Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled an “extensive” Cabinet reshuffle that caused Joe Hockey to quit politics and Kevin Andrews to have a public tantrum, but garnered praise for more than doubling the number of women at the highest levels of government.
As with any reshuffle there were winners and losers, with many of the losers close allies of Tony Abbott, who was ousted in a party room coup last week.
But minutes before Mr Turnbull announced the new appointments, outgoing defence minister Kevin Andrews called a snap press conference to tell reporters he was “disappointed” at being axed and issue a warning to the new PM: ignore the conservative elements of the party at your peril.
Mr Andrews will be replaced by Marise Payne, who becomes Australia’s first ever female defence minister.
The NSW senator becomes Australia’s one of five women in the cabinet and two women on the National Security Committee.
“She is one of our most experienced and capable senators,” Mr Turnbull said of Senator Payne, a former chair of parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committee.
Joe Hockey was the biggest casualty in the dramatic shake-up, telling the new PM that he would quit politics altogether in the next month to spend more time with his young family, triggering a by-election in his seat of North Sydney.
There is speculation he could be appointed ambassador to the United States, replacing Kim Beazley who ends his term at the end of 2015.
“I believe he has a further contribution to make in our nation’s service,” Mr Turnbull said of Mr Hockey.
As touted, Scott Morrison is the new Treasurer. (Read more about Scott Morrison here.)
Christopher Pyne has been installed in a wide-ranging super ministry – Industry, Innovation and Science – which would be at the heart of the government’s efforts to be more innovative, agile and “nimble in the way we seize the enormous opportunities that are presented to us”.
In explaining Mr Pyne’s new job, Mr Turnbull said: “We are not seeking to proof ourselves against the future. We are seeking to embrace it.”
He also said the new-look ministry was one for the future.
“That requires renewal,” he stressed.
“As you will have gathered there are some very big changes in the Cabinet, there are now five women in the Cabinet,” he said.
“[The] introduction of new talent means that … others have to leave. One of the great challenges for any leader is to ensure that there is renewal.
“That … we are able to bring up new talent, new faces, into leadership positions over time, and that often means, that invariably means in fact, that very capable people have to move on, stand aside, so that others can come through. And that’s tough, for everybody concerned,” said Mr Turnbull.
Newly-promoted Arthur Sinodinos was appointed the Cabinet Secretary, while Josh Frydenberg has been reassigned from the Assistant Treasurer’s portfolio to Resources, Energy and Northern Australia.
Kelly O’Dwyer has been named the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business. Matthias Cormann remains the Finance Minister.
Progressive senator Simon Birmingham was given Christopher Pyne’s education portfolio.
Mitch Fifield’s success as a junior minister and key role in helping Mr Turnbull marshal the numbers was rewarded with a promotion to Cabinet as minister for communications and the arts.
Julie Bishop retains the foreign ministry, Peter Dutton keeps immigration, Andrew Robb holds trade, Sussan Ley keeps health and Greg Hunt keeps the environment portfolio.
Who’s who in the new Cabinet
Malcolm Turnbull – Prime Minister
Scott Morrison – Treasurer
(Promotion: former Minister for Social Services)
Julie Bishop – Minister for Foreign Affairs
Marise Payne – Minister for Defence
(Promotion: former Minister for Human Services)
Christopher Pyne – Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
(Promotion: former Minister for Education)
Michaelia Cash – Minster for Employment and Minister for Women
(Promotion: former Assistant Minister for Immigration, Minister Assisting the PM for Women)
Kelly O’Dwyer – Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer
(Promotion, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer)
Arthur Sinodinos – Cabinet Secretary
(Promotion, had no Cabinet role)
Simon Birmingham – Minister for Education and Training
(Promotion, former Assistant Minister for Education and Training)
Christian Porter – Minister for Social Services
(Promotion: former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)
Mitch Fifield – Minister for Communications and Minister for Arts
(Promotion: former Assistant Minister for Social Services)
Josh Frydenberg – Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
(Promotion: former Assistant Treasurer)
Mathias Cormann – Minister for Finance
George Brandis – Attorney General
Peter Dutton – Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Warren Truss – Minister for Infrastructure and regional Development
Barnaby Joyce – Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Sussan Ley – Minister for Sport and Minister for Health
Andrew Robb – Minister for Trade and Investment
Greg Hunt – Minister for Environment
Nigel Scullion – Minister for Indigenous Affairs