Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
MATHIAS CORMANN: This week we have a lot of work to do in the Parliament, to continue to put Australia on the strongest possible economic and fiscal foundation for the future. In particular, we are looking to pass personal income tax cuts for hardworking families. We are looking at legislating about $6 billion worth of saving that both Labor and the Coalition took to the last election. There are a whole range of other important pieces of legislation to be dealt with this week. All designed to ensure Australia is on the strongest possible economic and fiscal foundation for the future and designed to ensure Australia is as safe and secure as possible.
Happy to take questions.
QUESTION: Can you let us in on how negotiations are going with Labor in getting them to support the Omnibus Bill?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The Coalition and the Labor party both took about $6 billion worth of savings to the last election, which we both supported. They are the savings that are reflected in the Omnibus Bill. We are working to achieve that saving this week. As you would expect us to do, there are communications between the Government and the Opposition. These are savings that should be able to be passed relatively easily, given that both Labor and the Coalition took them to the last election.
QUESTION: Are you open to negotiating on different changes, different ways of finding ways savings if there’s measures that Labor won’t support?
MATHIAS CORMANN: These are savings, as I say, that both Labor and the Coalition banked in their pre-election costings as part of our respective Budget bottom lines. Yes, we are having very constructive discussions with the Opposition in relation to implementing those savings. Once these discussions have been finalised, relevant announcements will be made.
QUESTION: Should there be yes and no funding for the same sex marriage plebiscite?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The specific arrangements for the conduct of the plebiscite will be the subject of discussions in the Cabinet. They will be the subject of discussions in our party room. Ultimately they will be the subject of discussions and debate in the Parliament. These matters haven’t been concluded yet. They are still to go through the proper process. Again, once these processes have concluded, we will be able to make relevant announcements.
QUESTION: What was the original plan when the plebiscite was put forward. Was there intended to be public funding?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The commitment that we took to the last election was that we would give the Australian people the opportunity to make the decision through a plebiscite on whether or not the current definition of marriage ought to be changed. That is a matter that we very clearly put to the Australian people in the lead up to the election. The Australian people supported that proposition. What we also said is that the specific arrangements would be the subject of a process after the election, which is the process that we are now going through. The Attorney General and the Special Minister of State have both consulted widely in relation to the specific arrangements for the plebiscite. There will be a discussion and a recommendation out of the Cabinet. There will be a process through our party room. Ultimately, it will be a matter for the Parliament to determine how the plebiscite is to be conducted.
QUESTION: Should Bill Shorten be here in Parliament this week?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not responsible for Mr Shorten’s diary arrangements. I will leave that to him.