If the breaker moves dramatically, a cabinet reshuffle is expected to drop contested Ministers Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds and promote two Queenslanders while Scott Morrison tries to reset the agenda.
The speculation was rife last night. There will be an upcoming, tightly focused mix with the Morrison administration desperately trying to clear the budget season.
Queenslanders Peter Dutton and Stuart Robert were expected to be promoted to Defense and Home Affairs respectively after narrowly missing out on the December reshuffle moves.
There is also speculation that Michaelia Cash might take on the role of attorney general after Mr Porter went on a mental health vacation.
Senator Reynolds was on leave after receiving advice from her cardiologist late last month that she could take on lighter duties or step aside entirely.
For six weeks, the government has been fighting to tackle the backlash from handling Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations, the historic rape allegations against Porter, and broader parliamentary culture issues.
MPs, including from Queensland, have reported older colleagues taking the heat off voters because of the ongoing problems and the way they have been handled.
But talks among Coalition MPs got off to a violent start Wednesday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to throw support behind the Attorney General when opposition leader Anthony Albanese asked whether Mr Porter would be « transferred to a part-time minister » or dropped entirely.
Mr Morrison said he was seeking advice from the Attorney General on whether Mr. Porter had met ministerial standards and could continue his role as Attorney General with a conflict of interest due to his defamation case.
There had been talks in the coalition that Mr Dutton could be added to the defense portfolio as early as July last year, when Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced his resignation.
Mr. Robert, a former officer in the Australian Army Intelligence Corps, is a close ally of Mr. Morrison and should replace Mr. Dutton indoors if he were transferred to the defense.
Mr Porter has been on mental health vacation since he was ministerial at the center of historical rape allegations, which he has strongly denied.
He had said he intended to return to the role on his return from vacation and said if he stepped aside, « there is no longer the rule of law to be protected » and the Prime Minister supported him at the time.
Mr Morrison has rejected proposals to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations against Mr Porter, which the police cannot pursue because the applicant died last year, and stated that he did not support a « mob trial ».
But Mr. Morrison’s public support for Mr. Porter has waned as the problem has grown as an obligation on the government.
Mr Porter has taken legal action against the ABC, which voiced allegations against a senior cabinet minister without designating him.
But it has created a potential conflict of interest in his duties as attorney general, and since the historic rape allegations aired, he has been asked to resign.
Senator Reynolds came under fire for handling Ms. Higgins’ case when the coalition youngster made rape allegations in 2019.
Subsequent leaks showed that she called Ms. Higgins a « lying cow » in her office after the allegations were made public.
She was on an extended vacation with pre-existing heart disease and was due to return on April 2nd.
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