Article – Familiar faces fill the frontbench

17 September 2013
Sid Maher
The Australian
Tony Abbott has opted for experience in his first cabinet, which contains only one woman, promoting West Australian senator Mathias Cormann to the key role of finance, moving Andrew Robb to trade and investment and dumping the Nationals’ John Cobb from the frontbench to make way for Barnaby Joyce as agriculture minister.
Declaring his new line-up “one of the most experienced incoming ministries in our history”, Mr Abbott said he thought it was important to have experience in moving from opposition to government as he named a cabinet with 61 years’ ministerial experience.
The prime minister-designate also moved to pare back the titles of his ministers, saying he wanted to avoid “the sometimes grandiose titles of the former government”. This sparked criticism from interim Labor leader Chris Bowen, who said there were more women in the cabinet of Afghanistan than in the line-up announced by Mr Abbott. As foreign minister, deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop will be the most senior woman in the government.
As foreshadowed in The Australian yesterday, Mr Joyce was named agriculture minister and Mr Cobb dropped from the ministry after losing a ballot to be deputy Nationals leader. Ian Macfarlane was given industry, a responsibility that had been held by Sophie Mirabella in opposition but whose fight to hold her seat of Indi in Victoria made her unavailable for the ministry.
In naming his team, Mr Abbott also flagged changes to the structure and personnel at the top of the public service. He said he would have more to say about departmental secretaries later this week. “There will be some changes there,” he said, adding that he respected the public service.
The Australian understands the Nationals were offered the trade role in Coalition negotiations but declined, accepting three roles in cabinet: Warren Truss, who will be deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development, Mr Joyce in agriculture and Senate leader Nigel Scullion, who will be minister for indigenous affairs.
Key promotions included South Australian MP Jamie Briggs, who was named assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development, and NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos, who was named assistant treasurer.
WA senator Michaelia Cash was promoted to assistant minister for immigration and border protection and minister assisting the prime minister on women, while Nationals NSW senator Fiona Nash was promoted to assistant minister for health.
But Bob Baldwin, who had been regional development and tourism spokesman, senator Brett Mason, former universities and research spokesman, and senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, former ageing and mental spokeswoman, were dropped to parliamentary secretaries.
Meanwhile, Steven Ciobo, Paul Fletcher, Josh Frydenberg, Alan Tudge and Michael McCormack were promoted from the backbench to parliamentary secretary positions.
Scott Morrison was made minister for immigration and border protection, while north Queensland MP Warren Entsch was appointed to chair a parliamentary committee to drive the government’s northern Australia plan.
Greg Hunt was named environment minister and handed responsibility for abolishing the carbon tax, implementing direct action, establishing the Green Army and creating a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals.
—– FIRST ABBOTT MINISTRY —– CABINET, September 16, 2013
* Prime Minister Tony Abbott * Deputy Prime Minister * Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development (Leader of the Nationals) Warren Truss * Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party) Julie Bishop * Minister for Employment * Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service (Leader of the Government in the Senate) Eric Abetz * Attorney-General * Minister for the Arts (Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) George Brandis * Treasurer Joe Hockey * Minister for Agriculture (Deputy Leader of the Nationals) Barnaby Joyce * Minister for Education (Leader of the House) Christopher Pyne * Minister for Indigenous Affairs (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) Nigel Scullion * Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane * Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews * Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull * Minister for Health * Minister for Sport Peter Dutton * Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson * Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb * Minister for Defence David Johnston * Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt * Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison * Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann
OUTER MINISTRY
* Assistant Minister for Social Services (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Mitch Fifield * Assistant Minister for Employment (Deputy Leader of the House) Luke Hartsuyker * Assistant Minister for Health (Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) Fiona Nash * Minister for Veterans Affairs * Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC * Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson * Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley * Minister for Human Services Marise Payne * Minister for Justice Michael Keenan * Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert * Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection * Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women Michaelia Cash * Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs * Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES
* Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Richard Colbeck * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brett Mason * Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steven Ciobo * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services Concetta Fierravanti-Wells * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Simon Birmingham * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education Scott Ryan * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher * Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Josh Frydenberg * Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge * Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance Michael McCormack
Courtesy of The Australian

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