Ruston, Colbeck big winners in new ministry

20 Sep, 2015 03:19 PM
MDBA chair Neil Andrew and new Assistant Minister.for Agriculture, SA Liberal Senator Anne Ruston.
Barnaby Joyce will remain Minister for Agriculture with the inclusion of Water Resources
MDBA chair Neil Andrew and new Assistant Minister.for Agriculture, SA Liberal Senator Anne Ruston.

SOUTH Australian Senator Anne Ruston and Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck are two of the big winners out of new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first ministry.

Mr Turnbull made significant changes to the ministry in today’s announcement including replacing Kevin Andrews with Senator Marise Payne as Defence Minister while Scott Morrison replaced Joe Hockey as Treasurer.

Barnaby Joyce will remain Minister for Agriculture with the inclusion of Water Resources to his title, removed from the Environment ministry, with Senator Ruston to be his Assistant Minister.

Mr Joyce’s portfolio was boosted by the inclusion of responsibilities for Water which he held in opposition and the Murray Darling Basin Authority, when the new Coalition agreement was signed last week.

Ahead of Mr Turnbull’s new cabinet being revealed, NSW Liberal MP Bob Baldwin announced on Twitter that he would not be a member of the Executive Government, having previously been responsible for Water as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment Minister.

“I thank the Liberal Party for the opportunity to have served,” Mr Baldwin said.

As expected, National party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has retained his Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio.

But he will now be supported by NSW Nationals MP Michael McCormack who has been appointed the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Sources have said that move is aimed at trying to extend Mr Truss’s parliamentary career by reducing the volume of his travel workload.

NT Senator Nigel Scullion has been retained as Indigenous Affairs Minister while NSW Nationals Senator Fiona Nash has been made Minister for Rural Health, with WA Liberal MP Ken Wyatt elevated to the Assistant Health Minister’s role.

NSW Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker was Assistant Minister for Employment in the Abbott regime and will now be Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.

Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester will remain the Assistant Minister for Defence.

Greg Hunt will continue under Mr Turnbull as the Environment Minister and SA Liberal MP Jamie Briggs will take on a new role as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment.

Mr Turnbull said historically the federal government has had a limited engagement with cities and “yet that is where most Australians live” and the “bulk of our economic growth can be found”.

“We often overlook the fact that liveable cities, efficient productive cities, the environment of cities, are economic assets,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said the new role for Mr Briggs would be used to develop a new Australian government agenda for our cities in cooperation with States, local Governments and urban communities.

Senator Colbeck (pictured above) was the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture but under Mr Turnbull has also been elevated to be the Minister for Tourism and International Education.

Andrew Robb retains his Trade and Investment portfolio but will be boosted by Senator Colbeck’s elevation to be his Assistant Minister.

Mr Turnbull said his new ministry was one for the future and a 21st century government.

He said Christopher Pyne would be made Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, replacing senior long-serving Liberal MP Ian Macfarlane who has been overseeing the introduction of new country of origin labelling laws.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Pyne’s ministry role would drive the government's focus on investing in science, promoting science technology, engineering and mathematics, education, supporting start-ups and bringing together innovation initiatives right across government.

WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash will join the cabinet as Minister for Employment, Minister for Women, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service.

Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos has been appointed the Cabinet Secretary position that’s been reintroduced into Cabinet.

“The gold standard of good Coalition cabinet government was during the Howard government and (Senator Sinodinos) was at the centre of that as John Howard's chief of staff for over a decade.”

WA Liberal MP Christian Porter has been appointed Minister for Social Services and comes with great experience as a former Treasurer and Attorney-General for the WA State government.

Victorian Senator Mitch Fifield has replaced Mr Turnbull as Communications Minister and will have the added responsibility of being Minister for the Arts.

Josh Frydenberg has been elevated to the Turnbull Cabinet as Minister for Resources, Energy, and Northern Australia.

Mr Turnbull said Northern Australia was another key element of the government’s future agenda.

“Josh Frydenberg is a powerful advocate,” he said.

“We have a great story to tell on northern Australia.

“It is a region of immense opportunity.”

WA Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann will remain as the Minister for Finance and has also been appointed Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Mr Turnbull said he was told by Mr Hockey that he would not be seeking a place in the new ministry and it was his intention to resign from the parliament in due course.

“Joe has made a long and distinguished contribution to our nation's Government and parliament over many, many years,” he said.

Mr Turnbull was unable to find a place in his new ministry for former Small Business Minister Bruce Bilson and Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz.

Emerging rural Liberal MPs Angus Taylor of NSW and Victorian MP Dan Tehan were not promoted to the ministry under Mr Turnbull.

Sussan Ley remains Minister for Health and Sport while Mr Billson was replaced by Kelly O’Dwyer who is also Assistant Treasurer.

South Australian Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham was another big winner in the ministerial changes being elevated to Minister for Education and Training.

Senator Colbeck said he was very excited to have been given the opportunity to move into the ministry in a portfolio that has particular importance for Tasmania.

“Tasmania took out almost half of the accolades at the recent national tourism awards and we’ve recently experienced one of the best tourist seasons,” he said.

“I look forward to working with the industry here and around Australia to continue its growth.

“International education is one of this country’s largest and most important export industries, worth $18 billion in 2014/15, and the opportunity to promote this industry and play a part in its growth is one that I relish.

“Trade is a sector that is critical to growth the Australian economy and is particularly important to Tasmania.

"I look forward to working with Minister Andrew Robb in bringing into force the China Australia Free Trade Agreement and also achieving further agreements such as India.

“I look forward to seizing the opportunities presented by this new appointment as part of the ministry for the future.

“I also wish to pay tribute to my Tasmanian colleague Senator Eric Abetz, who is no longer in the ministry.

“I have never met a fiercer advocate for Tasmania and the Liberal cause and his contribution to date should be acknowledged and applauded.

“I know he will continue to strive on behalf of our great state.”

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Chick Olsson
21/09/2015 4:43:04 AM

All good.. sensible and strong leaders all.
Dugald and Fred
21/09/2015 6:16:38 AM

Congratulations to Malcolm Turnbull for creating a Ministry for Rural Health. A much portfolio which will be well managed by one of rural Australia's best Fiona Nash. Congratulations Fiona!
angry australian
21/09/2015 6:56:43 AM

I'm not sure many primary producers, especially in the fishing industry, will shed a tear that Richard Colbeck has moved on. Talk about a tin ear,heard a lot, listened to nothing except bureaucratic advice. A lot like Abbott showed so much promise in opposition went off like a wet firecracker as Parliamentary Secretary. Let's hope Anne Ruston is up to the task of LISTENING to rural Australia and doesn't get bogged down in water politics that seems to bedevil South Australians.
21/09/2015 2:09:07 PM

Clever move to give NSW Nat MP Joyce control of water but then appoint a South Australian Nat senator to make sure there is some left for the downstream users. Will be interesting to see how this evolves.


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