Canberra: Aus PM reshuffles cabinet and announces women’s task force. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced a cabinet reshuffle after a series of scandals that have dented his approval ratings.
Morrison has been facing increasing pressure over his handling of a slew of incidents that have sparked debate about harassment and sexual discrimination, reports DPA news agency.
He also announced the creation of a women’s taskforce headed up by Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne alongside the reshuffle, which saw two Ministers linked to recent scandals demoted to lower-level cabinet roles.
Peter Dutton will become Defence Minister and Michaelia Cash will be the new Attorney General, replacing Linda Reynolds and Christian Porter, respectively.
Questions had arisen over Porter’s suitability to carry out his duties as Attorney General after he launched defamation action against the Australian broadcaster ABC in response to a story about a historic rape alleged to have taken place in 1988.
Aus PM reshuffles cabinet and announces women’s task force. He wasn’t named but came forward to strongly deny the allegation and went on mental health leave afterwards.
He will become Industry, Science and Technology Minister when he returns.
Reynolds recently came under fire for calling Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal Party staffer who alleges she was raped by a male colleague at Parliament House in 2019, a “lying cow”.
Reynolds said the comments did not relate to the truthfulness of the allegations but to suggestions, she had not offered enough support to Higgins at the time.
She has since agreed on a defamation settlement with Higgins.
Reynolds is on health leave but will take on a government services role on her return.
A poll published by The Australian newspaper on Monday showed Morrison’s approval rating had dropped from 62 per cent satisfaction to 55 per cent in two weeks.
The newspaper reported it was the first time in a year his approval ratings have not been in the 60s.
An independent review into parliament’s workplace culture was triggered by Higgins’ allegation, and thousands of Australians took to the streets in a march against violence and sexual harassment of women earlier this month.
Morrison faced a backlash after he said it was a “triumph” that protesters were not “met with bullets”, which was interpreted by some as a veiled threat.
During the weekend, Morrison ordered lawmaker Andrew Laming to take empathy training after he was accused of bullying two female constituents online in a report from Nine News.
A third woman later said he took a photo of her from behind while she was bending down.