Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 March 2017
Page: 1369

Western Australian State Election


Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:28): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. I refer to the minister, who, before the Western Australian state election, labelled the Western Australian Liberal Party's preference deal with One Nation as 'sensible and pragmatic'. Does the minister stand by this description, or is his Western Australian colleague Senator Smith right when he said that the deal 'sucked the oxygen' out of the campaign?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:29): If I can give Senator Sterle one piece of advice: gloating when you have won the privilege and opportunity to serve the people of Western Australian is not a very good sign. The fact that you are approaching the responsibilities that have been bestowed on the WA Labor Party by coming into this chamber and gloating is not a very good sign.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, a supplementary question.



Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:29): I am actually looking forward to the next one! I refer to the minister, who, on ABC's 7.30 program last Monday, twice refused to rule out having been involved in the preference deal. Does the minister regret the role he played in landing the preference deal? Does he agree with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who says the preference deal was 'a mistake'?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:30): Senator Sterle is misrepresenting what was actually put to me by way of question. I can confirm that, contrary to public reports, I was not the architect. Obviously preference arrangements—certainly in the Liberal Party—are a matter for the party organisation, and that is the way it was handled on this occasion.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, do you have a final supplementary question?



Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:30): Yes, I do. Given that the Liberal member for Hasluck, Mr Ken Wyatt, has observed, 'Liberal supporters were quite frank with me at the polling booths—there was an unhappiness with the deal with One Nation,' will the minister now encourage Malcolm Turnbull to follow in the footsteps of John Howard and direct all branches of the Liberal Party to put One Nation last?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:31): Even with the most generous interpretation of standing orders, I cannot see how this has any bearing on my responsibilities as the Minister for Finance. As I have said publicly on Insiders, I believe, these are not judgements for me to make. Preference arrangements in the Liberal Party are a matter for the party organisation.

But let me just say that in this chamber—and this is also a matter of public record—we work courteously and professionally with all senators who have been elected to this chamber by the Australian people. There are four senators who have been elected to this chamber on behalf of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, and the government will continue to work with them courteously and professionally to advance the best interests of our great country.