Cabinet reshuffle: Cash named attorney-general, Dutton takes defence

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday March 29, 2021

The APS workforce is growing bigger
The APS workforce is growing bigger. (Image Adobe/max blain)

Karen Andrews has been named home affairs minister, Michaelia Cash has been appointed attorney-general, and Peter Dutton has taken defence under a cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday.

Morrison said the changes — which have come following growing speculation that Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds would lose their respective portfolios of attorney-general and defence — would “shake up what needs to be shaken up”.

A new cabinet taskforce will be establish to drive the government’s agenda on women’s equality, safety, economic security and wellbeing, and will comprise all female members of the ministry. The taskforce will be co-chaired by Morrison and foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.

The new cabinet includes:

  • Michaelia Cash — attorney-general, industrial relations,
  • Anne Ruston — women’s safety in cabinet, families and social services,
  • Karen Andrews — home affairs,
  • Linda Reynolds — government services and National Disability Insurance Scheme,
  • Melissa Price — defence industry,
  • Marise Payne — foreign affairs, women,
  • Peter Dutton — defence, leader of the government in the house,
  • Stuart Robert — employment, workforce, skills, small and family business,
  • Christian Porter — industry, science, technology.

Under the changes, Jane Hume will take on women’s economic security, superannuation, financial services and the digital economy, while Amanda Stoker will pick up assistant minister to IR and assistant minister for women.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, health minister Greg Hunt, and finance minister Simon Birmingham are among the ministers who have not been impacted by the changes.

The reshuffle has been sparked by growing pressure on the Morrison government to take action following a string of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct allegations.

READ MORE: Will Defence and Home Affairs bureaucrats be honest when briefing their new ministers?

Over the past six weeks, former ministerial staffer Brittany Higgins has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a colleague in Reynolds’ office in 2019, Porter has been accused of raping a woman in 1988, allegations that male coalition employees recorded themselves performing sex acts inside Parliament House have emerged, and Liberal MP Andrew Laming has been accused of harassing women.

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