/ 30 March 2021

Women put on clean up duty in Morrison reshuffle

PM Scott Morrison last week left the door open to a ministerial reshuffle, and yesterday he announced a new lineup that aims to address 2 priorities. The first is to “shake up what needs to be shaken up” by shifting Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds to new portfolios. And the second is to provide what Morrison called a “fresh lens” to get better outcomes for women. It comes after a rolling maul of scandal for the Morrison Government over the treatment of women in politics and unsuccessful attempts by the PM to reset the agenda.

• First to the losers. Porter is no longer the Attorney-General and Industrial Relations minister as he shifts to Industry, Science and Technology. And Reynolds won’t return as Defence Minister but picks up Government Services and the NDIS. Both remain in Cabinet, but they have been demoted.

• Foreign Affairs and Women’s Minister Marise Payne becomes the “Prime Minister for Women” (a position we’re 99% sure doesn’t give her pay equity with Morrison…). They later sought to clarify that she’s the ‘primary’ minister in her role as co-chair with Morrison of a taskforce on women’s equality, safety, economic security, health and wellbeing.

• Seven out of the 23 ministers in the Federal Cabinet are women. And with the addition of female-focused portfolios – including Anne Ruston adding the new Cabinet-level Women’s Safety role to her Families/Social Services job – Payne says women’s policy priorities will be elevated. Next stop: the Federal Budget in May…

Well, Labor leader Anthony Albanese tweeted that “Shuffling the deck won’t change the bad hand that the Morrison Government is dealing Australians.” So the government’s critics are unlikely to let up. And yesterday, there were more developments on the toxic culture front. Yesterday, Adelaide radio host Jeremy Cordeaux was sacked for calling former staffer Brittany Higgins a “silly little girl who got drunk”. Nationals MP Dr Anne Webster revealed she’d filed a complaint with her party after she was allegedly sexually harassed in the House of Reps chamber last week. And last night, Nine reported that the woman who was the target of an inappropriate picture snapped by Brissie MP Andrew Laming has taken it up with Queensland Police. So no, that’s not that…

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