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Mathias Hubert Paul Cormann[2] (/məˈtəs ˈkɔːrmən/; German pronunciation: [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]

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

On 20 September 2015 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promoted Cormann to the position of Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate;[4] and in February 2016 he assumed additional responsibilities as the Special Minister of State in the First Turnbull Ministry, after acting in the role since December 2015.[5][6]


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 learnt to speak English. 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.[7][8]

Political careerEdit

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


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.[9]


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".[10]

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.[11] 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)[12] and the Scrutiny of New Taxes Committee (2010–2011).

Political viewsEdit

Cormann personally opposes same-sex marriage, and is "pushing for a postal vote plebiscite to be held before a parliamentary vote on the issue".[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Cormann, a Roman Catholic,[1] is married to Hayley, a lawyer. They have two daughters.[8]

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.[14]


  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". 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. ^
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Van de Hoge Venen naar de Australische top" in De Standaard, 18 September 2013
  10. ^ Carmody, Rebecca (27 April 2007). "Controversial Liberal Senator Ross Lightfoot calls it a day". Stateline (TV program)-Western Australia. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  11. ^ O'Brien, Amanda (7 May 2007). "Ex-gardener lands Senate spot". The Australian. Retrieved 7 May 2007. 
  12. ^ Senate Select Committee on Fuel and Energy: Committee membership Archived 22 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "Senator Cormann's citizenship". 18 July 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 

External linksEdit

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ian Campbell
Senator for Western Australia
Political offices
Preceded by
Penny Wong
as Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Minister for Finance
Preceded by
George Brandis
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Preceded by
Mal Brough
Special Minister of State
Succeeded by
Scott Ryan