Dut­ton drops in sta­tus

The Sunday Times - - News - ANNIKA SMETHURST

PETER Dut­ton has fallen down the ranks of the Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment’s or­der of se­nior­ity, fol­low­ing his un­suc­cess­ful bid to be­come prime min­is­ter.

Dubbed the Gov­ern­ment’s “des­ig­nated sur­vivor” list by one min­is­ter, the rank­ing re­flects the sta­tus of each Cab­i­net min­is­ter and is de­cided by Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son.

The list would also be used in an emer­gency to de­cide who was the high­est-rank­ing of­fi­cial to lead the coun­try if oth­ers were ab­sent, on leave or dead.

The Sun­day Times can re­veal Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton has dropped in sta­tus fol­low­ing last month’s spill and is now out­ranked by WA MP and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Chris­ten Porter and Trade Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham.

As ex­pected, Mr Mor­ri­son tops the list fol­lowed by Na­tion­als leader Michael McCor­mack, deputy Lib­eral leader Josh Fry­den­berg and Se­nate leader Mathias Cor­mann. If all four men were to leave Aus­tralia, De­fence Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne would get the top job due to his fifth plac­ing.

Na­tion­als deputy Brid­get McKen­zie is now the most se­nior woman in Cab­i­net af­ter Julie Bishop moved to the back­bench.

The of­fi­cial “or­der of prece­dence” is a closely guarded se­cret kept with the Gover­nor-Gen­eral and the De­part­ment of Prime Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net. The rank­ing of all min­is­ters is also stamped on their Cab­i­net pa­pers and usu­ally de­ter­mines which seat they take at the Cab­i­net ta­ble.

Trea­surer Josh Fry­den­berg is third due to his role as deputy Lib­eral leader, mean­ing he has jumped 16 places in just three years.

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