Australian Government reshuffle as Scott Morrison moves Porter and Reynolds

Brenda Watkins
March 30, 2021

Right, there's a lot to unpack here.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reshuffled his Cabinet on Monday as he sought to fix his standing following a series of damaging allegations about the mistreatment of female lawmakers and staff.

Michaelia Cash has been promoted to attorney-general and industrial relations minister to replace Mr Porter, who lost his job as the nation's first law officer.

'These changes will shake up what needs to be shaken up while maintaining the momentum and the continuity and the stability that Australia needs, ' Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said the changes mean the Cabinet will have the strongest ever representation of women.

The approval rating of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has fallen to a 12-month low amid allegations of misogyny and harassment in the government.

Ministers Linda Reynolds and Christian Porter have been stripped of their portfolios.

Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General Amanda Stoker would take on additional assistant ministry positions supporting women's and industrial relations' policies.

Morrison also announced a new task force led by Marise Payne, Australia's women and foreign affairs minister. Women's safety is everyone's safety, ' she said.

"Holding the prime ministerial responsibility in this area as the minister for women".

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In a separate scandal, Porter was accused of committing rape when he was a teenager - a claim that he has denied. When Nine journalist, Chris Uhlmann, told Morrison that "social media" abuse is one of the main issues facing women, ScoMo couldn't agree more.

Senator Payne said: "Bringing a gender equality lens, if you like, to the whole-of-ministry approach enables us to really focus in on those issues right across government in a way that I have never seen before".

The criminal case against Porter was dropped due to insufficient evidence and Morrison defended his attorney general, saying he's still fit to serve in office.

Now, both will remain in government but manage the less coveted portfolios of government services for Reynolds, and industry, science and technology for Porter.

He has been under pressure to resign after he revealed himself as the Minister at the centre of the rape allegation.

Filling the Home Affairs Minister role as Dutton moves to Defence will be Karen Andrews.

Reynolds is now on leave over a heart condition and was admitted to hospital in late February, a week after the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins in her office two years earlier.

- He also moved another lawmaker, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, who was criticized for her handling of an allegation of rape by a member of her staff two years ago.

Lastly, Morrison restored Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price to cabinet in her existing portfolio, making cabinet consist of seven women - Senator Cash, Senator Payne, Senator Ruston, Senator Reynolds, Ms Price, Ms Andrews and Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.

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