Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Date: Saturday, 17 February 2018
QUESTION: You are acting Prime Minister as of Monday. How does that feel?
MATHIAS CORMANN: As of Wednesday night.
QUESTION: As of Wednesday night, how does that feel?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It will be business as usual. The Prime Minister will still be the Prime Minister whether he is in Washington or anywhere else in the world. I will just be his man on the ground in Australia. It will be business as usual.
QUESTION: Has Barnaby Joyce resigned?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The leadership of the National party is a matter for the National party. Barnaby Joyce is a good friend. He is a valued colleague. He is the leader of the National party. The leadership of the National party is a matter for the National party as I have said. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister had a very good meeting, a very productive meeting over in Sydney today. The relationship between the leader of the Liberal party and the leader of the National party in a Coalition is of crucial importance. We are focused on our job, which is to implement our plan for the economy and jobs and to keep Australia safe and secure. That is what the Australian people expect us to do.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what was discussed at this meeting?
MATHIAS CORMANN: It was a very positive, productive meeting, for more than an hour, focussing on the need to keep implementing our plans for the economy and jobs, our plan to secure more jobs and higher wages. That is what we will keep doing.
QUESTION: But have they resolved their differences? They had a fairly public spat. Have they resolved that?
MATHIAS CORMANN: You are looking here at two very strong personalities, two strong leaders. The leader of the Liberal party and the leader of the National party, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. They had an exchange of views on the events of the past week. They had a discussion. But also, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are both very focused on the job at hand, the job that the Australian people elected us to do. That is to implement our plan to secure more jobs and higher wages.
QUESTION: Are you confident that, is the relationship with the Coalition partners now in tatters though?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The relationship between the Liberal party and the National party is strong and united. We have done very good things together for Australia in the past. I am very confident that we will do very good things together for Australia in the future.
QUESTION: And are you confident though they have resolved their differences after that meeting?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I am very confident that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will continue to work closely together for the benefit of all Australians as they have in the past.
QUESTION: And you don’t think that the Prime Minister should delay his trip?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No. I do not believe he should and I do not believe he will. The Prime Minister is leading a very senior business delegation to the United States. He is meeting with the President of the United States for a very important meeting. Our relationship with the United States is a very important bilateral relationship. Of course the Prime Minister should travel to the US to have these meetings.