Queensland in line to step up after Cormann steps down

 

There will be a significant Cabinet reshuffle at the end of the year, as a giant of the Morrison Government steps aside in a bid to take on the world's top economic gig.

French, German and Flemish speaking Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will step down at the end of the month and seek appointment to the top job at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will step up to fill the Finance portfolio, but it paves the way for a broader reshuffle which could have consequences for a Queensland minister.

 

Senator Simon Birmingham will be the next Finance Minister. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Senator Simon Birmingham will be the next Finance Minister. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

There had been talk about Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton moving to the Defence portfolio after years guarding the borders, but others have argued that he is a strong performer in his current role.

Queensland Coalition MPs have also been pushing behind the scenes to ensure someone from the state is represented on the powerful Economics Review Committee, which determine which projects get funded in the budget or not.

Senator Cormann has served as Finance Minister in the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments.

The Belgium-born West Australian said he would bring a unique perspective to the OECD, having lived half his life in Europe and the other half in the Asia-Pacific.

"The OECD brings together most of the European economies, but it also brings together the economies of North America and the Asia-Pacific as a truly global organisation," he said.

"A voice from the Asia-Pacific, which will increasingly be the centre of the global economy, we think, is just what the OECD needs," he said.

He also briefly gave a pitch to the OECD in both French and German.

If he secures the job he will be based in Paris, but will technically take a slight pay cut.

Senator Cormann's current role pays $396,000 a year, compared to $383,400 for the OECD role. But the salaries are income tax exempt in most member countries, and it would be a five-year appointment.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is stepping down and will be Australia’s candidate for Secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is stepping down and will be Australia’s candidate for Secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed his Minister saying his experience in government "ideally equips him" for the job.

Other candidates for the job include Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Swedish candidate and former EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

The appointment does not take place until March 2021, but Mr Cormann is expected to get an exemption to leave Australian in November to seek to engage other OECD members about his candidacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Queensland in line to step up after Cormann steps down



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