Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Date: Friday, 7 August 2020
QUESTION: First of all the extension of JobKeeper was that just absolutely crucial?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Yes. All throughout this crisis we have made judgements on the appropriate levels of support for the economy, for business, for people who were at risk of losing their jobs. Given what is happening in Victoria, we needed to provide the additional support that we announced today.
QUESTION: How do you convince the public of the amount of money that is being spent at the moment, that it has to happen. Those arguments seem to have gone out the window about debt and deficits?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The people that are being impacted by this crisis are our brothers and sisters, our kids, our parents. The community as a whole understands that these are terrible times, that the economy is being hit by a terrible pandemic, so of course we have to continue to make these sorts of judgements.
QUESTION: Just in terms of the hard border, obviously back in the Federal Court issue there being argued whether the whole case should be vacated. From the Federal Government’s point of view, you had a stance. Where are you going to go now?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We are no longer a party to those proceedings. We have stepped away. That is in recognition of the fact that circumstances have changed. This border issue could be resolved if the whole proceeding fell away. Given what has been happening in Victoria, given where the country is at, what I would say to Clive Palmer is please reconsider proceeding with this case. Seriously consider pulling out. In fact the people of Western Australia would be very grateful if you stopped going ahead with this case. Just a message to Clive Palmer. These borders are very important for the people of Western Australia. Please just drop this case and make sure that the current arrangements can remain in place.
QUESTION: That’s obviously a statement you are making to him now. Have you actually gone to the point of speaking, or is anyone in the Government asking him to do that?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No, but given the question that is being put about where this goes from here, the only way this is resolved swiftly is if Mr Palmer pulls out of this case. I would certainly urge him to do so.
QUESTION: Is that because it is still about the Constitution, but if he drops it then the Commonwealth, it isn’t as necessary to be part of it.
MATHIAS CORMANN: We are no longer a part of it. We have responded positively to the request of the State Government. Mr Palmer, given what is happening in Victoria, given the outbreaks in large parts of Victoria that are taking place, do not proceed with this case. Pull out of it and give people around Australia, in particular Western Australians, certainty around the arrangements moving forward.
QUESTION: So you are definitely on the same page as the McGowan Government, is that true?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Back in May, when this process started it was a very different outlook. We are in a very different situation. The position of the McGowan Government changed. Initially when Liza Harvey proposed to put hard borders in place, the McGowan Government was opposed. They changed their mind. Clearly the situation has changed and we are responding to a changing situation.