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Australian Finance Minister Cormann to resign at end of year

Last Updated Jul 4, 2020 at 5:50 pm PDT

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann addresses reporters at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Cormann, one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s most senior Cabinet members, said Sunday, July 5, 2020 he is retiring from politics at the end of the year. Belgium-born Cormann, who has been finance minister since 2013, entered federal politics in 2007 and became the leader government’s Senate, or upper house, leader in 2017. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk, File)

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s most senior Cabinet members, says he is retiring from politics at the end of the year.

Belgium-born Cormann, who has been finance minister since 2013, entered federal politics in 2007 and became the leader of the government in the Senate, the upper house of Parliament, in 2017.

His decision to remove his support for former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and instead support Peter Dutton was seen as a major reason for the 2018 change that led to Morrison becoming the country’s leader.

“Having decided not to re-contest the next election, I can confirm that I have advised the prime minister that the end of this year would be an appropriate time for an orderly transition in my portfolio,” Cormann said in a statement Sunday.

Cormann said he would spend the next six months working with Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on finalizing the July economic statement, the budget in October and the half-yearly budget update in December.

The budget is usually delivered in May, but has been delayed until October because of the coronavirus.

Cormann, 49, decided to migrate to Australia permanently from Belgium after visiting Perth, Western Australia, in 1994.

The Associated Press