Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
QUESTION: The International Monetary Fund says that the Budget repair job is floundering. Is that too much of a pessimistic view in your opinion?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We continue to make progress implementing our plan for stronger growth, more jobs and to repair the Budget. In this past fortnight we have been able to legislate our small business and jobs package. We have been able to legislate more than $14 billion in Budget improvement measures. That brings the total value of Budget improvement measures now to more than $50 billion since last year’s Budget. When we came into Government in September 2013 the economy was weakening, unemployment was rising, the Budget position was rapidly deteriorating. We came into Government with a plan for stronger growth, more jobs and to repair the Budget. The evidence is that our plan is working. Economic growth is strengthening, jobs growth is strengthening and the Budget is now heading in the right direction.
QUESTION: Bill Shorten says the most recent Budget is in fact a pre-election Budget and there’s no way you would want to go to an election after a subsequent Budget. Can you rule out an election before the next May Budget Minister?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I will let Bill Shorten provide a running commentary on things that he knows nothing about. He seems to be very good at that. From where we sit, we are focussed on doing the job we were elected to do. That is, to put Australia on a stronger foundation for the future. We are working on that every single day. There is a job that needs to be done. The election is due in the second half of next year. If Bill Shorten wants to keep talking about elections good luck to him.
QUESTION: Minister why the rush on getting the Migration Act amendment Bills through the Senate? What’s the hurry for that?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Offshore processing is a central part of our efforts to protect our borders. It is very important to ensure that there is certainty about offshore processing arrangements into the future.
QUESTION: But given that the High Court case is not likely at earliest until September why does this need to get done today?
MATHIAS CORMANN: As I have just said, offshore processing is a central part of our efforts to protect our borders. We believe that it is very important to ensure that there is certainty around the arrangements underpinning offshore processing.
QUESTION: Are you expecting it to wrap up tonight or through to tomorrow on the legislation program?
MATHIAS CORMANN: This legislation is coming before the Senate today and the Senate will sit until it is dealt with.
QUESTION: Minister what was your reaction to the reports that some classified documents were shown during an ASIO pic fac? How would you describe...
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not aware of the details in relation to that.
QUESTION: But was it an embarrassment to have allegedly classified documents shown during a media event? Isn’t that the opposite of what’s meant to happen here?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not aware of the specific information in relation to any of that, so I will let people comment who do have that information.
QUESTION: Minister do you have some sympathy for the situation Bill Shorten faced as a Minister two years ago when he was questioned, at the time he was questioned about leadership talks? Do you have some sympathy with the fact that it would have been really damaging at the time to tell the truth?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not going to provide a running commentary on internal Labor party shenanigans of two years ago. Bill Shorten has a lot of questions to answer in relation to a whole series of other matters. I will let him deal with these issues in his way.
QUESTION: Minister what’s your reaction to the use of an email that was sent out to Victorian Liberals asking for donations to keep Australia safe? Labor is saying that it’s sickening that the Liberals are using national security to raise money.
MATHIAS CORMANN: In my view it should not have been done. Thank you.