PM puts friends in high places as ministry announced
PM puts friends in high places as ministry announced

Friends in high places as ministry announced

SCOTT Morrison has rewarded allies including Queenslander Stuart Robert with Cabinet positions as he stamps his authority on his newly elected government.

A record seven women have taken on Cabinet roles in the 22-member inner sanctum of the Prime Minister's team.

But trouble-plagued former Environment Minister Melissa Price has been demoted to the outer ministry in the Defence Industry portfolio.

In a historic move, Mr Morrison has appointed Ken Wyatt as indigenous Australians Minister, becoming the first Aboriginal person elevated to the Cabinet role.

Two spots were freed up in Cabinet - and room created for two new senators - after Arthur Sinodinos quit to replace Joe Hockey as ambassador to the United States, with Mitch Fifield to become ambassador to the United Nations.

Sussan Ley takes on a Cabinet role as Environment Minister in a sign of redemption after she was demoted by Malcolm Turnbull over an ­expenses scandal.

Christian Porter was given the key tactical role as Leader of the House and becomes Industrial Relations Minister while keeping his position as Attorney-General.

New Cabinet ministers include Alan Tudge, who keeps the Cities and Population portfolio, and Anne Ruston, who becomes Families and Social Services Minister.

Flagging a new push to improve services, Mr Morrison vowed to set up a new agency, Services Australia, and handed Mr Robert responsibility.

"That's what we want government to be for Australians - we want it to be much easier," Mr Morrison said.

"It's also about driving the better use of information technology that can assist Australians getting access to services they need."

Mr Robert will also take on a new Cabinet role as Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, putting him in charge of fixing problems that have led to an underspend.

Other supporters, including Alex Hawke and Ben Morton, were also rewarded with new roles. Mr Morton, who played a key role in the election and was singled out for praise, will become Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister.

Michael Sukkar has been promoted to Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing, giving him a role realising the Coalition's pledge to make it easier for first-home buyers to get a loan. Jane Hume becomes Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Finance. Richard Colbeck, who returns to the Senate, will become Aged Care, Youth and Sport Minister.

In changes to Nationals ministers, allocated by party leader Michael McCormack, Queenslander David Littleproud loses agriculture, but keeps responsibility for water resources as well as new emergencies and drought roles.

Mr McCormack's deputy Bridget McKenzie takes over agriculture, but loses sport, and Mark Coulton replaces her as Regional Services and Local Government Minister.

Marise Payne will remain Foreign Affairs Minister and also become Minister for Women, while Linda Reynolds will be Defence Minister.

Returning ministers Josh Frydenberg (Treasurer) Mathias Cormann (Finance), Peter Dutton (Home Affairs), Dan Tehan (Education) and Michaelia Cash (Employment) all kept their portfolios.

Angus Taylor will add responsibility for emissions reduction with his existing role as Energy Minister, while Greg Hunt will add a role assisting on the public service on top of his health portfolio.

Paul Fletcher will become Communications Minister, putting him in charge of the remaining rollout of the National Broadband Network.

In other new environmental roles, Brisbane MP Trevor Evans becomes Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Cairns-based MP Warren Entsch will be envoy for the Great Barrier Reef.