Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
JOURNALIST: Minister, how concerned are you by the new round of discussion over leadership?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am totally focused on doing the job that I was appointed to do and that is to work as part of the economic team to help put Australia on a stronger economic and fiscal foundation for the future. All of us in the Cabinet and in the party room have a job to do, to do the right thing by Australia. All of us this week in particular have a job to do, to support our outstanding candidate in Canning to achieve victory on Saturday.
JOURNALIST: As a West Australian though, is this speculation affecting the vote on the ground in Canning?
MATHIAS CORMANN: All of us in the Cabinet, all of us in the Party room, indeed all of us in the Liberal party and the National Party want to see Andrew Hastie do well. I am confident that all of my colleagues this week will focus on doing everything we can to help Andrew Hastie be successful on Saturday.
JOURNALIST: What is going wrong then if we have got two polls showing there is going to be a 10 per cent swing against the Government?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We continue to work hard. Andrew Hastie continues to work hard in Canning to earn the support of the people of Canning, to represent them in the Federal Parliament. Let’s see what the result is on Saturday and we will be able to have these sorts of conversations at that point.
JOURNALIST: Minister, do you acknowledge, at least acknowledge, that there is a new upsurge in talk about Tony Abbott’s leadership?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I can read newspapers, but I am not going to get myself into commentary on anonymous commentary. All I can say is that when we came into Government in 2013, we faced a range of significant challenges that we inherited from our predecessors. We came into Government with a plan for stronger growth, more jobs to repair the Budget and to ensure we fixed the chaos that Labor had created at our borders. By any measure the economy in Australia today is stronger than what it would have been if we had not got rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax, if we had not reduced red tape costs for business, if we have not implemented our infrastructure investment program, if we had not pursued an ambitious free -trade agenda designed to give Australian exporters better access to key overseas markets. All of the things that we have been doing over the past two years have very much been focused on strengthening Australia’s economic and fiscal foundations for the future and making sure that Australia is safe and secure. There is more work to be done and we are focused on doing just that.
JOURNALIST: Would Andrew Hastie’s job be made easier in Canning if Malcolm Turnbull came out today and said I will not challenge, there is no need for this speculation?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Andrew Hastie is an outstanding candidate. He has been working very hard to earn the respect and the support of the people of Canning. He has got some big shoes to fill with the sad passing of an outstanding local member in Don Randall. All of us, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, myself, all of us in the Coalition, want to see Andrew Hastie do well. All of us are doing everything we can to support his efforts to become the voice for the people of Canning, here in the Federal Parliament.
JOURNALIST: You can as you say read newspapers Minister, you must be frustrated by the discussion about leadership at this time. So what is your message to those that are talking about leadership, what would you say to them?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not going to send any public advice to my colleagues through the media. All of us in the Coalition here that are represented in the Federal Parliament, we all know what our job is, we all know that our job is to do everything we can to put Australia on a stronger economic and fiscal foundation for the future. We all know that our job is to ensure that Australia is safe and secure. As members of the Liberal and National party teams, we all know that this week in particular, our job is to do everything we can to help Andrew Hastie be successful on Saturday.
JOURNALIST: Can you rule out that there won’t be an early election called after this week’s by-election?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We have got a lot of work to do as I have indicated earlier. When we came into Government, we faced some significant challenges left behind by the previous government. The economy was weakening, unemployment was rising, the Budget position was rapidly deteriorating, the previous government had lost control of our borders. There is a lot more work that needs to be done and the election is not due until next year. I would expect the election to happen sometime in the second half of next year.