Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
QUESTION: Is it disappointing to see another damaging leak this morning?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It is always disappointing to see party internals aired in public. We can't get distracted by that as a Government. Our job as a Government is to continue to deliver on what we took to the last election, to implement our policies to strengthen the economy, create more jobs, to help families and to ensure our nation is safe and secure.
QUESTION: What would you say to anyone who is concerned that there is a conflict of interest between Peta Credlin and her husband?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I'm not going to get involved in party internals like that. That is not a matter for me. Let me just say though, that the current arrangements have been in place very successfully for more than five years now. We nearly won the election in 2010. We did win the election in 2013. But our job as a Government is to focus on what matters to the Australian people. That is to implement the policies required to strengthen the economy, create more jobs, help families and to ensure our nation is safe and secure.
QUESTION: So is there any merit to the concerns that were in those emails?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I'm not going to provide a running commentary on party internals. I'm focused on my job, which as part of the economic team is to help strengthen the economy, create more jobs and deliver on all the other commitments that we took to the last election.
QUESTION: What do you make of the lift in the polls?
MATHIAS CORMANN: When we talk about the issues that matter to the Australian people our position in the community improves. When we talk about ourselves our position in the community deteriorates. So what we need to do as a team is focus on what the people of Australia elected us to do and that is to put Australia on a stronger foundation for the future, to implement the policies required to strengthen the economy, create more jobs, to help families, like through more affordable childcare, and to ensure our nation is safe and secure.
QUESTION: Are you aware of seven Ministers who are willing to help remove Tony Abbott if he can't revive the Government's fortunes?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I'm not aware. All I can say is that what I've said publicly is what I say privately and that is that the Prime Minister has my strong and unequivocal support.
QUESTION: Is there a conflict between the relationship between Brian Loughnane and Peta Credlin both professional and personally?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I'm not going to provide a running commentary on party internals. Let me just say that the current arrangement has been in place for more than five years. I understand that the party president has circulated a letter last night disagreeing with the assertions made by the honorary treasurer. Beyond that, it is not really a matter for me to comment on.
QUESTION: But isn't it a problem for the party that that feeling exists at that high level inside the party?
MATHIAS CORMANN: In any political party you get a diversity of views. Let me just say, as a Government we can't get distracted by party internals. As a Government it is our responsibility to focus on delivering for the Australian people, to strengthen the economy, create more jobs, help families and to ensure our nation is safe and secure.
QUESTION: Just going back to the Newspoll, 77 per cent of voters think that Mr Abbott is arrogant. How does he turn that view of him around?
MATHIAS CORMANN: By continuing to provide good Government. That is the way to ensure that the Australian people accept the decisions that we've had to make and endorse the direction of the Government.
QUESTION: But why is it so high at the moment? What's he done wrong?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I'm not going to provide a running commentary on these things.