Australia’s longest serving finance Minister has been elected the new head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Australia’s former finance minister Mathias Cormann has been elected the new head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Mr Cormann, 50, will be the Asia-Pacific region’s first head of the Paris-based economic organisation, which represents 37 member nations.
He beat nine other candidates, including former European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, of Sweden, for the coveted role.
Climate activists hit out at his bid for the leadership, with environmental and humanitarian organisations calling on diplomats and world leaders to reject it.
“Mathias Cormann has been a leading figure in a government that has repeatedly blocked climate action and promoted the increased use of fossil fuels, the leading driver of climate change,” said David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
Former Liberal Party member Mr Cormann is Australia’s longest serving finance Minister. He left parliament late last year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed his appointment as a win for the country, saying it is “the most senior appointment of an Australian candidate to an international body for decades”.
“This is a great honour for Mathias who has worked tirelessly over several months to engage with leaders, senior ministers and officials of OECD member nations from Europe, Asia and the Americas,” he said.
“The appointment is recognition of Australia’s global agency and standing among fellow liberal democracies and our practical commitment and contribution to multilateral co-operation.”
The OECD has been one of the world’s most important international economic institutions for 60 years.
“As the global economy recovers from COVID19, the OECD’s role in shaping international economic, tax and climate change policy will be more critical than ever,” Mr Morrison said.
“Mathias’ work and life experience in both Europe and Australia, his outstanding record as Finance Minister and Senate leader and his expertise in international economic diplomacy will ensure he makes an outstanding contribution as leader of the OECD.
“I thank my ministerial colleagues, the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the broader diplomatic network for their determined efforts in support of this effort.
“I also thank the Federal Opposition for their bipartisan support for the candidacy.”
Mr Cormann’s five-year term begins on June 1, replacing Angel Gurria of Mexico.