Turnbull's appointment of more women to senior positions is a decisive shift

Foreign minister Julie Bishop. Photo: Bart Maat/Getty Images.

Malcolm Turnbull has announced his new line-up of ministers on Sunday in what has seen some shock casualties and surprising faces.

But one of the most notable elements of the cabinet reshuffle is in Turnbull more than doubling the number of women in cabinet from two to five.

NSW Senator Marise Payne became the first women in Australia’s political history to take on the role of defence minister, replacing Kevin Andrews who was dropped from the new line-up.

Marise Payne. Photo: Getty Images.

Meanwhile, the former parliamentary secretary to the treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, has entered into cabinet in her new role as small business minister and assistant treasurer making her “the first woman to be elevated to cabinet within the Treasury portfolio”.

Earlier this week, Turnbull vowed to see more female representatives on the frontbench saying: “There is no greater enthusiast than me for seeing more women in positions of power and influence in parliament, in ministries right across the country.

“I can assure you that. I am very committed to that, but I am not going to say any more about the new ministerial arrangements. You don’t have long to wait.”

Michaelia Cash, previously the assistant minister for immigration and border protection, and minister assisting the prime minister for women, entered cabinet taking on a range of new roles including minister for women, minister for employment and minister assisting the prime minister for the public service, leaving Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz without a role.

Meanwhile, NSW Nationals Senator and assistant health minister Fiona Nash will retain her position as rural health minister while Sussan Ley stays on as health and sport minister.

Fiona Nash. Photo: Getty Images.

The Abbott government was regularly criticised for the absence of women in senior cabinet positions.

A report from Liberal think tank the Menzies Research Centre last month highlighted only a third of federal and state parliamentarians are women, with women currently forming a minority in every state, territory and federal chamber and in both major parties.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.