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Senator The Honourable
Mathias Cormann
Mathias Cormann - Senate portrait 2016.jpg
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Assumed office
20 December 2017
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Deputy Mitch Fifield
Preceded by George Brandis
Minister for Finance
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Penny Wong
Special Minister of State
Assumed office
13 November 2017
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Scott Ryan
In office
18 February 2016 – 19 July 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Mal Brough
Succeeded by Scott Ryan
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
In office
20 September 2015 – 20 December 2017
Leader George Brandis
Preceded by George Brandis
Succeeded by Mitch Fifield
Senator for Western Australia
Assumed office
19 June 2007
Preceded by Ian Campbell
Personal details
Born Mathias Hubert Paul Cormann
(1970-09-20) 20 September 1970 (age 47)
Eupen, Liège, Belgium
Citizenship Australian (2000–)
Belgian (1970–2000)
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Other political
affiliations
Christian Social Party
Spouse(s) Hayley Cormann
Children Two daughters
Alma mater Université de Namur
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
University of East Anglia
Profession Law
Website www.mathiascormann.com.au

Mathias Hubert Paul Cormann[2] (/məˈtəs ˈkɔːrmən/; German: [maˈtiːas ˈkɔʁman]; born 20 September 1970) is an Australian politician who has served as a Liberal senator for Western Australia since 2007. Cormann has been the Minister for Finance, first in the Abbott Government and then in the Turnbull Government, since 18 September 2013.[3]

On 20 September 2015 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promoted Cormann to the position of Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate;[4] and between February and July 2016 served as the Special Minister of State in the First Turnbull Ministry, after acting in the role since December 2015.[5][6] On 20 December 2017 Cormann became the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and was reappointed as the Special Minister of State.[7]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Born in the German-speaking town of Eupen in eastern Belgium, Cormann graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven). As part of his university studies Cormann participated in a one-year student exchange program at the University of East Anglia in Norwich in 1993–94, where he first learned to speak English naturally, rather than as a foreign language. At the age of 21, he became a councillor in his local area with the Christian Social Party. Following a visit to Perth in 1994, he migrated to Australia permanently.[8][9]

Political careerEdit

BelgiumEdit

Aged 21, Cormann joined the Christlich Soziale Partei (CSP) in Raeren, where he served as a municipal council member. From 1994 to 1996, Cormann served as an assistant to Member of the European Parliament Mathieu Grosch.[10]

AustraliaEdit

 
Cormann in 2007

He joined the Liberal Party in Western Australia and took on a job as ministerial chief-of-staff, then senior adviser to then-Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court. He then moved to federal politics, working for two years as a senior adviser to then Minister for Justice and Customs Chris Ellison. Between 2003 and 2008, Cormann was the state senior vice-president of the Liberal Party in Western Australia. He was also acting general manager of HBF, a WA-based health insurance company[citation needed], until resigning in May 2007 to contest a Senate seat.

Cormann's preselection for the coveted third position on the Liberal Senate ticket for the 2007 election was all but assured, at the expense of controversial Senator Ross Lightfoot, who withdrew from the preselection race and resigned from politics when he realised the numbers were against him. On the ABC's Stateline program on 27 April 2007, Lightfoot stated that he considered Cormann (although he stopped short of naming him) an "inappropriate person" to replace him. Lightfoot's main complaint was that there were "more appropriate people" to succeed him "who have served the party longer" and "who have been in the country longer".[11]

When Senator Ian Campbell unexpectedly announced his planned resignation on 4 May 2007, Cormann was quickly preselected by the party to fill the resulting casual vacancy. Campbell formally resigned on 31 May 2007. Cormann was sworn in on 20 June 2007 and served the remaining four years of Ian Campbell's term until 2011.[12] On 21 August 2010 Cormann was re-elected for a further six-year term as Senator for Western Australia and again on 2 July 2016.

In Opposition, Cormann served as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Administration (2008–09), Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Apprenticeships and Training (2009–2010) and as Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation (2010–2013). In the Senate he chaired the Fuel and Energy Select Committee (2008–2010)[13] and the Scrutiny of New Taxes Committee (2010–2011).

 
Cormann in 2016

When the Coalition won government in 2013, Cormann became the Finance Minister, a role which he has held since under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. Although he publicly supported Abbott in the 2015 leadership spill,[14] Cormann was promoted by Turnbull to take on the additional roles of Special Minister of State in 2016, and Leader of the Government in the Senate in 2017.

As government leader in the upper house, Cormann became third in line to serve as acting prime minister when necessary. He fulfilled this role for several days in February 2018, during a unique set of circumstances in which Prime Minister Turnbull made a state visit to the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce took personal leave amid scandal surrounding an affair with a staffer, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Julie Bishop made official visits to Europe in her role as Foreign Minister.[15]

Political viewsEdit

Cormann personally opposes same-sex marriage,[citation needed] and in 2017 argued "for a postal vote plebiscite to be held before a parliamentary vote on the issue".[16] After that survey went ahead and found most Australians support same-sex marriage, Cormann chose to vote in favour of the bill legalising same-sex marriage.

Personal lifeEdit

Cormann, a Roman Catholic,[1] is married to Hayley, a lawyer. They have two daughters.[9]

Cormann became an Australian citizen on Australia Day in 2000, which resulted in the automatic loss of his Belgian citizenship. This was re-confirmed prior to nominating for preselection as a candidate for the Senate.[17]

HonoursEdit

 
Cormann with Angela Merkel (front row) and the Australia-Germany Advisory Group in 2015

In January 2018, Cormann was awarded with the rank of Grand Cross with Star and Sash of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Ambassador Anna Prinz for his work "in advancing German-Australian relations."[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Coalition celebrates a religious Easter: Eight of 19 cabinet members are Catholic". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 20 April 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Biography for CORMANN, the Hon. Mathias Hubert Paul". parlinfo.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Transcript: Changes to the ministry". Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Massola, James (13 February 2016). "Cabinet reshuffle: Malcolm Turnbull announces new frontbench as Mal Brough resigns". The Age. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ministerial Swearing-in Ceremony". Events. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Turnbull, Malcolm (19 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2018. Mathias Cormann will take on the additional role Special Minister of State. Mathias’s expanded portfolio is testament to his outstanding performance as a Cabinet Minister. Senator Brandis’ position as Leader of the Senate will be filled by Senator Cormann, who has been integral in steering the Government’s agenda through the Senate. His determination and his counsel are invaluable. 
  8. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3254840.htm
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Van de Hoge Venen naar de Australische top" in De Standaard, 18 September 2013
  11. ^ Carmody, Rebecca (27 April 2007). "Controversial Liberal Senator Ross Lightfoot calls it a day". Stateline (TV program)-Western Australia. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  12. ^ O'Brien, Amanda (7 May 2007). "Ex-gardener lands Senate spot". The Australian. Retrieved 7 May 2007. 
  13. ^ Senate Select Committee on Fuel and Energy: Committee membership Archived 22 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,
  14. ^ Michelle Grattan (14 September 2015). "Malcolm Turnbull ousts Tony Abbott in dramatic party coup". The Conversation. 
  15. ^ Farr, Malcolm (20 February 2018). "Senator Mathias Cormann named Acting PM as top ranks head out of the country". news.com.au. 
  16. ^ Matthew Knott (22 March 2017). "Peter Dutton working behind the scenes to legislate same-sex marriage before CEO spray". The Sydny Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  17. ^ "Senator Cormann's citizenship". 18 July 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  18. ^ AAP (31 January 2018). "Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has been presented with Germany's Grand Cross of the Order of Merit". Special Broadcasting Service. SBS News. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 

External linksEdit