The Conversation – Michelle Grattan

Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance






Canning by-election

MICHELLE GRATTAN: We caught up with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann at the formal opening of Andrew Hastie’s office Mandurah. He and other WA Liberals were out in force to hear the candidate and the Prime Minister and to mingle with volunteers and supporters. 

Mathias Cormann, we’re here at the launch of the campaign office and Tony Abbott has addressed the troops. There has been criticism he’s not spent enough time here do you think he’s doing his bit?

MATHIAS CORMANN: Tony Abbott is here now on this campaign trail for the second time. When I last looked Bill Shorten was here just twice. Bill Shorten has been a bit juvenile about all of this. The truth is that Tony Abbott is always very welcome in Western Australia. Tony Abbott is the Prime Minister that got rid of the anti-West Australian Labor taxes, the mining tax and the carbon tax. Tony Abbott is the Prime Minister who delivered a tax cut for small business and who stopped the boats when Labor said it couldn’t be done. Tony Abbott is very popular here in Western Australia and always very welcome. 

MICHELLE GRATTAN: So to what extent would you see the result when it comes in this by-election, as a referendum on Tony Abbott?

MATHIAS CORMANN: This by-election is about who is the best representative for the people of Canning. We have an outstanding candidate in Andrew Hastie. He’s got some big shoes to fill. Don Randall was a very effective, grass roots local member. Andrew Hastie in recent weeks has worked very hard to win the trust of the people across Canning, to be their representative in the Federal Parliament. 

MICHELLE GRATTAN: And what sort of issues are coming back to you from the people, from the electorate?

MATHIAS CORMANN: People in Canning, like people in may other parts of Australia are concerned about the economy and jobs. They want to know that their Government has a plan for stronger growth and more jobs and we do. There’s a range of other issues. There is a fairly significant level of concern about the increasing prevalence of ice and the effect that that is having in local communities. We are working to tackle that. We’re very focused on doing everything we can to win the trust of the people of Canning again at this by-election. 

MICHELLE GRATTAN: And are you confident of the result, that you’ll hold this seat?

MATHIAS CORMANN: We never take anything for granted. But this is a seat that we won at the last election, so we are now talking to the people of Canning, explaining to them what we’re doing and what we’re planning to do into the future. Andrew Hastie is presenting himself as the candidate best equipped and the most experienced to represent them effectively in Canberra after this by-election. 

MICHELLE GRATTAN: Mathias Cormann, thank you very much. 

MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to talk to you.


Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance, Perth