News National Scott Morrison’s new leadership team includes historic Indigenous appointment

Scott Morrison’s new leadership team includes historic Indigenous appointment

Ken Wyatt
Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt won't present the final report until mid-year. Photo: AAP
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For the first time in our nation’s history, an Indigenous Australian has been sworn into Cabinet as the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Ken Wyatt, member for the West Australian seat of Hasluck, received a standing ovation as he was sworn in on Wednesday while proudly wearing a traditional kangaroo skin cloak.

The cloak, called a “booka”, was given to him by the Noongar people of south-west WA.

Coincidentally, the history-making appointment occurred during National Reconciliation Week, an annual nationwide event aimed at strengthening relationships between the broader Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Can I ask all those, other than His Excellency, of course, to stand to welcome the first Indigenous member of cabinet … the Honourable Ken Wyatt AM, MP, as Minister for Indigenous Australians,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Ken Wyatt was sworn into Cabinet as Australia’s first Indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians. Photo: AAP

But it was not the first time that Mr Wyatt, a Noongar man and son of a member of the Stolen Generations, has made history.

In 2010 he became the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives, and in 2016 he became the first to become a minister.

The passionate AFL Fremantle Dockers fan was the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians last year.

The portfolio of Indigenous affairs has previously been held by the likes of Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion and former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Mr Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack were the first to be sworn in at the ceremony, which was held at Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove’s official Canberra residence.

The Prime Minister was jubilant when he gathered his new team for a photograph on the front steps of Government House afterwards, saying: “How good, how good.”

The new Morrison front bench largely keeps key positions in place, but also promotes some first-timers to new roles.

The cabinet includes a record number of seven women as ministers.

Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie is the first woman to be appointed agriculture minister. Photo: Getty

Other new faces in the ministry include Victorians Jane Hume and Jason Wood, Western Australian Ben Morton, Queenslander Trevor Evans and Tasmanian Jonathon Duniam.

Alan Tudge, Anne Ruston, Linda Reynolds, Stuart Robert and Sussan Ley have been promoted to cabinet.

All of the frontbenchers received an Australian flag stickpin, which Mr Morrison has made a feature of his daily dress-code since taking up the Liberal leadership in August last year.

In the first post-election meeting with Coalition MPs on Tuesday, Mr Morrison insisted his “hungry, committed and united” team would focus on the aspirations of ordinary Australians during their third term in power.

“We must burn for the Australian people every single day that we have this privilege of serving them, in this party room and as a government,” Mr Morrison said.

And he told his backbench colleagues he and his office would be accessible to them and he expected the same from his ministers.

The 46th parliament is expected to sit for the first time in the first week of July.

-with AAP

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