Cabinet Secretary Dan Tehan will be at the forefront of the dispute with China after being transferred to the trading portfolio in a reshuffle from Scott Morrison said was intentionally minimalist to maintain stability and consistency in volatile times.
The reshuffle required by Mathias Cormann’s resignation last month resulted in Alan Tudge taking over Mr. Tehan’s educational portfolio.
In preparation for the release of the Royal Commission’s Final Report on Elderly Care in February, the Elderly Care Portfolio has been turned into a full cabinet role that belongs to Health Secretary Greg Hunt.
Former Elderly Care Secretary Richard Colbeck, criticized for his performance during the fatal outbreak in the Victorian Nursing Homes, remains in the Junior Ministry but has the slightly lesser duty of the Minister for Seniors Australians and Elderly Care Services.
Mr Morrison said it was more about promoting elderly care than demoting Mr Colbeck.
“This is about bringing care for the elderly into the closet. And that’s important . . . Because of the seriousness of this problem, the scale and scope of the reform program that needs to be implemented according to the report of the royal commission, ”he said.
Mr Tehan’s move, first announced by The Australian Financial Review, results in his replacing Simon Birmingham, who in turn has replaced Mr Cormann as Secretary of the Treasury.
He will take over from Mr Birmingham to facilitate a dialogue with Beijing. China has imposed a series of trade bans and tariffs on Australian exports, which the government believes – and Beijing admits – is a repayment for measures Australia has taken to maintain its sovereignty.
Mr Tehan declined to comment on his new role and Mr Morrison said the attitude towards China would remain the same under the new minister. This included transferring Beijing to the World Trade Organization for barley tariffs.
« Australia’s positions are clear and consistency and persistence on these matters are equally important, » said Morrison.
“We have made our position very clear and we will continue to seek engagement at both ministerial levels – and Dan will seek those opportunities, as I continue to do at the executive level. ”
Mr Tehan will also try to reach free trade agreements with the UK and the European Union.
Mr. Morrison said he had no concerns about Mr. Tudge’s new role after the ABC recently reported on an extramarital affair Mr. Tudge had with a senior adviser several years ago.
« The issues raised with Alan Tudge started a few years ago, » said Morrison.
« Regarding Alan Tudge’s conduct as Cabinet Secretary in my administration, I have no questions that would in any way prevent him from continuing to serve in these roles. ”
The cabinet was reduced from 23 to 22 ministers and there were only two new members of the junior ministry. Victorian Senator Jane Hume rose from Parliament to become Minister for Retirement, Financial Services and the Digital Economy.
There were only two new MPs, both promoted from the bank. Andrew Hastie will assist with the defense while Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker, a former attorney and staff member on the High Court, will assist Attorney General Christian Porter.
There have been complaints from the bank that Mr Porter, who is also a manager of government affairs and minister of labor relations, has too much on his plate.
The promotion of Senator Stoker should also give her an edge in her battle against LNP Senator and numbers man James McGrath in the race for first place on the party’s Senate ticket in the next election.
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Scott Morrison, reshuffle, Dan Tehan, Prime Minister
World News – AU – Reshuffle: Dan Tehan takes the front line of the China dispute
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