The shadow boxing is over.

Today’s ministerial reshuffle, announced just before midday, is the first serious jab of 2007 by a Prime Minister who faces probably the most serious challenge to his political hegemony since he first won government.

The big winners in today’s reshuffle are Malcolm Turnbull (he gets Environment and a place in Cabinet), Kevin Andrews (Immigration) and Joe Hockey (Employment). The big losers are Amanda Vanstone (dumped with a hint of a diplomatic sinecure), Ian Campbell (moves to Human Services).

Will it be enough to position the government as a cauldron of fresh creative minds and generational change? Hardly.

The government is taking a major risk if it thinks it can beat a revitalised Opposition by shuffling a few deckchairs. The whole ship needs a major overhaul.

Peter Fray

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