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Turnbull Announces New Ministry

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced his new ministry, following the 2016 federal election.

The Second Turnbull Government will be sworn in at Government House tomorrow morning at 9.00am.

There are 42 members of the executive. The Cabinet has been increased to 23 members, the largest number since the Whitlam governments (1972-75), when all ministers were in the Cabinet and there was no outer ministry. The Outer Ministry has shrunk to 7 members and there are 12 Assistant Ministers, previously known as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Most major portfolios in the Cabinet are unchanged. Scott Morrisonremains Treasurer, whilst Julie Bishop continues in Foreign Affairs and Peter Dutton stays in Immigration and Border Protection.

Christopher Pyne has been moved from Education into a newly-created portfolio of Defence Industry, in which he will oversee the South Australian submarine building program. Senator Simon Birmingham becomes Minister for Education and Training.

Kelly O’Dwyer’s position as Assistant Treasurer has been re-named Revenue and Financial Services. Her previous responsibility for Small Business has gone to Michael McCormack.

Greg Hunt becomes Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, whilst Josh Frydenberg takes over Environment and Energy. [Read more…]


Governor-General Acts On Prime Minister Turnbull’s Advice; Caretaker Period Ends

Government House has released correspondence between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove which brings the election’s caretaker period to an end.

The documents show that Turnbull wrote to the Governor-General the day after the election to advise him the outcome was uncertain and that he would continue in a caretaker capacity until the results were clear. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

Yesterday, Turnbull again wrote to Cosgrove to advise him that the government was now in a position to command majority support in the House of Representatives, either in its own right or with the support of crossbenchers, and that the Opposition Leader had conceded defeat. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

The effect of this is to remove the restrictions on the government’s ability to make policy decisions, appointments and other significant political decisions. The period of caretaker government has ended.

Some commentators assert that there is a role for the Governor-General in determining who is commissioned to form a government. The letters show that these decisions continue to be made by the elected representatives and the Governor-General acts on the advice of his prime minister. Even in the event of a hung parliament, as the events of 2010 demonstrated, the Governor-General does not act unilaterally, but on the advice of his or her chief adviser. [Read more…]


Government House Releases Double Dissolution Documents

Government House has released the documents related to today’s announcement of a double dissolution election on July 2.

The documents include the formal advice tendered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Cosgrove’s written assent to the advice.

A statement from the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, has also been released. It sets out the legal position of the legislation twice rejected by the Senate and demonstrates how Section 57 of the Constitution has been satisfied.

The documents also show the hand-written annotations of the Governor-General. [Read more…]


Caretaker Conventions During The Federal Election

With the 2016 double dissolution federal election expected to be formally called tomorrow, the Turnbull government will soon go into caretaker mode.

The caretaker period usually begins when the Parliament is dissolved. This could take place as early as Monday, but must take place by close of business on Wednesday in order to satisfy the constitutional requirements of Section 57.

The caretaker conventions are based on the idea that the executive government can no longer he held to account by the Parliament. Therefore, during the election period, the government makes no major policy decisions or appointments and doesn’t enter into contracts, agreements or arrangements that would bind a future government. Any significant decisions that have to be made require consultation with the Opposition. [Read more…]


Minor Changes To Opposition Shadow Ministry; Dodson Promoted To Executive In First Week As A Senator

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has made a number of changes to his Shadow Ministry, including the promotion of just-appointed Senator Patrick Dodson

The changes are as a result of the parliamentary retirement of Gary Gray, (Brand-WA), who held the posts of Shadow Minister for Resources and Shadow Minister for Northern Australia.

The Resources portfolio goes to Jason Clare, (Blaxland-NSW). He will be assisted by new Shadow Assistant Minister for Resources, Jim Chalmers, (Rankin-Qld).

Shayne Neumann, (Blair-Qld), becomes Shadow Minister for Northern Australia.

The new Shadow Minister for Regional Communications will be Stephen Jones, (Throsby-NSW).

Senator Dodson (WA) becomes Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader. He took up his Senate seat three days ago. [Read more…]


The Ages Of The Shorten ALP Shadow Ministry

This is a breakdown of the Shorten ALP Shadow Ministry based on age.

For comparative purposes, see the statistics on The Ages of The Turnbull Government Ministers.

Whereas Turnbull is currently the only member of the executive over the age of 60, the ALP has 8 such members, including 2 in the Shadow Cabinet: Jenny Macklin and Senator Kim Carr. In most respects, however, the age breakdown is fairly similar between the ALP and the Coalition.

The oldest member of the Shorten team is Warren Snowdon, 66, who first entered Parliament in 1987. The youngest is Senator Sam Dastyari, 32, who filled a casual vacancy in 2013.

The average age of the Shorten team is 50.2, compared to 48.7 for the government. Turnbull’s Cabinet has an average age of 49.4, compared to Shorten’s 50.0.

Shorten ALP Opposition – Ages of Shadow Ministers – Summary
Group 60-69 50-59 40-49 30-39 Total Average Age
CABINET
2
7
11
1
21
50.0
OUTER MINISTRY
2
2
3
2
9
48.4
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES
4
6
4
2
16
51.4
TOTALS
8
15
18
5
46
50.2

[Read more…]


The Ages Of The Turnbull Government Ministers

A passing comment on today’s Insiders program about Malcolm Turnbull being the only member of the Federal Cabinet over the age of 60 led to the tables on this page.

Turnbull Government – Ages of Ministers – Summary
Group 60-69 50-59 40-49 30-39 18-30 Total Average Age
CABINET
1
8
12
1
22
49.4
OUTER MINISTRY
3
4
1
8
47.3
ASSISTANT MINISTERS
2
4
4
1
1
12
48.4
TOTALS
3
15
20
3
1
42
48.7

Turnbull is the only member of the executive over 60 in what we traditionally called the ministry, but only if you don’t count the Parliamentary Secretaries, the people now called Assistant Ministers. Two of them – Ken Wyatt and Jane Prentice – are over 60.

Turnbull is the only member of Cabinet or the Outer Ministry over 60, but only since Andrew Robb and Warren Truss retired earlier this year. Ian Macfarlane was also over 60 but he left the government last year (with a little help from Turnbull).

Of the 22 members of Cabinet, 13 are under the age of 50. At 39, Kelly O’Dwyer is the youngest Cabinet minister, whilst Senator Matt Canavan, at 35, is the youngest member of the outer ministry. Two of the twelve Assistant Ministers are under 40, with Wyatt Roy the youngest member of the entire executive, at 25.

Two of Turnbull’s Cabinet ministers will soon turn 60. Senator Nigel Scullion gets there on May 4. Provided the government survives the expected double dissolution on July 2, Julie Bishop will still be a Cabinet minister when she turns 60 on July 17. Senator Arthur Sinodinos and Senator George Brandis will turn 60 in 2017.

The overall average age of Turnbull’s 42-member executive is 48.7. The average age of the 22 members of Cabinet is 49.4. The Outer Ministry of 8 averages 47.3, whilst the 12 Assistant Ministers average 48.4. Wyatt Roy pulls the average of the Assistant Ministers down a bit but it’s interesting that there aren’t more of them from the ranks of the 30-somethings, given that the position is seen as a training ground. [Read more…]


Senator Arthur Sinodinos Denies Wrongdoing Or Illegality

Senator Arthur Sinodinos has issued a statement denying that he has broken the law in relation to the NSW Electoral Commission’s decision to withhold public funding to the Liberal Party because of undisclosed donors.

Sinodinos is Cabinet Secretary in the Turnbull government and a key backer of the Prime Minister. He says the Electoral Commission did not accuse him of setting up a slush fund or breaking the law. “I have never been accused of corruption. I deny any wrongdoing or illegality.”

The statement from Sinodinos is shown below.

Statement from Senator Arthur Sinodinos (Liberal-NSW).

Statement – NSW Electoral Commission

SinodinosIt is for the NSW Division of the Liberal Party to deal with the NSW Electoral Commission’s decision to withhold funding.

Despite what Labor says, the NSW Electoral Commission decision does not accuse me of setting up a slush fund or breaking the law. I have never been accused of corruption. I deny any wrongdoing or illegality.

Regrettably, parts of the Electoral Commission’s Summary of Facts used loose language which could convey erroneous impressions. [Read more…]


Administrative Arrangements Order – Amendments

Following the reshuffle of the Turnbull ministry, amendments to the Administrative Arrangements Order have been announced.

Responsibility for Population policy moves from the Department of the Environment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In the aftermath of Jamies Briggs’s resignation, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet also takes over National policy on cities.

The Administrative Order is shown below, as is the original order from September 30, 2015. [Read more…]


Turnbull’s New Ministers Sworn In; Joyce Now Deputy PM

The reshuffled Turnbull ministry was sworn in this morning.

Ministry

A number of existing ministers assumed new portfolios, whilst a batch of new ministers and parliamentary secretaries took the oath as Executive Councillors for the first time.

Barnaby Joyce, the new leader of The Nationals, is now Deputy Prime Minister. [Read more…]