Porter and Reynolds lose roles as PM announces new cabinet

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his anticipated cabinet reshuffle following recent controversies to rock the coalition government.

Both Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Attorney-General Christian Porter have lost their positions following what Mr Morrison previously called a "difficult" month where a series of rape allegations and incidences of inappropriate behaviour towards women emerged.

Mr Morrison vowed last week to change workplace culture and eradicate injustices women are facing in his government.

Mr Morrison announced his reshuffle on Monday. Source: ABC

"The changes I'm announcing today will once again, provide the strongest ever female representation in an Australian Government cabinet," he told reporters on Monday.

"I have very capable women serving in some very important portfolios."

Attorney-General Christian Porter lost his role to Senator Michaelia Cash. Mr Porter faced historic rape allegations where he was accused of raping a now-deceased woman he knew as a 17-year-old when she was 16. He has denied the allegations and has launched defamation action against the ABC.

He also lost his industrial relations portfolio.

Mr Porter will now take on the portfolio for industry, science and technology.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will remain in cabinet and will now take on the portfolio of government services and head the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds both lost their senior cabinet positions on Monday. Source: AAP
Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds both lost their senior cabinet positions on Monday. Source: AAP

Her role as Defence Minister will go to Peter Dutton. His role as Minister for Home Affairs will go to Karen Andrews.

"She is a woman of great talent, great experience and great practicality," Mr Morrison said.

Ms Reynolds' role has come under intense scrutiny due to her handling of rape allegations where one of her former staffers is accused of raping fellow colleague Brittany Higgins in 2019.

The alleged assault occurred in Ms Reynolds' office, the same room where she met with Ms Higgins to first hear her account of the attack. Earlier this month it emerged she'd called Ms Higgins a "lying cow" in reference to certain elements of her story detailed in national media.

Both Mr Porter and Ms Reynolds remain on medical leave.

New women's taskforce announced

Mr Morrison announced a new cabinet task force to focus on women's equality, safety, economic security and health.

He said Minister for Women Marise Payne would now act as the "prime minister for women".

"It is her job to bring together this great talent and experience across not just the female members of my Cabinet team and the outer ministry and executive, but to draw also in the important contributions, especially in areas such as health, and services and aged care, and other key important roles that go so much to women's well being in this country," he said.

The new group will be led by Minister for Women Marise Payne and comprise all female ministers, along with the deputy prime minister, treasurer and finance minister.

Ms Payne called the move "very powerful".

In the outer ministry, Jane Hume will add women's economic security minister to her other roles.

Queensland senator Amanda Stoker will become assistant minister for industrial relations and women.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has been returned to cabinet.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will add women's safety to her responsibilities.

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