BALANCING his electorate needs with attending Cabinet and being there for his family is the hardest part of Member for Wannon Dan Tehan’s job.
Mr Tehan told St Patrick’s Primary School Year 3 and 4 students on Wednesday getting the balance right was “a constant challenge”.
Invited to attend the school to field students’ questions, the Federal Minister for Social Services was candid with his responses.
When asked why he took on the role, Mr Tehan said he wanted to make sure western Victoria got its fair share of public funding and attention.
As to whether Mr Tehan liked his job, he said he “loved” his job.
“I am very lucky,” he said.
“If you can find a job you really enjoy doing and are passionate about, it makes it very, very easy.
“When I was young I wanted to own my own milk bar because they have lots of lollies, but I’ve moved on since then.”
Describing his role, Mr Tehan said as Minister for Social Services he looked after all the people who needed help and support.
“That includes pensioners, the unemployed, carers and so many more,” he said.
“My budget is one third of all the money spent by the Federal Government, which is $115 billion.
“We are very fortunate in this country in that the top 20 per cent of Australians, economically speaking, give more to the bottom 20 per cent of the people than anywhere else in the world.
“Australians are very generous.”
Asked when his job would end, Mr Tehan said the decision was up to the students’ mums and dads.
“There will be a federal election next year and it depends on how your parents vote, whether I keep my job or not,” he said.
“It’s pretty cut-throat.”
Mr Tehan said there were about 100,000 voters in Wannon and that he had secured about 58,000 votes in the last election.
Asked if he saw Malcolm Turnbull much, Mr Tehan said he did.
“I was recently in the Northern Territory with the Prime Minister for two days and as a member of Cabinet we meet about once a week, or every two weeks, and the Prime Minister chairs that meeting,” he said.
“As a person he is a lovely man – very, very good to deal with.”