Cab­i­net history in the mak­ing

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - JOE KELLY

Scott Morrison has drawn sharp new pri­or­i­ties for his gov­ern­ment by el­e­vat­ing the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme into cab­i­net as a stand-alone min­istry, rein­te­grat­ing the cli­mate and en­ergy port­fo­lios and cre­at­ing a fed­eral agency to im­prove pub­lic ser­vice de­liv­ery.

The over­haul sets a num­ber of his­toric prece­dents, with 11 women on the Coali­tion front­bench in­clud­ing seven in cab­i­net, and Na­tion­als deputy leader Bridget McKen­zie be­com­ing the nation’s the first fe­male agri­cul­ture min­is­ter. Linda Reynolds will be­come de­fence min­is­ter and Marise Payne will stay in For­eign Af­fairs but also take re­spon­si­bil­ity for women while Michaelia Cash will have re­spon­si­bil­ity for Em­ploy­ment, Skills and Small Busi­ness.

West Aus­tralian Lib­eral MP Ken Wy­att will be­come the first Abo­rig­i­nal to hold the post of min­is­ter for indige­nous af­fairs, and he will be­come the first indige­nous per­son to serve in cab­i­net in Aus­tralia’s history.

The front­bench shake-up is the first step by Mr Morrison to as­sert his new author­ity over the Coali­tion fol­low­ing his “mir­a­cle” elec­tion vic­tory, with the new min­istry to be sworn in on Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a joint par­ty­room meet­ing to­mor­row.

Mr Morrison yes­ter­day said Mr Wy­att — who has served as min­is­ter for indige­nous health, se­nior Aus­tralians and aged care — would be sup­ported by a “new na­tional indige­nous Aus­tralians agency” to be es­tab­lished within the Depart­ment of Prime Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net.

The new front­bench line-up will fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing his Mr Morrison’s promised 1.25 mil­lion new jobs, main­tain­ing the forecast bud­get sur­pluses, pay­ing down debt, de­liv­er­ing tax re­lief and guar­an­tee­ing fund­ing for es­sen­tial ser­vices. “This min­istry brings to­gether the ex­pe­ri­ence of those who have been serv­ing in roles

across the gov­ern­ment for many years now,” Mr Morrison said. “And it brings to­gether some new mem­bers who will bring their skills, ex­pe­ri­ence, pas­sion and en­ergy to the gov­ern­ment, as we set about the task of re­al­is­ing the as­pi­ra­tions for all Aus­tralians.”

The big­gest win­ners in the front­bench shake-up in­clude At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Chris­tian Porter, who will take on the key port­fo­lio of Industrial Re­la­tions and serve as Leader of the House, as well as Stu­art Robert who is a key ally of Mr Morrison.

Mr Robert will be handed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the $22 bil­lion NDIS. Mr Morrison ap­pointed Mr Robert to the outer min­istry po­si­tion of as­sis­tant trea­surer in Au­gust fol­low­ing the oust­ing of Malcolm Turn­bull. Mr Robert was forced to re­sign from the Turn­bull front­bench in 2016 af­ter breach­ing the min­is­te­rial code. Mr Morrison yes­ter­day said the NDIS was a “very big so­cial re­form”, with the Coali­tion aim­ing to en­sure that 500,000 Aus­tralians were able to ac­cess as­sis­tance un­der the scheme over the next five years.

A Gov­ern­ment Ser­vices port­fo­lio has also been cre­ated for Mr Robert, who will have re­spon­si­bil­ity for a fed­eral agency aimed at im­prov­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery, in­clud­ing through the use of digital plat­forms. The eco­nomic team will re­main un­changed, with Josh Fry­den­berg stay­ing on as Trea­surer and Mathias Cor­mann con­tin­u­ing to serve as Fi­nance Min­is­ter. Greg Hunt will keep Health, but take-up a new role as min­is­ter as­sist­ing the Prime Min­is­ter for the pub­lic ser­vice and cab­i­net.

Dan Te­han will stay in Ed­u­ca­tion while Peter Dut­ton will con­tinue to serve in his sig­na­ture role of Home Af­fairs.

The re­vised Morrison cab­i­net — due to meet for the first time on Wed­nes­day — will main­tain its record level of seven women, with two fe­males from the outer min­istry, Sus­san Ley and Anne Ruston, tak­ing up seats around the cab­i­net table.

Ms Ley will re­turn to cab­i­net to take over the en­vi­ron­ment port­fo­lio from Melissa Price — the big­gest loser from the shakeup. Ms Price was yes­ter­day de­moted from cab­i­net and handed the De­fence In­dus­try port­fo­lio.

Sen­a­tor Ruston will en­ter cab­i­net as so­cial ser­vices min­is­ter while two other women, Jane Hume and Nola Marino, will join the outer min­istry. Sen­a­tor Hume will serve as as­sis­tant min­is­ter for su­per­an­nu­a­tion and fi­nan­cial ser­vices while Ms Marino will be­come as­sis­tant min­is­ter for re­gional de­vel­op­ment and ter­ri­to­ries. En­ergy Min­is­ter An­gus Tay­lor will also take over re­spon­si­bil­ity for meet­ing Aus­tralia’s 2030 emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­gets. His port­fo­lio was yes­ter­day re­named En­ergy and Emis­sions Re­duc­tion.

Vic­to­rian MP Alan Tudge has been elevated into cab­i­net and re­tains re­spon­si­bil­ity for pop­u­la­tion, cities and ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture, while Syd­ney MP Paul Fletcher has been moved from So­cial Ser­vices. Mr Fletcher will take over Sen­a­tor Fifield’s port­fo­lios and be­come min­is­ter for com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Tas­ma­nian Lib­eral sen­a­tor Richard Col­beck will pick up re­spon­si­bil­ity for Aged Care, Youth and Sport.

The Na­tion­als will have a di­min­ished rep­re­sen­ta­tion in cab­i­net, mov­ing from four seats to five. Sen­a­tor McKen­zie will take agri­cul­ture while David Lit­tleproud will have re­spon­si­bil­ity for wa­ter re­sources, drought, ru­ral fi­nance, nat­u­ral dis­as­ter and emer­gency man­age­ment. Matt Cana­van will re­tain re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­sources while Michael McCor­mack will con­tinue in his role as In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port Min­is­ter.

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