Minister Finance Mathias Cormann. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Minister Finance Mathias Cormann. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Mathias Cormann confirms he will quit parliament

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will leave the federal parliament before the end of the year.

Senator Cormann, who also serves as leader of the Senate, told Prime Minister Scott Morrison he will hand over his portfolios after the October budget.

"Having decided not to recontest the next election, I can confirm that I have advised the Prime Minister that the end of this year would be an appropriate time for an orderly transition in my portfolio," Senator Cormann said on Sunday.

"We have many highly talented Members and Senators in our team who stand ready to make an outstanding contribution in what, in my mind, is the best and most interesting portfolio in government."

His coming resignation - rumoured over the past few weeks - will spark a cabinet reshuffle.

It is expected Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham will be tapped to take over the finance and leader of the Senate roles.

Senator Cormann with Pauline Hanson. The government leader in the Senate built a reputation for fair dealing with the crossbench in the upper house. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Senator Cormann with Pauline Hanson. The government leader in the Senate built a reputation for fair dealing with the crossbench in the upper house. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

The West Australian Senator said his time serving his state and the country was one of the "greatest privileges" of his life.

"Having the opportunity to help shape the future direction of our country as part of a great team working to make our country even stronger, more prosperous and more resilient is a great honour," Senator Cormann said.

"I love this job. Every single day I am giving it my all. I can honestly say that I have left nothing on the field."

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described Senator Cormann as a "tower of strength" for the party.

"As Australia's longest serving Finance Minister, he's strengthened our economy, preparing it for the challenges we now face," Mr Frydenberg said.

"I look forward to working with him prior to his departure from Parliament in the months ahead."

Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon also praised Mr Cormann, describing him as one of the government's better performers, and a "fair dealer".

August 25, 2018. Mitch Fifield, Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash announce they were withdrawing their support for Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
August 25, 2018. Mitch Fifield, Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash announce they were withdrawing their support for Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.

Born in Belgium, Senator Cormann entered federal politics at the 'Ruddslide' election of 2007 at the age of just 37.

He became Finance Minister in the Abbott government in 2013, and held on to that portfolio under Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

He developed a reputation as a firm but fair dealer and a good negotiator with the crossbench in the Senate.

His parliamentary career was largely blemish free, although a photo of him smoking cigars with Treasurer Joe Hockey the morning after the harsh 2014 Federal Budget raised eyebrows.

Cormann's role in the 2018 Liberal leadership crisis remains controversial. Just days after supporting Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership challenge from Peter Dutton, Mr Cormann sensationally withdrew his support for the Prime Minister, alongside fellow high-profile senators Mitch Fifield and Michaelia Cash.

Mathias Cormann with partner Hayley Ross pictured upon his election to the Senate in 2007.
Mathias Cormann with partner Hayley Ross pictured upon his election to the Senate in 2007.

It was widely believed that the actions of the three senators enabled Scott Morrison to eventually take the leadership.

"Cormann's treachery was the worst and the most hurtful," Mr Turnbull wrote in his memoir A Bigger Picture earlier this year. "He'd become a trusted friend of mine … he used to send me pictures of his children."


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