Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
QUESTION: Minister, do you think there has been a conflict of interest with Barnaby accepting rental accommodation?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Barnaby has complied with all of the relevant rules. He did not seek this gift. It was offered to him. He offered to pay rent. Incidentally this arrangement was entered into while he was neither a Minister nor a Member of Parliament. It has all been appropriately declared. That is really all there is to it.
QUESTION: Is there a concern that he is just taking gifts. Could there be a problem later down the line with this guy that he has got involved with?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Again, he has complied with all of the rules. That is the assurance that he has provided both privately to the Prime Minister and publicly now in the Parliament. The rules are there to ensure that everything is open and transparent, which it is. Everybody knows that Barnaby is working through a difficult personal transition. Accommodation arrangements inevitably are a part of that. That is what is happening.
QUESTION: How much skin has the Government lost over this issue?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am not going to provide commentary. We are focussed on doing the best job we can every single day, to implement our plan to secure more jobs and higher wages and to ensure our country is safe and secure. It is no secret that the events of the past week and the reporting of the past week has been a distraction. But we are all focused on making sure that we effectively and successfully implement our plan for a stronger more prosperous economy and for a safe and secure Australia.
QUESTION: And there is no damage done to the Coalition?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The Coalition is strong and united. We will get to the other side of this. Onwards and upwards.