Australian Prime Minister announces results of reshuffle

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced the results of an earlier anticipated reshuffle of the Government cabinet.

Brendan Nelson, previously of the Education portfolio, who introduced the controversial Voluntary Student Unionism legislation late 2005, has been promoted to the Defence portfolio. Malcolm Turnbull, who had been in the media several times in 2005 regarding tax law, is now a parliamentary secretary, as is Andrew Robb.

The Treasurer Peter Costello, Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer, and Health minister Tony Abbott remain unchanged. With former Nationals senator Julian McGauran's defection to the Liberal Party, Nationals Veterans Affairs minister De-Anne Kelly has lost her place, in reflection of the new Coalition numbers, with Bruce Billson taking up the job.

The Opposition has commented on the reshuffle, with Opposition Leader Kim Beazley stating that the Cabinet consists of "old faces" from the "uninspired to the incompetent".