West Australian Premier Mark McGowan reveals details of private phone call with former Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Angie RaphaelNCA NewsWire
Mr McGowan said he had been assured the GST deal would not change under the Albanese government.
Camera IconMr McGowan said he had been assured the GST deal would not change under the Albanese government. Credit: istock

Labor Premier Mark McGowan has shared details of a private phone conversation he had with Scott Morrison, revealing the ousted Prime Minister was “philosophical” about his election defeat.

Mr McGowan said he called the former Liberal leader on Wednesday morning.

“I got on well with him and I thought we worked reasonably well together and I liked him,” Mr McGowan told reporters.

“He’s lost the job and he’s obviously going through dramatic change in his circumstances, so I just wanted to pass on my thoughts to him.

“He was pretty philosophical about it all, which is good ... he wasn’t bitter or angry, which was a good sign. So, all the best to him and his family.”

During the election campaign, Mr Morrison talked up his strong working relationship with Mr McGowan in a bid to win votes in WA.

Mr McGowan said he had also spoken to new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday.

“He was very grateful to the people of WA for their support for his government and very, very excited to be taking up the role,” the Premier said.

“He was very focused and understood the gravity of the position that he now holds.

“It was a very good and warm and cordial conversation. So that was good.”

Mr McGowan said he expected Australia’s relationship with China to improve under the new national leadership.

“We’ll become more diplomatic and more sensible in relation to our dealings with China,” he said.

“I just think that’s a sensible course forward. I think the balance went too far in terms of the rhetoric and the language towards China.

“It was hostile and almost war mongering from people like Peter Dutton and I suspect that sort of language will calm, and a more sedate and a more mature approach will go forward in relation to China.

“People like Mr Dutton seem to think that somehow talking about going to war with China was a sensible thing and it’s just not, it’s a crazy thing.

“So I’m pretty sure that the language and the diplomacy will improve.”

After describing Mr Dutton as an “extremist” earlier this week, Mr McGowan refused to say what he thought of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“He’s the President of China,” Mr McGowan initially said.

Pressed further about his thoughts on how he led China, Mr McGowan said it was a “pretty big question”.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to lead a country with 1.4bn people, but I’ll leave the management of China to China,” he said.

“Obviously, in the case of Mr Dutton, he’s the alternative Prime Minister of Australia, so the Premier of WA, having a view about people who might want to govern Australia, I think it’s quite reasonable.”

Stacks of gold coins of varying heights
Camera IconMr McGowan said he had been assured the GST deal would not change under the Albanese government. Credit: istock

Mr McGowan was also asked about the GST revenue carve-up and said he had been assured there would be no change to the system, despite pressure from some states.

“WA getting 70c back for every dollar we put in is hardly fair, but it’s far better than what we were getting before,” he said.

“The arrangement is permanent as far as I’m concerned and that’s the assurance I’ve had from all of my now federal colleagues.”

Mr McGowan said other states needed to manage their budgets, singling out Victoria for spending billions of dollars to secure the Commonwealth Games in Bendigo.

“Maybe they should make different decisions,” he said.

“We decided not to go for the Commonwealth Games because I didn’t want to, in an uncertain world, go and spend $2.5bn on something that is a ‘nice to have’ while what we want to do is fund our hospitals properly, deal with important health issues, pay down debt (and) diversify the economy.”

Originally published as West Australian Premier Mark McGowan reveals details of private phone call with former Prime Minister Scott Morrison

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