Australian Government reshuffle as Scott Morrison moves Porter and Reynolds

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives for Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra

'Minister effectively, amongst her female colleagues, the prime minister for women, holding the prime ministerial responsibility in this area as the minister for women, ' Mr Morrison said when announcing the changes.

The new group will be led by Minister for Women Marise Payne and comprise all female ministers, along with the deputy prime minister, treasurer and finance minister.

Linda Reynolds would leave the role of defence minister and would be replaced by Peter Dutton, previously home affairs minister.

Amid the fallout of rape accusations from Brittany Higgins and historical rape accusations against Christian Porter, ScoMo also took his opportunity to throw the obvious perpetrator of systemic misogyny under the bus - social media.

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

Morrison has faced "intense pressure" after "a very bruising few weeks", the BBC's Australia correspondent Shaimaa Khalil said, describing the weeks of bombshell claims that "have really shaken his government to the core".

He will co-chair with Senator Payne, who took the apt title as "primary minister for women".

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has been returned to cabinet, which will have seven women.

Morrison also announced he was starting a new Cabinet taskforce to address issues of women's equality, safety, economic security, health and wellbeing.

Mr Morrison is allowing Mr Porter to remain in the Cabinet while pursuing a defamation action against ABC journalist Louise Milligan following an article published on 26 February which Mr Porter says made false allegations against him in relation to a person he met when he was a teenager. "We have seen that in the trolling particularly of women".

Porter - the government's top legal officer and a former state prosecutor - is accused of raping a 16-year-old fellow student in 1988, an allegation he denies.

Today's swearing-in marked Christian Porter's return to work, as he was named the new Minister for Industry and Science. Why hasn't Porter been dropped from cabinet completely?

Linda Reynolds was also in attendance via video-link, despite remaining on medical leave for another three days, after facing vast pressure over her handling of the sexual assault allegation made by her former staffer, Brittany Higgins.

Mr Porter moves from attorney-general to take on Ms Andrews' former role, while Senator Reynolds takes on government services and the NDIS.

In a wide-ranging monologue Ms Credlin - who served as former prime minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff - criticised the remark, saying she wanted 'the PM of my country to be the PM for women as much as the PM for men'.

Michael has been appointed Attorney General, Head of Industrial Relations, and Karen Andrew Head of Home Affairs, the highest contributor of women in the Morrison government.



Other news