Abbott unveils his frontbench


Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott says his new ministry is one of the most experienced in the coalition's history and reflects some significant promotions.

Mr Abbott has announced his cabinet and outer ministry team in Canberra, nine days after the Coalition's election win over Labor.

"It is, I believe, one of the most experienced incoming ministries in our history," said  Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott said the new government's task was to "calmly" implement the commitments it made to the Australian people during the election campaign.

"You'll see there is enormous stability in this team but there has been as well some significant promotions," he added.

Mr Abbott has announced his cabinet and outer ministry team in Canberra, nine days after the Coalition's election win over Labor.

Senator Mathias Cormann enters cabinet as Minister for Finance instead of Andrew Robb, who will become Minister for Trade and Investment.

In the outer ministry, Senator Fiona Nash will be Assistant Minister for Health and Senator Michaelia Cash will be the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection as well as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

Click here for the full list of cabinet ministers

Former Howard government immigration minister Philip Ruddock will take on the job of chief government whip.

Mr Abbott said there was no one better to guide the class of 2013, which will include some 30 new coalition members.

"I can think of no better person to act as tutor-in-chief to our new members than Philip Ruddock - the father of the house - a man of unrivalled experience, knowledge, insight, judgment and character," he said.

There is no Science Minister in Tony Abbott's new ministry.

Mr Abbott said he was disappointed there wasn't more women in his 19-member cabinet.

Incoming Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop will be the only woman.
The situation would have been different if Mrs Mirabella been ahead on votes in Indi, Mr Abbott said.
"Plainly, I am disappointed that there are not at least two women in the cabinet," he said.

"Nevertheless there are some very good and talented women knocking on the door of the cabinet and there are lots of good and talented women knocking on the door of the ministry.

"You can expect to see as time goes by more women in both the cabinet and the ministry."

One of tasks he hoped Mr Robb would complete in the trade and investment portfolio was to finish up Australia's negotiations on trade agreements.

"There was a disappointing lack of progress under the former government," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott, whose cabinet will be sworn in on Wednesday, also said there was no cloud over Senator Sinodinos, who did not get the Finance portfolio as had been widely expected.

"I want to absolutely scotch any suggestion that there is a cloud over Arthur Sinodinos. There is not," he said.

"I would not be appointing him to the incoming ministry if I thought there was a cloud over him.

Senator Sinodinos was a man of distinction and integrity who would make an outstanding contribution, Mr Abbott said.

Usually allocated to the outer ministry, Minister for Sport Peter Dutton will be sitting on the frontbench in the Abbott government.

"It's good that sport is represented by a cabinet level minister just as a I think it's good that arts are," Mr Abbott said while announcing his ministry in Parliament House on Monday.

When asked if he was looking to make more changes to the law following match-fixing concerns in soccer and AFL, Mr Abbott said he would ask Mr Dutton to seek an urgent briefing into the matter.

"Sport should be clean and fair. But in the end, the prime responsibility for sport has got to be with sports administrators," Mr Abbott said.

"I really don't think that the prime minister of the day should be trying to micro-manage sport and the conduct of sporting codes."

Mr Abbott also flagged he would be making announcements about departmental secretaries later in the week.

"There will be some changes," he said.

Related: Indigenous Affairs a single portfolio under Abbott ministry


Liberal Senator Sue Boyce says she is shocked and embarrassed there is only one female cabinet minister in the incoming Abbott government.

Senator Boyce, who is retiring from parliament when her term in the Senate expires next July, said the lack of women in cabinet should be a wake up call for the Liberal Party.

"It's a systemic problem for our party," Senator Boyce said in a statement.

"It's a shame that this shocking and embarrassing statistic will permanently tarnish a wonderful victory."

Senator Boyce urged the party to reform preselection processes in order to foster the depth of talent to ensure both women and men take on senior roles.

She also had a crack at the coalition's preselection process in her home state of Queensland where only six out of 30 candidates were women.

Meanwhile, interim Labor leader Chris Bowen says whole sections of Australian society and industries have been left unrepresented by the first Abbott Cabinet.

Mr Bowen says for example, there is no cabinet minister with specific responsibility for the important resources industry.

And he says the Abbott Cabinet represents a sad day for political representation of Australian women.

"All cabinet ministers and all ministers should always be appointed on merit. The fact that the new Prime Minister could only find - out of his entire party room - one female member of parliament that he regards as meritorious enough to serve in his cabinet is a sad indictment. The cabinet of Afghanistan now has more females in it than the cabinet of Australia."

“The Academy is surprised and disappointed that Prime Minister Abbott has not announced a minister for science," says Professor Les Field, Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science.

"We hope that he might make such an announcement within the next few days. Science reaches into so many areas of our lives and is so important to informing and shaping the world in which we live and work – it is integral to health, industry, food and water security, transport, defence, IT and much more. A scientifically literate society is a society which is equipped to hold informed debate and make intelligent decisions about big issues that affect us all.
"We would be heartened to hear that Ian Macfarlane has charge of a broader science portfolio, not just the CSIRO. Mr Macfarlane has long been interested in and engaged with science."

Tony Abbott's first Ministry by SBS_News

Meanwhile, Labor's national executive will meet to determine whether debates between Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese over the leadership would be just for party members or open to the public.

Senior Labor figures have dismissed speculation that the eventual leader's authority could be undermined by the new ballot process that gives equal say to caucus and rank-and-file members.

Liberal Party stalwart Bronwyn Bishop has accepted the role of Speaker despite saying earlier this year she didn't want the position.

Source AAP

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