Announcement of Changes to the Turnbull Ministry

13 February 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a major Cabinet reshuffle today, which sees three new Cabinet members, five new ministers and 5 new assistant ministers (parliamentary secretaries). The reshuffle was necessitated by the retirement of Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and former Minister for Trade Andrew Robb, and the departure of Stuart Robert late last week, adding to the resignation of Jamie Briggs late last year. Mal Brough formally tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister this morning, having stood aside from his ministry in December.

Under the changes announced by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet expands by one, to 22, with the Nationals receiving an additional seat under the Coalition Agreement signed by the Prime Minister and incoming Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Mr Joyce has decided to retain his existing portfolio of Agriculture and Water Resources, while fellow National Darren Chester picks up Infrastructure and Transport from the retiring Warren Truss. Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has been elevated from the backbench to become Minister for Northern Australia, working alongside Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia.

Newly elected Deputy Leader of the National Party Fiona Nash has been elevated to Cabinet and adds Regional Communications and Regional Development to her existing responsibility of Rural Health. Minister Nash’s promotion makes her the first female National to serve in Cabinet and takes the number of women in the Cabinet to six, with a total of ten women serving in the Executive.

Queensland MP Steven Ciobo replaces Andrew Robb as Minister for Trade and Investment, while in an unorthodox move the Prime Minister has appointed Mr Robb Special Trade Envoy, so that he can continue trade negotiations with India and Indonesia on behalf of the Government.

NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has been promoted to Minister for International Development and the Pacific, while inner-western Sydney MP Craig Laundy replaces her as Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs. NSW rising star Angus Taylor has been appointed Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister with special responsibility for Cities and Digital Transformation.

Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker has left the Ministry, and is replaced by Victorian Senator Scott Ryan who becomes Minister for Vocational Education and Skills. Fellow Victorian Alan Tudge has been promoted into the Human Services portfolio, while Dan Tehan has been plucked from the backbench and becomes Minister for Defence Materiel, Minister for Veterans Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC.

Other promotions include National Party leadership aspirant, Michael McCormack, appointed Assistant Minister for Defence, Keith Pitt who becomes Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Jane Prentice who has been made Assistant Minister for Disability Services. Current Assistant Minister for Productivity Peter Hendy becomes Assistant Minister for Finance and Assistant Cabinet Secretary, while Finance Minister Mathias Cormann who has recently acted as Special Minister of State takes on the role permanently.

Trying to put a positive spin on the severity of change, Prime Minister Turnbull described the new line up as innovative and said ‘organisms that don’t change are dead’. The new Ministry, he argued, was one that balances experience with new talent and which places the Government on a strong election footing. The Governor General will swear in the new Ministry on Thursday.

View the full Ministry on the Prime Minister’s website here.


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