A senior Turnbull government senator made an hilarious mistake praising Bill Shorten today

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Every day during Australia’s long election campaign, politicians are sent out to drive home specific messages to voters.

The ALP sends out a daily morning email to media with a “quote”, attributable to a spokesperson, supposedly setting Labor’s theme for the day. For the government, finance minister Mathias Cormann fulfils a similar role as the Liberal election campaign spokesman.

On Wednesday morning, the strain of the race to the July 2 vote appeared to show on Belgian-born MP – dubbed “The Cormannator” because of his Schwarzenegger-like accent as well as relentless demolition of his political foes – when he accidentally praised his opponent, the Labor leader.

“Bill Shorten is very caring and very much in touch and Bill Shorten every single day is promoting our national economic plan for jobs and growth, which of course is exactly what Australia needs given the continued global economic headwinds,” Cormann said.

Shorten was keen to make hay from the Western Australian senator’s unexpected praise.

“I guess Senator Cormann has officially terminated Mr Turnbull’s scare campaign,” he said.

Cormann said later he “misspoke”.

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