Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
MATHIAS CORMANN: The message from the people of Western Australia to the Labor Party on the weekend could not have been more clear.
We don’t want Labor’s mining tax, we don’t want Labor’s carbon tax. These are anti-West Australian taxes and they must go.
Labor should listen to their own Senator for Western Australia Mark Bishop and stop defending a failed anti-Western Australian tax. Labor should stop defending a failed anti-Western Australian tax.
We call on the Labor Party to come out this week and state unequivocally that Labor in the Senate will support our legislation to scrap the mining tax and to scrap the carbon tax. This will significantly help to build a stronger economy and create more jobs in Western Australia and around the country.
Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Was there a message also for your Government that the people aren’t happy with them?
MATHIAS CORMANN: In a by-election it is not unusual for there to be a swing against the Government of the day. What we know is that there was very strong support for candidates who stood up against Labor’s carbon tax and against Labor’s mining tax. Incredibly, Labor’s vote collapsed to below 22%.
The people of Western Australia sent a very strong message to the Labor Party. We don’t want your anti-WA mining tax, we don’t want your anti-WA carbon tax. These taxes must go so that we can rebuild a stronger economy and create more jobs.
JOURNALIST: If the message was sent to the Labor Party, why did The Greens then get such a strong swing to them when they are pro-carbon tax and pro-mining tax and probably want to go further?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Well The Greens are still a relatively small protest party. Yes they have had a swing towards them, but in the grand scheme of things, their overall share of the vote is still rather low.
In Western Australia, overwhelmingly, the people of Western Australia sent a very strong message. We don’t want Labor’s failed anti-Western Australian mining tax, we don’t want Labor’s carbon tax. These taxes must go. These are taxes which have been rejected by the people of Western Australia at successive elections now. Labor has failed to listen to the people of Western Australia and indeed the people of Australia so far. Hopefully the result on the weekend will be a wakeup call for the Labor Party and they finally will come on board with the policy that we took to the last election, which is to scrap these anti-WA, anti-jobs taxes once and for all.
JOURNALIST: You must be concerned about your ability to pass the Budget, to pass IR reform, to get the PPL through in an unamended for, given that Clive Palmer now holds or controls four seats?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Well as I said yesterday, from our point of view the position in the Senate will actually improve come 1 July. People seem to forget, but right now it is Labor and The Greens who control the Senate. We have been dealing with an obstructionist Senate, with an obstructionist Labor and Greens Party now for the last six or seven months. From 1 July onwards, we will have options to work with Senators from a broader range of backgrounds. We look forward to working with all Senators represented in the Australian Senate in implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, create more jobs and repair the Budget.
JOURNALIST: How will you negotiate with Clive Palmer in your bid to repeal the mining tax?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Well, obviously this is going to work the same way that it always does. We will sit down with anyone who is represented in the Senate, explain our plans, explain the reasons on why we think it’s important to build a stronger economy, create more jobs and repair the Budget. We will continue to make our case in the court of public opinion. We are very hopeful that when it is all said and done, of course we will be able to get our agenda through the Parliament.
JOURNALIST: You’re open to horse trading then?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We are open to implement the commitments we took to the last election and we are open to work with anyone who is prepared to work with us on building a stronger economy and create jobs. It is very important that we do that in the national interest and in the interest of Western Australia. Thank you very much.