said Ms Whelan's views did not reflect the Liberal Party's views.
"Her views were her views, and they do not represent the views of the party I lead," Mr Morrison told reporters
The Labor Party has a headache of its own as it fights pressure to dump a candidate for Melbourne, Luke Creasey, who shared a rape joke and made offensive remarks about women on social media.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Creasey's remarks from 2012 were "deeply offensive, shocking and stupid".
But he argued the posts, made when Mr Creasey was 22, were different to more recent anti-Islamic comments from Ms Whelan.
"He has apologised deeply, and he certainly doesn't hold those views now," Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.
The Prime Minister said the Labor candidate's age was no defence or excuse.
- with AAP