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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 6010

Liberal Party Leadership


Senator DAVID SMITH (Australian Capital Territory) (14:12): My question is to the Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Senator Cormann. When announcing support for his friend Peter to become Prime Minister, the minister was asked whether he had the numbers. The minister said, 'We've made a judgement in our view that there is majority support in the party room.' Given Peter Dutton is not Prime Minister, what went wrong?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Smith, I will ask you in the future to refer to members in the other place by their correct titles.



Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:13): I've extensively explained my position publicly before and after the party room meeting of 24 August. I dealt with questions here yesterday. I don't have anything further to add.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Smith, a supplementary question?



Senator DAVID SMITH (Australian Capital Territory) (14:13): The minister justified his decision to support his friend Minister Dutton by saying, 'In addition to the 35 votes Mr Dutton secured in the first leadership spill, five cabinet ministers and multiple backbenchers have indicated they have shifted support from Malcolm Turnbull to Peter Dutton.' Given Minister Dutton secured only 40 votes in the final leadership vote, what went wrong?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:13): I can see that the good senator is a student of what I've said publicly on the record in relation to these matters and I refer him to those statements.

The PRESIDENT: A final supplementary question, Senator Smith?



Senator DAVID SMITH (Australian Capital Territory) (14:14): Given it took a further 24 hours of standover tactics to secure 43 signatures on a petition, can the minister confirm that, had he demonstrated loyalty to Malcolm Turnbull, Malcolm Turnbull would still be Prime Minister? Isn't it clear this is a finance minister who can't count?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:14): I don't have anything further to add to this.