Traditionally at this time I would do a winners and losers of the year. But before we get to that, how about winners and losers of last weekend?
I’m talking about the Morrison cabinet reshuffle.
Initial reaction from the Canberra press gallery described it as “boring”, which is not surprising given the major move of Dan Tehan to trade had been well and truly leaked beforehand.
Tehan was the big winner. But who would have thought that another promotion would go to Alan Tudge, who only a few weeks ago was being written off by pundits after the damaging Four Corners episode highlighting his messy personal life?
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A defiant PM promoted Tudge to Tehan’s old education portfolio from the much harder job of acting immigration minister.
This in a year where corporate Australia supposedly led the way in new standards of workplace behaviour, with Nine CEO Hugh Marks losing his job over a consensual relationship after negative stories from his commercial rival News Corp.
At the same time, the ABC, which revealed the behaviour the Tudge felt compelled to apologise for, is attacked.
The PM danced around the promotion, calling it a “reassignment”. He even defended Tudge, whom he said had “dealt with these issues honestly”. Morrison was obviously referring to the extramarital affair, not the handling of the immigration portfolio, where a Federal Court judge recently labelled Tudge’s behaviour as “criminal”.
If you’re sensing double standards we could start with the overall makeup of the cabinet, where every player — well, mainly right-wing ones — seemed to win a prize.
Morrison’s efforts to keep as many snouts in the ministerial or assistant ministerial or mate-of-Scotty-with-an-official-title trough is also at odds with the rest of Australia, where reining in costs and management roles is the new austerity message.
Do as I say not as I do is always the message from Canberra, of course. Let’s not forget they’re still fighting workers getting a super raise to 12% while holding tight to their own rate of 15%.
Speaking of super, the leader of the anti-industry super forces Jane Hume continued her rise, joining the ministry now having responsibility for superannuation, financial services and the digital economy.
Other Sky After Dark favourites among the conservative ascendancy included Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker as assistant attorney-general, ACT Senator Zed Seselja to international development and right-wing factional heavyweight and close ScoMo ally Alex Hawke to immigration.
One conservative promotion that was well deserved was Andrew Hastie as assistant defence minister.
Even the one demotion was half-hearted, with Richard Colbeck sidelined from the aged care portfolio he so mismanaged — retaining it in title only with the key bits going to another minister in cabinet. He still retains sport.
As I’ve noted before, it takes a lot for a Morrison muppet to lose his job in this cabinet.