Bridget McKenzie sports rorts
The newly restored cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie (Image: AAP/James Ross)

It took less than 18 months for Bridget McKenzie to return to the ministry. The Victorian Nationals senator took the fall for the sports rorts affair last year, and is the only member of the Morrison government to ever face a consequence for any sort of misconduct.

Her penance was brief. By aligning herself with Barnaby Joyce’s coup, McKenzie is back in cabinet, as minister for regionalisation, regional education, regional communications, drought and emergency management. It’s a tongue-twisting grab-bag of portfolios lumped together to reward a coup loyalist. And it means her role in administering a $100 million slush fund that screwed many in the regions she’s meant to be fighting for is all but forgotten.

An introduction to McKenzie

At a late-night sitting in 2012, Joyce called McKenzie, then a first-term senator “a flash bit of kit”. Joyce was accused of being drunk (he admitted to a few drinks, but denied inebriation) and forced to apologise.