Greg Hunt New Health Minister; Ken Wyatt First Indigenous Minister; Turnbull Minimises Changes Following Ley’s Resignation

Greg Hunt will become the new Health minister and Arthur Sinodinos takes over Industry, Innovation and Science, in ministerial changes announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull

Turnbull has reduced the Cabinet in size from 23 members to 22. Senator Sinodinos’ previous role as Cabinet Secretary has reverted to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Ken Wyatt, the Liberal member for Hasluck since 2010, becomes Australia’s first indigenous minister at the federal level, taking over Aged Care and Indigenous Health.

Michael Sukkar, the Liberal member for Deakin since 2013, becomes a parliamentary secretary and takes on the role of Assistant Minister to the Treasurer.

The changes were caused by the resignation last week of Sussan Ley.

The full ministry is listed below.

Media statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Ministerial Arrangements

Today I am announcing changes to the Ministry that I will be recommending to His Excellency the Governor General.

I am pleased to announce that Greg Hunt will become the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.

Greg has previously served as Minister for the Environment, and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. He has strong policy, analytical and communication skills developed over a long front bench career.

During his time as Environment Minister he demonstrated an ability to grapple with extremely complex policy issues, engage a diverse range of stakeholders and interest groups including State and Territory Governments.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos will take over as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. This portfolio is critical to generating the jobs of the future and Senator Sinodinos’ extensive public policy experience gives him a strong understanding of the key drivers of new sources of economic growth.

As Cabinet Secretary, Arthur restored traditional cabinet processes. That being done, he can now turn his talents to a front line portfolio and the Cabinet Secretary function can return to the Prime Minister’s Office as has been the practice of Coalition Governments.

This will reduce the size of the Cabinet by one.

The Special Minister of State, Senator Scott Ryan, will continue to support the work of the Cabinet as ‘Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet’.

There will be other changes to the outer Ministry.

Ken Wyatt, who has been the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, will become the Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health. Just as Ken was the first indigenous person to be elected to the House of Representatives and the first to be appointed to the executive, he is now the first Indigenous person appointed to a Commonwealth Ministry.

His extensive knowledge and experience as a senior public servant in Indigenous health coupled with his work as an Assistant Minister in this portfolio will make him an ideal Minister for the area.

As senior minister, Mr Hunt will of course represent the Aged Care sector in Cabinet.

Dr. David Gillespie will continue to serve in the portfolio as Assistant Minister for Health.

Michael Sukkar will be appointed Assistant Minister to the Treasurer.

These changes will further strengthen my Ministry by combining experience and new talent. It’s a team that’s focused on delivering for all Australians.

The new Ministers will be sworn in by the Governor General in Canberra on Tuesday.

This is the full list of members of the revised Second Turnbull Government.

CABINET

1. Malcolm Turnbull
Prime Minister

2. Barnaby Joyce
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

3. Julie Bishop
Minister for Foreign Affairs

4. Steve Ciobo
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

5. Sen. George Brandis
Attorney-General
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Leader of the Government in the Senate

6. Scott Morrison
Treasurer

7. Kelly O’Dwyer
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services

8. Sen. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

9. Sen. Fiona Nash
Minister for Regional Development
Minister for Local Government and Territories

10. Darren Chester
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Deputy Leader of the House

11. Sen. Marise Payne
Minister for Defence

12. Christopher Pyne
Minister for Defence Industry
Leader of the House

13. Peter Dutton
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

14. Senator Arthur Sinodinos
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

15. Sen. Matt Canavan
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

16. Greg Hunt
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Minister for Sport

17. Sen. Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate

18. Sen. Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

19. Christian Porter
Minister for Human Services

20. Sen. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training

21. Josh Frydenberg
Minister for the Environment and Energy

22. Sen. Nigel Scullion
Minister for Indigenous Affairs

OUTER MINISTRY

1. Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Minister for International Development and the Pacific

2. Michael Keenan
Minister for Justice
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism

3. Michael McCormack
Minister for Small Business

4. Sen. Scott Ryan
Special Minister of State
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet

5. Paul Fletcher
Minister for Urban Infrastructure

6. Dan Tehan
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security

7. Alan Tudge
Minister for Human Services

8. Ken Wyatt
Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Indigenous Health

ASSISTANT MINISTERS / PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES

1. Sen. James McGrath
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister

2. Angus Taylor
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation

3. Sen. Anne Ruston
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

4. Luke Hartsuyker
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister

5. Keith Pitt
Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

6. Alex Hawke
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

7. Craig Laundy
Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

8. David Gillespie
Assistant Minister for Rural Health

9. Jane Prentice
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services

10. Sen. Zed Seselja
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs

11. Karen Andrews
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

12. Michael Sukkar
Assistant Minister to the Treasurer

Transcript of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s press conference.

TURNBULL: Today I am announcing changes to the Ministry that I will be recommending to His Excellency the Governor-General.

I am pleased to announce that Greg Hunt will become the Minister for Health and the Minister for Sport.

Greg has previously served as Minister for the Environment, and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

He has strong policy, analytical and communication skills developed over a very long front bench career.

During his time as the Environment Minister, he demonstrated an ability to grapple with extremely complex policy issues and engage a very diverse range of stakeholders and interest groups, including State and Territory Governments.

He is ideally suited to take on the very important, critically important front line portfolio of health and sport.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos will take over as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

This portfolio is critical to generating the jobs of the future and Senator Sinodinos’ extensive public policy experience over many, many years gives him a strong understanding of the key drivers of new sources of economic growth and how government can ensure that its policies deliver the innovation, the investment, the technology that will secure the future for our children and grandchildren.

As Cabinet Secretary, Arthur restored traditional cabinet processes. That being done, he can now turn his talents to a front line portfolio. And the Cabinet Secretary function can return to the Prime Minister’s Office as has been the practice of Coalition Governments in the past.

This will reduce the size of the Cabinet by one.

The Special Minister of State, Senator Scott Ryan, will continue to support the work of the Cabinet as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet.

There will be other changes to the outer ministry.

Ken Wyatt, who has been the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care will become the Minister for Aged Care and the Minister for Indigenous Health.

Just as Ken was the first Indigenous person to be elected to the House of Representatives and the first to be appointed to the Executive of the Commonwealth Government, he is now the first Indigenous person appointed to the Commonwealth Ministry.

His extensive knowledge and experience as a senior public servant in Indigenous health, coupled with his work as an Assistant Minister in this portfolio, makes him an ideal Minister for this area.

As senior minister in the health portfolio, Mr Hunt will represent the aged care sector in the Cabinet.

Dr David Gillespie will continue to serve in the portfolio as Assistant Minister for Health.

Michael Sukkar will be appointed as Assistant Minister to the Treasurer.

These changes will further strengthen my Ministry by combining experience and new talent. It is a team that is focused on delivering for all Australians.

The new Ministers will be sworn in by the Governor-General in Canberra on Tuesday.

JOURNALIST: Will this Ministry last the year?

TURNBULL: This is a very strong ministry. The Cabinet, as you know, and the Ministry was sworn in about six months ago. These changes are the consequence of the resignation of Sussan Ley, but this is not a large reshuffle, as you can see.

We have a very strong team and it is one that is performing outstandingly for the Australian people. I am always delighted to take the opportunity, however, to advance new talent and that is what I have done today. I do have to say that I have an extraordinary range of talent on the backbench in my party room. I have a lot of talent.

I have more ministerial talent in party room than I have places in the Ministry. That presents some challenges but, from a Prime Minister’s point of view, it is a good problem to have.

We have got a lot of talent and, of course, our team are developing that talent, working with it, honing it in a whole range of capacities as local Members, as Senators, as members and chairmen of committees and as Ministers and Assistant Ministers.

JOURNALIST: How could you justify reducing the proportion of women in your Ministry?

TURNBULL: As you know, Sussan Ley resigned from the Ministry and there has been, we have made one new appointment to the Executive overall at the level of Assistant Minister or Parliamentary Secretary but I do have a historically large number of women in my Cabinet. I, obviously, I have done that. I have appointed more women to my Cabinet than any previous Coalition leader. I am very committed to having strong representation of women in the Ministry. I have demonstrated that by my actions.

JOURNALIST: Would you consider a broader reshuffle?

TURNBULL: The answer to that, very simply, is that as I said earlier, the Cabinet was sworn in six months ago. It is performing well. Ministers are all doing their jobs very well.

Regrettably, we have had a resignation that has required me to make some changes. It has given me the opportunity to make the changes to the Cabinet Secretary function, which are appropriate but this is not a major reshuffle. It is driven by the consequence of one resignation.

We have got a very good team. They are working very, very well and it has been – the Cabinet and Ministry were sworn in only six months ago.

JOURNALIST: Do you see this as an opportunity maybe to move on some of the Ministers who may be considered to be underperforming? This would be a good opportunity to do that?

TURNBULL: I have just announced the changes I am making.

JOURNALIST: Labor has begun its attack on Senator Arthur Sinodinos, calling him ‘dodgy’. Is it problematic appointing somebody who comes with the baggage that Senator Arthur Sinodinos has?

TURNBULL: The Labor Party should look to their own performance. I make this observation about Mr Shorten. He hand-picked for the Senate, Kimberley Kitching. It was his decision. He put her in the Senate. She is one of his factional supporters in Victoria.

The Heydon Royal Commission recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions consider laying charges against her.

Mr Shorten has never, ever said what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that the concerns and the recommendation of the Royal Commission were without foundation. Unless he can say that, how can he justify appointing her? Him, his decision, appointing her to the Senate? That is the question Mr Shorten should be answering.

JOURNALIST: Will the new Health Minister be allowed to base himself in Noosa and Hayman Island at taxpayers’ expense as he has done in the past over many a year?

TURNBULL: Can I just say to you, in terms of this issue of MPs’ expenses and travel and accommodation, we have to spend every dollar of taxpayers’ money with even more care than we spend our own. We are trustees. We are fiduciaries for the taxpayers’ money. That is why I have set out the most extensive reforms to the management and the supervision of MPs’ parliamentary expenses in a generation.

We are going to implement the recommendations of the review conducted by John Conde and David Tune and we are going to establish, for the first time, an independent authority to oversee parliamentary expenses.

I came into Parliament at the ripe old age of 50 after being in business all my life. Much of that time working in businesses that belonged to me and Lucy. I didn’t come into Parliament from a long political background as a union official or a political staffer or whatever. I regard these expenses as normal business expenses and they have to be justified just in the same way as you would justify the expenses to your boss, to your employer. It is exactly the same principle.

We need to have greater transparency, greater accountability, monthly reporting is going to be very important. I am going to shake this up, I can tell you. There is a big cultural change on the way. It is underway already.

JOURNALIST: Can we take that as a no then, as Mr Hunt working from Noosa and Hayman Island as he has done in the past?

TURNBULL: Can I just say to you that ministers travel and politicians travel – it is a big country. I have been in, just this week, I have been in Toowoomba, I have been in Redcliffe and Brisbane and travel all over the country. They attend conferences, as indeed business people do. The important thing that politicians have got to bear in mind, firstly, is that their use of taxpayers’ money has to be manifestly demonstrated to be necessary for doing their job, in the same way – exactly the same principles apply as business expenses for someone working for a company or a business. And, the second thing, they have got to do, because we are public officials, we have got to demonstrate that it is seen to be so. That is very important. I can assure you, I come from a background, a business background where people have to justify the money they spend. That is what is going to happen.

JOURNALIST: On one other issue, Rex Tillerson has said China should be blocked from gaining access to islands in the South China Sea. A transition official has said that this is, he didn’t mis-speak. Does Australia agree with the idea of blocking access to the islands and would we support any measures, further American measurers to push back against China in the region?

TURNBULL: Our position on the South China Sea issue is very consistent and very clear. We urge all parties to abide by international law. We urge all parties to refrain from any actions that can create or exacerbate tensions. We urge all parties to refrain from the alteration of any features in the South China Sea and refrain from the militarisation of any features, islands and so forth in the South China Sea.

It is critically important that territorial disputes in that important part of our region are settled consensually and in accordance with international law. That is the position we have taken. It is the position ASEAN takes. It is the position that the United States’ Government has taken. It is the position that Shinzo Abe and I, the Prime Minister of Japan, reiterated on Saturday.

JOURNALIST: Is it fair to target pensioners and the disabled with these Centrelink robo-letters after all the furore that has gone on over the past fortnight over these letters and the difference between people having debt and not having debt and being unfairly given letters?

TURNBULL: You are making a series of assertions there.

Let me say, Centrelink has always sought to find explanations from recipients of Centrelink payments in circumstances where there is a discrepancy between the income reported by the recipient to Centrelink and the income reported by their employer.

What has been happening, has been done in the past, of course, and it is quite appropriate. We have, the Government has, an obligation to ensure that our very extensive and generous social welfare system is means-tested. That is a very important and an Australian feature. I might say, it is one of the reasons why income inequality is less severe in our country than it is in other countries where welfare payments are not as well targeted.

Andrew Leigh, the Labor front bencher used to write quite a bit about this when he was an academic.

The point is Centrelink has a responsibility where it identifies the discrepancy between what the recipient has reported and what the employer has reported to seek an explanation and that is what is being done. To seek an explanation. The letters that go out in the first instance are simply saying there is a discrepancy. Your employer says you earn this and you say you earned that. Can you explain what that discrepancy is? That is entirely responsible and appropriate. Obviously it is important to make sure that the recipient gets the letter and you have seen the measures that the Minister, Alan Tudge has announced.

JOURNALIST: Just on MH370, Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has said that he is disappointed that the search has been suspended. What would you say to him and to the victims’ families?

TURNBULL: We grieve with the families of the victims and we share their deep disappointment that the plane has not been found.

As you know, there has been a massive search. It has been – it is an unprecedented search. It has been conducted with the best advice over the areas that were identified as the most likely to find the location of the aeroplane.

It is a shocking tragedy and we grieve and we deeply regret the loss and we deeply regret that the plane has not been found.

But, as you know, there has been an agreement between the three countries involved, that at the conclusion of this program, the search will be suspended. But, as the Minister said this morning, if new evidence emerged that pointed to another location, then of course the three nations can consider searching there. But there has never been a search as extensive as this. It adds to the tragedy that the plane has not been found but it has been an extraordinary search over a very long period of time. We grieve with the families and the loved ones of those who were lost.

Thank you all very much.

Statement from Michael Sukkar, Liberal member for Deakin.

Appointment as Assistant Minister to the Treasurer

SukkarThe Federal Member for Deakin, Michael Sukkar MP, is honoured with his appointment as the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer in the Turnbull Government.

“I am humbled to be given the opportunity by the Prime Minister to serve as the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer and look forward to advancing the economic interests of all Australians,” Mr Sukkar said.

“I am particularly looking forward to working closely with the Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison, as well as the broader economic team of the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer (Minister for Revenue and Financial Services) and the Hon Michael McCormack (Minister for Small Business), in advancing our national economic plan.

“At a time of global economic uncertainty, it’s never been more important for us to continue implementing our national economic plan; that includes promoting investment, driving innovation, reducing the tax burden on investment and enterprise, opening up new export markets and building economic infrastructure.

“I also want to acknowledge the support I have received from the Deakin electorate. It is only due to the trust they have given to me as their elected representative that I am able to serve in this new role that serves the whole nation. Indeed, it will be the experiences I had growing up in the Deakin electorate – in a small business family – which will inform and motivate my work in this portfolio.”

Prior to entering politics, Michael was a senior tax lawyer with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ashurst Australia. He has extensive experience in corporate and international tax policy and design.

Michael Sukkar is the first Member for Deakin to be appointed to the Ministry.

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