Nomination of Senator Mathias Cormann for the position of OECD Secretary-General

Media statement
08 Oct 2020
Prime Minister

Australia will nominate the Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann as its candidate for Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This is the most important Australian nomination for a major international body in decades.

As the global economy recovers from COVID-19, the OECD’s role in shaping international economic policy will be more critical than ever.

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

Mathias Cormann has played a central role in economic policy making since his appointment as Finance Minister in September 2013. His financial stewardship helped to position Australia to better withstand the economic shocks of COVID-19 than most other nations. He has made an indispensable contribution to shaping Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences will be invaluable guiding the OECD’s work to help all nations and the global economy to recover from the pandemic.

Senator Cormann has already been an influential contributor in regional and global economic institutions, having attended every G20 Leaders’ Meeting since 2014 and numerous G20 Finance Ministers’, IMF and World Bank meetings over this period.

Over the last seven years, Senator Cormann has worked with many OECD leaders and dozens of Treasury, Finance and Trade Minister counterparts from developed and developing countries.

Senator Cormann will bring a rare perspective to this role, having spent half of his life in Europe and half in the Indo-Pacific.

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.

This nomination highlights our determination, signalled in my Lowy speech in October last year, for Australia to take an even more forward-leaning approach to international economic institutions.

As the most successful multicultural country in the world, Australia takes great pride in the story of Mathias Cormann. When he arrived in Australia 25 years ago, he brought a deep belief in Australia as a place of untold opportunity.

He embodies our national belief that ‘if you have a go, you get a go’.

Senator Cormann will step down from the Ministry and the Senate on 30 October 2020 before being formally nominated. Nominations for the OECD role close at the end of October, with interviews and intensive consultations commencing thereafter, with an outcome expected in the first part of 2021.

Until that time, Senator Cormann’s entire focus will be on continuing to deliver for Australians as it has been since he was elected.

Mathias has been a dear friend, a trusted colleague, and a source of great counsel. He has been a great servant of Western Australia and the country.

Australia will throw its full support behind his nomination as he embarks on his next stage. I also wish his wife Hayley and his children the very best for the future, particularly after managing the particular difficulties that the families SWestern Australian politicians face with travel and distance.