Cormann fooling no-one over $122m postal survey waste

04 September 2017


Mathias Cormann’s pitiful attempt to justify wasting $122 million of taxpayers’ money on the marriage equality postal survey just doesn’t stack up.


He said today that the relevant test to use the Advance to the Finance provision is:


“whether certain expenditure is urgent and unforeseen and I would argue that it was.

(Mathias Cormann, RN Breakfast, 4 September 2017)


Minister Cormann’s judgement flies in the face of the views of respected experts, including:


  • Former Department of Finance Secretary Mike Keating AC, who described the expenditure as “entirely inappropriate”, and;
  • Constitutional expert George Williams, who said the Turnbull Government was using a “backdoor means of avoiding explicit parliamentary authorisation of its expenditure”.


It is hardly unforeseen when Peter Dutton flagged a postal ballot back in March and if the Turnbull Government felt this issue was “urgent”, it would get on with it and allow a free vote in Parliament.


Cormann should come out today and explain what advice he relied upon to make his judgement call.


This money is being wasted at the same time as gross debt has reached half-a-trillion dollars for the first time ever and the deficit for this year is 10 times bigger than in the Liberals’ first Budget.


The Turnbull Government is holding thousands of couples hostage to the internal divisions in the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to lead.