Finance Minister Mathias Cormann arrogantly thought he could get away with conducting an interview within metres of the Australian Jobs Embassy. The MUA and other unionists quickly put him in his place.
Unionists Disrupt Mathias Cormann Interview with US TV Network
By Neale Prior
Trade union activists camped outside Federal Parliament had a victory of sorts over their Liberal foes – forcing Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to move a series of stand-up television interviews.
When Senator Cormann was about to start an interview with CNBC on the grassed area outside Federal Parliament, more than 100 protesters surrounded the minister and challenged him to speak to them.
The minister was challenged to “turn around and face your accusers”, but instead checked his mobile phone while the TV crew, onlookers and even Protective Services staff began taking an interest in the impromptu demonstration.
The Jobs Embassy occupants are camped on the grassed area that sits out the front of Parliament House just outside the ring road and opposite the picturesque concourse leading to the main entrance.
After about five minutes of chants such as “Mathias for the rich’ and “Liberals for the rich’, the Senator Cormann and the crew gave up on doing the interview from a spot next to the tent embassy popular with TV crews.
They decided to cross the road back across to the Federal Parliament concourse, prompting cheers and jeers from workers.
They set up on the concourse and the workers crossed the ring road to shout from the bottom of the concourse while the American network’s crew again set up.
Protective Services officers, who are on good terms with the embassy tenants, instructed them to cross back to the other side of the road.
The move removed any risk of a physical confrontation, but one of the workers' leaders started chanting though a loudspeaker system and proclaimed “we have megaphone”.
The interview started with chanted protests as the visual backdrop and protests as the audio backdrop, with one protester alluding to Senator Cormann’s European upbringing by describing his words as “Belgian waffle”.
Protective Services officers were on standby near the Finance Minister but had no need to intervene, and Senator Cormann continued his post-Budget publicity blitz on the concourse and inside the safety of Parliament House courtyards.