Announcing a “21st-century government”, Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled his new cabinet and ministry this afternoon — one that not merely brings an emphasis on innovation but moves a new generation of Liberal talent into cabinet and forces a slate of Howard-era ministers out of cabinet and, in one case, politics altogether.
As expected, Scott Morrison is the new Treasurer. The biggest shock of the reshuffle is that current treasurer Joe Hockey is resigning from the ministry and leaving Parliament. He may well receive a diplomatic posting from Turnbull, who suggested that Hockey still had a role to serve after Parliament.
Christopher Pyne takes the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio, charged with leading an economic agenda of innovation and agility that Turnbull emphasised would be central to his government’s economic message. Queensland MP Wyatt Roy will be Assistant Minister for Innovation.
Marise Payne gets a significant promotion, from Human Services to the Defence portfolio. Western Australian Senator Michaelia Cash comes into cabinet as Minister for Employment and Minister for Women. Victorian MP Kelly O’Dwyer becomes Assistant Treasurer and Small Business Minister, replacing Josh Frydenberg and Bruce Billson respectively. O’Dwyer will also come into cabinet.
Senator Arthur Sinodinos becomes cabinet secretary, and Simon Birmingham is the new Minister for Education and Training. He also takes childcare on.
Western Australian MP Christian Porter enters cabinet as the new Minister for Social Services — a rapid rise for the former WA state treasurer. Turnbull backer Mitch Fifield is the new Minister for Communications and Arts (he gets Arts from George Brandis). Josh Frydenberg gets promoted into cabinet as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia.
George Brandis remains as Attorney-General and becomes Leader of the Government in the Senate; Matthias Cormann, who remains Minister for Finance, becomes Deputy Senate leader. Peter Dutton remains Immigration Minister.
Former small business minister Bruce Billson has elected to stand aside from the ministry. Hard-right Tasmanian minister Eric Abetz is dumped from the ministry altogether, and also loses his position as Senate leader. Howard-era veteran Ian Macfarlane is also dumped.
South Australian MP Jamie Briggs becomes minister for Cities and the Built Environment and Mal Brough gets a reward for his support of Malcolm Turnbull: he becomes Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, as well as Special Minister of State.
The national security committee of cabinet will be composed of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Defence and the Attorney-General.
In a remarkable display of petulance earlier this afternoon, outgoing Defence Minister Kevin Andrews tried to spoil the announcement of the reshuffle by pre-emptively calling a media conference ahead of the announcement to list his achievements, criticise Turnbull’s decision to dump him and praise Tony Abbott. The departure of Andrews brings to a close and turbulent ministerial career in which the fundamentalist Catholic achieved little except the illegal revocation of the visa of Dr Mohammed Haneef in 2007, an Indian doctor victimised by the Australian Federal Police under trumped-up terrorism allegations and exploited by a desperate Howard government to make itself look strong on national security.
Beyond that, it’s hard to recall an Andrews contribution to public life, except the absurd school chaplains program re-established by the Abbott government in the 2014 budget, which cost nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and served to demonstrate how badly out-of-touch Abbott and Andrews were in their priorities. Andrews says he’ll be staying in parliament, but there is already speculation he’ll be pressured to leave politics.
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin earlier in the day tweeted that he would not be continuing in the role.
Update: Outgoing Treasurer Joe Hockey has released this statement:
After having served for nearly twenty years as the Member for North Sydney and seventeen years on the frontbench, I advised the Prime Minister that I did not wish to continue as a minister in the Government and that it is my intention to resign from the House of Representatives.
It has been a great honour to serve my local community as the second longest serving Member for North Sydney since Federation. I have no desire to break Billy Hughes’ record!
It was a great privilege to serve on the frontbench.
In each and every ministry from Financial Services to Employment and Workplace Relations, from Small Business and Tourism to Treasurer, I have sought to do my very best for the people of Australia.
I will have more to say in due course, but for the sake of my young family — to whom I owe so much — I have decided to bring my parliamentary career to a close.