Cormann Australia’s pick for top OECD job

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday October 8, 2020

Matthias Cormann (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australia has nominated finance minister Mathias Cormann as its candidate for secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ahead of his retirement from the ministry and senate this month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said the OECD’s role in shaping international economic policy would be more critical than ever as the global economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.

“This is the most important Australian nomination for a major international body in decades,” he said.

“Key institutions like the OECD will need strong leadership and senator Cormann is uniquely qualified for this task.”

Cormann was first appointed finance minister in September 2013. Since then, his ministerial roles have included minister for the public service, special minister of state, and vice-president of the executive council. He is also leader of the government in the senate.

The minister played a key role in the 2018 leadership spill which saw Malcolm Turnbull lose his prime ministership after Cormann sided with home affairs minister Peter Dutton.

Having spent half of his life in Europe and half in the Indo-Pacific, Cormann would “bring a rare perspective” to the OECD job, Morrison said.

“In addition to understanding the cultures, economic strengths and political dynamics of both regions, senator Cormann grew up speaking German before pursuing his high school and university studies in French, Flemish and English,” he said.

Cormann will step down from his roles on October 30 before being formally nominated, with an outcome expected in 2021.

Trade, tourism and investment minister Simon Birmingham will be appointed leader of the government in the senate with employment, skills, small and family business minister Michaelia Cash to become deputy leader.

Following Cormann’s departure Birmingham will also be sworn in as finance minister, on top of his current position.

Morrison said no other ministerial changes have been planned.

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