Allies of Scott Morrison have been dumped from the shadow cabinet, and senior conservatives promoted in a reshuffle stamping Peter Dutton’s mark on the Liberal party.
Dutton and the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, announced the shadow ministry in Brisbane on Sunday, revealing it will include ten women, with six Nationals in the cabinet.
Conservative Angus Taylor will become shadow treasurer and Andrew Hastie shadow defense minister in the Coalition opposition frontbench.
Two key Morrison allies were demoted. The former immigration minister Alex Hawke was dumped from the ministry entirely, while Stuart Robert will become assistant treasurer to Taylor, but outside the shadow cabinet. Other former ministers to lose out included Linda Reynolds, Melissa Price, and Keith Pitt.
Dutton suggested the lineup included “fresh faces” to “bring people through for an opportunity”, revealing that Sarah Henderson had been promoted to shadow communications minister and Julian Leeser to shadow attorney general and Indigenous affairs, minister. Leeser supports an Indigenous Voice “with a basis in the constitution”.
Despite the emphasis on renewal, both former Nationals leaders were given roles, with Barnaby Joyce as shadow veterans’ affairs minister in the cabinet and Michael McCormack as shadow minister for international development and the Pacific in the outer ministry.
Alan Tudge, who remained in the cabinet despite standing aside in December, will also stay as shadow education minister. Dutton said he was “incredibly experienced” and had “worked in the parliament in an exemplary way”.
The Liberal deputy leader, Sussan Ley, will take on industry portfolios, skills, training, and women.
Dutton revealed that Marise Payne, the senior moderate in New South Wales, had originally asked “not to be considered for the shadow cabinet” but had agreed to take the role of cabinet secretary.
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Other senior moderates in new roles include Simon Birmingham, who takes foreign affairs, and Paul Fletcher, the shadow minister for science, the digital economy, and government services.
The other Liberal women in the cabinet are Jane Hume (finance), Michaelia Cash (employment and workplace relations), Anne Ruston (health and aged care), and Karen Andrews (home affairs).
National women were promoted, with the deputy leader, Perin Davey, becoming shadow minister for water and emergency management; Senate leader, Bridget McKenzie, taking on infrastructure, transport, and regional development; and Susan McDonald becoming responsible for resources and northern Australia.
Littleproud keeps the shadow agriculture ministry and boasted that trade and tourism had returned to the Nationals, with Kevin Hogan responsible for those portfolios.
Michael Sukkar will become shadow minister for social services in a mega-portfolio and be responsible for housing, homelessness, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Dan Tehan will be the shadow minister for immigration and citizenship, with Jason Wood to serve outside cabinet as the shadow minister for “community safety, migrant services, and multicultural affairs”.
Ted O’Brien, who was first elected in 2016 and has never served in the ministry, will become the shadow climate change and energy minister. Jonathon Duniam will be responsible for the environment, fisheries, and forestry.
Asked if the new frontbench was designed to win back voters on the left or right side of politics, Dutton said he aimed to appeal “to all of them”.
“I think that there will be a lot of people with buyer’s remorse by the end of the period,” he said, echoing comments in recent days that the Coalition should aim to retake government in three years.
“We have a very experienced team. I want to thank all those who have served in the cabinet and the ministry; otherwise, I won’t continue in those roles.
“But we’ve tried to get a balance here. And the balance is not just across jurisdictions, not just in terms of gender, but experience, and I’m very proud of the team we’ve put together.”
Littleproud said the National party frontbench changes were “about renewal and generational change” and reflected that the junior Coalition partner now represents about a quarter of the combined party room.
“It’s about making sure we draw on those that have the experience to bring the harmony and peace within our party room and bring the next generation through.”