Tony Abbott unveils new ministry: Mathias Cormann promoted, Julie Bishop sole woman in Cabinet


Updated 8 minutes ago

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has unveiled his new ministry, saying it is one of the most experienced incoming ministries in Australian history.

In a major endorsement, West Australian Senator Mathias Cormann was promoted into Cabinet as Finance Minister.

Arthur Sinodinos, who had been tipped to take the finance portfolio, was instead promoted into the junior ministry.

Andrew Robb, who was the Coalition’s spokesman for finance in opposition, was named as Trade Minister.

Traditionally the trade portfolio is awarded to the Nationals when the Coalition is in government, but incoming Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss will instead be responsible for infrastructure and regional development.

Julie Bishop, as Foreign Affairs Minister, is the only woman in the Cabinet but Mr Abbott has promoted a number of women to the outer ministry.

Mr Abbott said he was “disappointed that there are not at least two women in the Cabinet”.

“Nevertheless, there are some very good and talented women knocking on the door of the Cabinet and there are lots of good and talented women knocking on the door of the ministry,” he said.

“So I think you can expect to see, as time goes by, more women in both the Cabinet and the ministry.”

Barnaby Joyce, who on Friday was elected as deputy Nationals leader, will take the portfolio of agriculture.

It is understood the new ministry could be sworn in as early as tomorrow.

Mirabella, Gambaro, Macdonald no longer on frontbench

Mr Abbott has had to replace Sophie Mirabella, who ruled herself out of contention for a portfolio as she battled to retain her Victorian seat of Indi.

This morning, independent Cathy McGowan was ahead of Ms Mirabella by 515 votes with 91.9 per cent counted.

Those demoted from their roles in opposition include Senator Ian Macdonald and Brisbane MP Teresa Gambaro.

Ms Gambaro said in a statement she was “honoured” to have served as a shadow parliamentary secretary and was looking forward to representing her electorate in the parliament.

But Senator Macdonald was not impressed, saying “what should have been one of the proudest days of my life has turned into one of the worst” following his phone call from Mr Abbott.


Other positions include Joe Hockey as treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull as communications minister, Peter Dutton as health minister, Christopher Pyne as education minister, Scott Morrison as minister for immigration and border protection, and Greg Hunt as environment minister.

Mr Abbott has also nominated Liberal Party stalwart Bronwyn Bishop to become Speaker of the new parliament.

He says Philip Ruddock, who holds the title of father of the house as the oldest member, will be chief government whip.

“I can think of no better person to act as tutor-in-chief to our new members than Philip Ruddock, the father of the house, a man of unrivalled experience, knowledge, insight, judgment and character,” he said.

Abbott attempting to avoid ‘grandiose’ titles

When announcing his new ministry, Mr Abbott said he wanted to avoid “title inflation”.

“You may notice that one of the things that I have attempted to do with this new ministry is avoid the proliferation of titles, the sometimes grandiose titles of the former government where it sometimes seemed that ministers needed an extra large business card to contain all of their various titles,” he said.

“Thankfully I think we’ve got some title deflation as a result of this ministry.

“I am trying to avoid a situation where unless something is specifically mentioned in someone’s title it is unimportant.

“There are some things that are so important that in a sense every minister should be concerned about them.”

Labor criticises removed portfolios, lack of women


Acting Labor leader Chris Bowen says Mr Abbott has left out the portfolios of disability care, tourism and resources.

He also says Mr Abbott’s taken Australia backwards by including only one woman in Cabinet.

“The fact that the new Prime Minister could only find, out of his entire party room, one female member of parliament that he regards as being meritorious enough to serve in his Cabinet is a sad indictment,” he said.

“The cabinet of Afghanistan now has more women in it than the Cabinet of Australia.”

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