Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
JOURNALIST: Minister, if we can start first of all, Joe Hockey’s formal retirement today, do you have mixed emotions about it?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I will miss my good mate Joe Hockey, but I wish him and his family all the very best for their future. It is always a sad moment when somebody who has made the enormous contribution that Joe has made to public life in Australia, nearly 20 years in the Parliament, 17 years on the Coalition frontbench, when somebody that you have worked with closely that you have got a very close friendship with leaves the Parliament. It is a bit of a sad note, but I am very excited for him, by the same token, about what lies ahead for him and his family.
JOURNALIST: Do you think he would make a good US Ambassador?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I’m going to leave it to Joe and others to talk about what lies ahead for Joe. I’m sure that there will be an opportunity for Joe to make another contribution to Australia, to provide further public service. What form and shape that would take I will leave that to others.
JOURNALIST: Do you think he got a bad rap for the job that he did as Treasurer, certainly he came in and, well both of you, had a fairly tough task?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We came into Government in 2013 facing particular challenges. We were facing a weakening economy, rising unemployment, a Budget position which was rapidly deteriorating on the back of unsustainable spending growth decisions made by the previous government. We gave it our best over the first two years in Government to turn that situation around, to strengthen growth, create more jobs and to start the important task of Budget repair. The Turnbull Government will continue to build on the progress that we have made in our first two years in Government. That was, in parts, a difficult and challenging period and that is because we were making the necessary decisions to put Australia on a stronger economic and fiscal foundation for the future.
JOURNALIST: Will you celebrate his last day in Parliament, perhaps with a cigar? Or will you celebrate it with possibly a party?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We have got Senate Estimates today. I will go out of Estimates at 11 to listen to Joe’s farewell speech. Sadly, I won’t be able to catch up with him later today for a celebration because I will be following some commitments in Sydney.
JOURNALIST: What do you think will be his legacy?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It will be for others to write up his legacy. I have worked very closely with Joe, in particular over the last two years, but also in the period before that in opposition. I have had the great privilege of witnessing somebody who put his heart and soul into making Australia a better place. Who put his heart and soul into putting Australia on the strongest possible economic and fiscal foundation for the future, so that people across Australia had the best possible opportunity to get ahead. At a personal level, I will miss Joe being around here in Canberra, but by the same token I am very excited for him and his family about what lies ahead for him.
JOURNALIST: There will be no table-top dancing or anything like that tonight?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I’m sure there won’t be.
JOURNALIST: Thanks very much Minister.