Pressed afterwards over whether he was claiming Labor would bring on a recession, Mr Morrison said:
“I’m saying the economy will be weaker under Labor – that’s exactly what I’m saying, because they’re going to put $200 billion worth of taxes and take Australia’s industrial relations system back to the times when we had recessions in this country.”
“I’m being very clear with Australians. No use on the other side going ‘oh, I didn’t really realise that it would have that impact’. It will have that impact.”
He said a recession was possible.
“Whether it goes to the degree that you’ve said, well, history would show,” he said.
“I’m trying to ensure that we never know the answer to that question because under a Liberal-National government we will maintain the continuity of the policies that have been so successful in restoring the budget, driving the economy, record jobs growth, keeping Australians in work at the highest level of the working age population that we have ever seen.”
Asked if he was being alarmist, Mr Morrison said: “It’s the truth”.
“I think it’s just being honest with Australians with what the impact is,” he said.
“This is simply about understanding the consequences of decisions.
“Now in opinion polls, opinions don’t cost anything. There are no consequences for having an opinion, but there are consequences for having a vote.”
Mr Morrison also indicated the $6.2 billion bank levy he introduced as Treasurer would become a permanent feature if the budget, even after it returned to a sustainable surplus.
At the time the tax was introduced, the government rationalised it as the banks having to do their share to return the budget to surplus. The government had been forced to dump a series of budget cuts that could pass the Senate.
Mr Morrison said there were other reasons for the tax.
“The reason I introduced that levy was that it was making up for a market advantage that larger banks had over small financial institutions,” he said.
“We believe that that was a sensible and achievable levy that went some way to recognising the rather unique position that the five major banks had in the Australian financial system.
“It was done for that purpose and no doubt it does assist the budget. And I said it was a permanent structural change. When I say it’s a permanent structural change, it means it’s a permanent structural change.”