Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a reshuffle of his ministry.
In the new lineup, Steven Ciobo has taken over the role of trade minister from Andrew Robb while Victorian Nationals MP and assistant minister for defence Darren Chester has been offered the infrastructure and transport portfolio replacing Nationals leader Warren Truss.
Also among the changes is Fiona Nash who has taken on regional development and regional communications along with her rural health portfolio while minister for finance Mathias Cormann has expanded his role to include special minister of state.
In addition, Alan Tudge will step into his new role as human services minister with Dan Tehan taking on minister for defence materiel and minister for veterans services.
Turnbull described the new ministry as “a dynamic team which combines youth, new talent, experience, continuity and a real sense of innovation and enterprise”.
In a press conference following the reshuffle, Turnbull responded to claims that it was a “messy start” and “embarrassing for a fairly new government” saying that “change offers opportunity”.
“…there comes a time when you need to transition from older leadership to younger leadership so that new people can come up. I mean politics is a, managing a ministry, managing a cabinet is managing talent and we have a lot of – we have more talent in our party room than we can include in the Cabinet.
“There’s only 42 spaces in the whole ministry. All ministers and parliamentary secretaries and we have more talent than – many, much more talent than you would need to fill that. So really turnover, change is good. It is important in any organisation, including in a government.”
There was speculation that a second ministry reorganisation would take place today following reports that Turnbull had placed calls to a number of MPs for the new lineup earlier this morning, according to the ABC.
Turnbull’s frontbench has faced a myriad of issues including special minister of state Mal Brough who has been under investigation by the Australian Federal Police over his involvement in the downfall of former speaker Peter Slipper.
He stood aside from the ministry in December but has confirmed his resignation from the ministry today saying that “he did not wish to be considered for a position in the new executive line up”. He has denied any wrongdoing and has blamed police for the lengthy investigation which could take up to several months to resolve.
And former minister for cities and the built environment Jamie Briggs announced his resignation following an alleged incident with a female public staffer during a trip to Hong Kong in late December.
Warren Truss this week resigned as deputy prime minister with minister for agriculture and water resources Barnaby Joyce taking on the role as Nationals leader while keeping his existing portfolio. Trade minister Andrew Robb also confirmed his resignation ahead of the next federal election with Steven Ciobo replacing his role.
Turnbull has since paid tribute to both Truss and Robb describing them as “towering figures of the Coalition in government”.
Yesterday, human services minister Stuart Robert resigned after an internal investigation was launched over a controversial trip to China in 2014 while he was still assistant defence minister.
The findings revealed that he had met with Chinese officials, despite claims that it was a personal trip, and attended a signing ceremony for a mining deal between Australian-owned company Nimrod Resources and Chinese government-owned company Minmetals.
It was concluded that he had “acted inconsistently” with ministerial rules following revelations that Nimrod Resources’ executive chairman Paul Marks was a Liberal Party donor.
The swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place Tuesday morning.
You can find the full ministry here.
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