Malcolm Turnbull has shifted his new look Cabinet to the right with the elevation of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to a new super Home Affairs portfolio, and an expanded role for controversial Senator Michaelia Cash as Minister for Jobs and Innovation..
Dumped from the Cabinet and the Ministry altogether is Victorian MP and Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester. This is a retaliation by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for Chester’s support of Senator Bridget Mackenzie for deputy leader of the National Party.
Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan for the job. Joyce himself will take over Chester’s infrastructure responsibilities.
The Chester dumping would seem to be a petty reaction to the National’s leadership ballot following previous deputy leader Fiona Nash being ruled ineligible under the Section 44 of the Constitution citizenship qualifications.
Senator Cash’s additional responsibilities to include innovation is a surprise given recent controversy over her repeated misleading of a Senate committee over whether her office had tipped off the media about a raid on the offices of the Australian Workers’ Union in Sydney and Melbourne.
A cloud still hangs over her head on this issue with an Australian Federal Police inquiry under way into how this information entered the public domain.
As expected Attorney General Senator George Brandis is to move to London as High Commissioner in place of Alexander Downer. Brandis will be replaced as Attorney General by Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
Porter’s place will be taken by Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan who will enter the Cabinet along with Bridget McKenzie who will become Minister for Sport, Rural Health and Regional Communications.
Senator Mathias Cormann, the Finance Minister, will replace Senator Brandis as Leader of the Government in the Senate. He takes over the role of Special Minister of State from Senator Scott Ryan who has become president of the Senate.
Nationals leader Joyce successfully pushed for greater Queensland representation in the Ministry with the elevation of two Queenslanders.
John McVeigh joins the Cabinet as Minister for Regional Development, and David Littleproud as Minister for Agriculture and Water.
Other ministerial changes include a promotion for conservative Angus Taylor from an assistant minister to Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security. Victorian Liberal Kelly O’Dwyer will take over responsibility for Women from Senator Cash.
Turnbull will be hoping his new cabinet and ministerial team will enable a re-set entering a new political year, but changes will not be welcomed by all.
None of the Coalition’s principal actors behind the same sex marriage push were promoted.