Scott Morrison Chooses his Future
Scott Morrison has chosen his new ministry and it is an attempt to heal divisions in the party at the expense of political superiority.
Some of the ministerial choices are excellent, based on their areas of comparative advantage and others are from a functional perspective but achieve their position because of political clout.
Marise Payne is a good choice to replace Julie Bishop as Foreign Minister.
She has an extensive background in foreign policy having worked in this space since 1991.
She has had plenty of international experience and is unlikely to put her metaphorical thumb in the soup.
Moreover she has the respect of the foreign policy and defence policy community.
The same cannot be said of Christopher Pyne is more a political appointment.
Inside Canberra was in the presence of a number of senior defence officials and industry representatives when the consensus was that David Fawcett should be Defence Industry Minister and that Malcolm Turnbull had chosen the wrong South Australian (Christopher Pyne) for the job.
Tony Abbott will regard the appointment of Pyne to the Defence portfolio as an insult.
Scott Morrison has offered Abbott the role as an envoy on indigenous affairs.
The former Prime Minister is considering the offer but says he will only take it if it is a role of substance.
The choice of Angus Taylor as Energy Minister is a good one.
Mr Taylor has a ready-made answer to the energy crisis which will instantly reduce electricity prices.
Not only that but he has the capacity to argue it in the face of vested interests.
Melissa Price, a rusted on Turnbull supporter, is an untested environmental spokesperson who is likely to come under heavy pressure from the GetUp clique in her home state of Western Australia.
The senior woman in the cabinet is now the Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, who is responsible for Regional Services, Sports, Local Government and Decentralisation.
Senator McKenzie has four ministers as part of her portfolio responsibilities: Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge; Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Sussan Ley; Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Broad; and Minister for Roads and Transport, Scott Bucholz.
This should be a portfolio that works well.
All the parliamentarians involved are highly professional and have good grass roots networks within regional communities. They will sandbag regional seats.
Stuart Robert becomes Assistant Treasurer. Mr Robert was a key numbers man for Scott Morrison in the leadership contest.
He is under a cloud of allegations that a company, of which his parents are directors, has entered into multiple contracts to supply IT services to the Commonwealth government.
The promotion Of Kelly O’Dwyer into the Industrial Relations portfolio and Michaelia Cash into Craig Laundy’s old portfolio of Small Business, Skills and Vocational Education is probably a good move.
Both women are experienced in industrial relations and are very good industrial lawyers.
On the other hand the movement of Steve Ciobo out of the Trade portfolio to Defence Industry while handing Trade to Simon Birmingham.
Australia has to settle a range of major trade negotiations over the next few years. Birmingham has no background in trade and his job will be seen as a payoff.
It is likely that the Morrison government will be seen as a collection of plodders.
Without a strong alternative economic agenda they will lose the next election and, unless they can dominate Labor, the loss will be catastrophic.
Apart from Mathias Cormann and Tony Abbott the Liberals have nobody who could dominate the opposition.
Julie Bishop Quits Amid Universal Eulogies
Julie Bishop has quit cabinet after she failed to gain any Western Australian votes in the leadership ballot.
She secured eleven votes overall after a campaign was run against her on WhatsApp that alleged that a vote for her would be a vote for the Dutton - Abbott forces.
She has not yet decided whether she will run for Parliament at the next election.
“I will remain on the backbench as a strong voice for Western Australia.
I have been preselected by the Liberal Party for the seat of Curtin and I have made no decision regarding the next election,” she said when announcing her decision.
Malcolm Turnbull described his long-time friend as “Australia’s finest foreign affairs minister.”
“I thank Julie for her loyalty and friendship over many years but especially as my deputy,” Turnbull said.
“She has been and remains an inspiring role model for women here and around the world.”
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, has extended good wishes to Bishop, saying she played a “trailblazing role” as the first Australian woman to be Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“For five years she has dedicated her life to our nation with a tireless work ethic and exhausting travel schedule,” Wong said.
“While Labor has at times been critical of the foreign policy directions under Prime Ministers Abbott and Turnbull, Ms Bishop’s commitment to standing up for Australia both here and abroad has never been in question.
“In particular I have deeply appreciated her commitment to bipartisanship, and her personal courtesy to me.”
The issue of what Julie Bishop does next is an academic question.
She is highly regarded around the world and will no doubt receive many offers of international fellowships and board positions.
She is likely to have a long and illustrious future in the public eye.