There could be as many as eight women in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s new Cabinet, set to be sworn in on Monday.
Since Tony Abbott announced his first cabinet in 2013, the Liberal Party has been slammed for having only two women in the current Cabinet – Julie Bishop and Sussan Ley – but Mr Turnbull has hinted that the situation could be about to change.
“There is no greater enthusiast than me for seeing more women in positions of power and influence in parliament,” he said on Wednesday.
“I am very committed to that, but I am not going to say any more about the new ministerial arrangements.”
• Don’t be fooled about women in parliament
• Scott Morrison ‘tipped’ to become Treasurer
• Turnbull must get the economic numbers right
• Andrew Bolt suggests new party
• Turnbull promises to help mums, students
Several women in the outer ministry – Michaelia Cash, Kelly O’Dwyer, Fiona Nash, Marise Payne, Karen Andrews and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells – could be in line for a promotion.
All of them currently serve in senior positions, and Ms Cash has been named in ABC reports as a possible contender as Minister for Border Protection and Immigration.
On ABC Brisbane on Wednesday, Ms Andrews, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, said she’d like to join Cabinet.
“We need greater representation [of women] in there,” she said.
“Women are about 50 per cent of the population and I think that should be reflected at all levels of government.”
Ms Ley kept her allegiances close to her chest in the aftermath of the leadership spill.
Speaking to The Border Mail the current Health Minister did not say who she supported for the leadership.
She also walked into the party room alone on Monday, rather than joining the Tony Abbott entourage.
There is no suggestion she will lose her spot in Cabinet.
Ms Bishop indicated on Monday night she would stay as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Ms O’Dwyer is touted as a rising star of the Liberal Party and is believed to be in line for a promotion.
Ms Nash and Ms Payne have also been named in reports as candidates for Cabinet.
The parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Ms Fierravanti-Wells could take over Scott Morrison’s job as Minister, should he become Treasurer.
The other positions
As many as six senior men in Cabinet are likely to lose their places in Mr Turnbull’s reshuffle, including Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Mathias Cormann and Bruce Billson.
They all publicly backed Mr Abbott in the hours leading up to Monday night’s spill.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton reportedly text messaged his resignation to Mr Turnbull, while Joe Hockey is tipped to be dumped as Treasurer.
Mr Hockey might not leave Cabinet altogether. The ABC reported he would take over as Minister for Communications.
The same report claimed Mr Morrison had been formally offered the coveted Treasurer posting. It is believed he voted for Mr Abbott in Monday’s spill.
But unlike fellow high-profile MPs Mr Hockey, Mr Dutton, Mr Abetz and Mr Andrews, he did not publicly support Mr Abbott before the vote.
Mr Hockey appeared on Wednesday to announce legislation clamping down on multi-national company tax avoidance.
He refused to answer questions about his possible resignation.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne voted for Mr Turnbull on Monday. He did not appear publicly until after the spill. News Corp reported he would take over from Mr Andrews as Minister for Defence.
He is South Australian, a state in the midst of negotiating new submarine building deals. That is seen as crucial to his appointment, according to reports.
Senator Arthur Sinodinos is expected to be rewarded with the Employment portfolio, replacing Mr Abetz. He was seen as a key player in Mr Turnbull’s coup.
The new Cabinet will be sworn in by Govenor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Monday.