Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his new ministry, saying that leadership rival Peter Dutton will retain responsibility for a reduced home affairs position.
Morrison, who defeated Dutton on Friday in a vote to replace Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Liberal Party, has split the home affairs portfolio and handed responsibility for immigration to David Coleman, leaving Dutton with cyber security, border control, law enforcement and the security agencies.
Josh Frydenberg, who became deputy leader of the party in the leadership spill, will take over Morrison’s former position as treasurer.
Following Julie Bishop’s resignation as foreign minister on Sunday, the new PM named Marise Payne, who had been defence minister, as foreign minister. Bishop said in a separate announcement that she would stay on the back bench and hadn’t yet decided whether to contest her seat in Western Australia at the next election.
The Sydney Morning Herald characterised Morrison’s decision to keep Dutton in a ministerial role as an attempt to “quickly heal wounds” opened during the messy leadership battle. The newspaper did note, however, that the prime minister had dumped Michael Sukkar, who was a backer of Dutton’s leadership challenge, as the assistant minister to the treasurer.
Other key roles were split between Turnbull and Dutton supporters. Coleman, who will take on the immigration portfolio, had backed Turnbull in the leadership battle, while Dutton-supporter Angus Taylor has been given the important but difficult energy portfolio.
Former PM Tony Abbott, who was toppled as liberal party leader by Turnbull in 2015, has no role in the new ministry, but former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce was named a special envoy on drought assistance and recovery.
Morrison called his new team one for the “next generation”. “It is a team that are brought together to assure that we have the stability necessary but in addition to that, begin the work of healing that is needed after these most recent events,” he reportedly said.
His comments refer to the disgust expressed by voters at the knifing of Turnbull by the far right section of the Liberal Party, an action that caused weeks of political instability and resulted in Australia having its sixth prime minister in just 11 years. (John Howard was the last leader to serve a full term.)
When it became clear that Turnbull’s position was untenable on Friday, he gave Morrison his blessing to run for leader of the party in order to head off a coup by Dutton, who was backed by the conservative element of the party. Morrison went on to beat the hardline Queensland MP 45 votes to 40.
Speaking on Friday after winning control of the party, Morrison said his first priority was drought assistance, and added he also planned to focus on issues including keeping Australians safe from terrorism and solving the problem of bullying in schools. “To keep our country together. To not pit one group [of Australians] against another. To ensure that one can succeed, and all can succeed. That one doesn’t have to fail for another one to succeed,” he said of his priorities.
In Sunday’s reshuffle, Christopher Pyne will take the defence ministry and Steve Ciobo will move from trade minister to minister for the defence industry, which had been Pyne’s job, while Simon Birmingham will replace Ciobo on trade. Dan Tehan will replace Simon Birmingham as education minister.
Michaelia Cash, who, with Mathias Cormann and Mitch Fifield, was one of the three ministers to announce on Thursday that they’d lost confidence in the Turnbull government, will take on the small business, skills and vocational education portfolio, after former small business minister Craig Laundy, a Turnbull supporter, resigned. Cormann retained his role as finance minister, despite supporting Dutton.