Malcolm Turnbull's leadership takeover is continuing to prove popular, with the new prime minister's personal rating soaring and the coalition outstripping Labor in the latest poll.
Tuesday 22 Sep 2015

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The latest Newspoll shows that 55 per cent of voters rate Malcolm Turnbull as the preferred prime minister.

Malcolm Turnbull's leadership takeover is continuing to prove popular, with the new prime minister's personal rating soaring and the coalition outstripping Labor in the latest poll.

Malcolm Turnbull comments after an Australian Liberal Party meeting where he has been elected at the new party leader at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Turnbull will replace Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister. (AP Photo/Andrew Taylor)

According to a Newspoll published by The Australian late on Monday, 55 per cent of voters rated Mr Turnbull as the preferred prime minister, giving him a 34-point lead over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, on 21 per cent.

Mr Turnbull's rating makes him the most popular prime minister since Julia Gillard in July 2010.

On two-party-preferred terms, the coalition led Labor 51 to 49 per cent, the first time the government has been in front for the last 30 Newspolls.

The survey follows a Galaxy poll last week that also recorded a 51-49 per cent coalition lead over Labor, and a 51 per cent vote for Mr Turnbull as preferred prime minister.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he learnt much from his failed stint as opposition leader and is now more confident, centred and respectful of the wisdom of his colleagues.

He said he wasn't great at analysing himself - he didn't find himself particularly interesting.

"I have learned to be more respectful and to recognise more than I used to," he told ABC television.

"That's why I'm committed to be extremely consultative. Because ... there are very few propositions or ideas that are not improved by engaging."

Mr Turnbull said he was at peace with himself.

"I feel that the leadership I can provide to Australia will make a difference," he said.

Mr Turnbull admitted he had been extraordinarily lucky in his life, though he still had to struggle.

"The important thing is to have the emotional intelligence, empathy and the imagination that enables you to walk in somebody else's shoes," he said.

Mr Turnbull was opposition leader for 14 months in 2008-09, before being defeated by Tony Abbott by a single vote.

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A week ago, he defeated Mr Abbott in a party room leadership challenge. Members of his cabinet and ministry were sworn in by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Monday, then went straight into a cabinet meeting.

Mr Turnbull said he had many priorities, including making sure that Australia remained a high-wage, first-world, generous social welfare net economy. That required strong economic growth, he said.

"How do we maintain that? Well, there's the big expanding global economy with many more avenues for Australian services and exports and manufacturers and primary products," he said.

"And all of that is very exciting. But we need to be competitive, we need to be productive, we need to, above all, be more innovative."

Mr Turnbull said Australia's economy wasn't in bad shape, although stronger growth would be better. Tax reform would be a big part of the reform agenda.

"The important thing is to be open-minded, consult, engage intelligently, explain the challenges to the public in a manner that respects their intelligence and then make a decision," he said.

Mr Turnbull said a key issue for the region was the rise of China, and ensuring that did not disturb the security and relative harmony on which China's prosperity depended.

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But he said China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea had been one of the more counter-productive foreign policies the Asian country had ever undertaken.

Mr Turnbull said one would think China would seek to create sufficient trust and confidence with its neighbours so the area would no longer feel the need for a strong US presence.

"What the island construction and all of the activity in the South China Sea has done has resulted in the smaller countries surrounding that area turning to the US even more than they did before," he said.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he'll live in his own place in Sydney rather than the official residence across the harbour.

Mr Turnbull said his residence at Point Piper, a luxury waterfront property, was agreeably close to his grandson. He said he would use Kirribilli House for official functions.

"It's very valuable, it's a great location to use for charities and for opportunities to support good causes. So we'll certainly be doing that. But we'll be sleeping at home," he told ABC television.

When in Canberra, Mr Turnbull will stay at the official prime ministerial residence The Lodge once its refurbishment is complete.

Newly sworn-in Turnbull government ministers plan spending cuts and policy changes to get the budget under control and deliver on the prime minister's vision.

Members of Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet and ministry were sworn in by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Monday, ahead of a cabinet meeting in Canberra. Mr Turnbull says he is open to policy changes across all portfolios.

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"There will be changes to policies if they don't work as well as we think, or we think others can work better," he told ABC radio.

"None of this is written in stone."

Education Minister Simon Birmingham faces an uphill task in convincing Senate crossbenchers to back university deregulation - something his predecessor Christopher Pyne failed to do.

Senator Birmingham said he would be holding fresh talks with universities, the training sector, industry and business to see what aspects of the Pyne reforms they valued.

"(I'll) get a good sense of what they see as issues we must proceed with, but also try to make sure we progress reform," he said.

Another problem for the Abbott government was winning over the Senate on changes to social security, which accounts for a third of all federal government budget spending.

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Social Services Minister Christian Porter said there was a "pipeline" of savings already being negotiated with crossbenchers, but he expected to have to find further savings ahead of the mid-year economic review.

"I will look at a whole range of issues, but I don't want to specify at this earliest stage what they might be," he told AAP.

His department had a "long spreadsheet" of ideas on where to make savings and his office would add to this.

Mr Turnbull said at the swearing-in ceremony the ministry reflected his "determination to ensure that Australia seizes the opportunities of this, the most exciting times in human history".

The Nationals have questioned why the two new positions in cabinet were given to Liberal MPs. Nationals MP David Gillespie said his party should have gained a fourth seat in the cabinet. There had been a "little bit of an oversight" because cabinet places were allocated on a percentage basis.

"On that basis, The Nationals are actually entitled to just under four positions," he told ABC radio. Any future cabinet vacancy should be filled by the Nationals. Asked about the move against Tony Abbott, former treasurer Peter Costello said it had been a "big execution and a tough one". "It was efficient," he told ABC's Four Corners program.

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The now former treasurer Joe Hockey - who is expected to become ambassador to the United States - told reporters in Sydney he would have more to say about his future next month.

"Politics has its ups, it has its downs, but if you make Australia a better place, it is entirely worth it," he said.

Malcolm Turnbull has described his ministry as one that reflects a determination to seize the opportunities of the most exciting times in human history.

The prime minister was speaking as he presented his ministers to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra on Monday.

Attorney-General George Brandis, the government's new leader in the Senate, was the first minister to be sworn in.

Treasurer Scott Morrison swore his oath of office on his own bible.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (centre) poses for official photographs with the female members of the newly sworn-in government, including Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer's 4 month old baby Olivia after a swearing-in ceremony at Government House (AAP)

Marise Payne becomes Australia's first female defence minister, coincidentally sworn-in by a former chief of Australia's defence force.

Her elevation to one of the most senior roles in the Turnbull cabinet was warmly welcomed by her colleagues with a "hear, hear" response.

Senator Payne is one of five women in cabinet, three more than Tony Abbott appointed to his team.

Christian Porter, regarded as a rising star in the federal Liberal Party, makes the transition from West Australian state politics to become social services minister.

South Australian Simon Birmingham, another up-and-comer, moves into cabinet taking the  education portfolio.

Arthur Sinodinos returns to a senior role in government as cabinet secretary

Josh Frydenberg, wearing the traditional Jewish kippah, swore his oath as resources and energy minister on the Torah.

Mal Brough, who was a captain in the army before entering politics, becomes defence materiel and science minister as well as special minister of state.

Another military officer, Stuart Robert, takes over responsibility for veterans affairs and human services.

In a lighter moment during the formal ceremony, assistant agriculture and water resources minister Anne Ruston had to borrow Sir Peter's reading glasses to take her oath of office.

Wyatt Roy, the youngest member of the Turnbull ministry, had no trouble reading his oath as assistant minister for industry, innovation and science.

Australian Minister for Education Senator Simon Birmingham arrives with his family for a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Mr Turnbull's new ministry was sworn-in today in a ceremony at Government House. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists his new ministers have been promoted on talent while flagging changes in policy direction.

Mr Turnbull's new-look ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Canberra on Monday morning.

More women, younger and fresher faces are among an expanded cabinet of 21, including the nation's first female defence minister in Marise Payne.

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Mr Turnbull believes Australians have reacted positively to what he says is a modern, contemporary ministry.

All had been promoted because of their "enormous capacity", even those who didn't support him in the leadership ballot, he said citing Christian Porter who becomes social services minister and Josh Frydenberg energy minister.
 
"There are very prominent people with great ability who have been promoted on merit," Mr Turnbull told the Nine Network on Monday.

He wanted more women in the cabinet but blamed low female representation in parliament, saying it was not as high as it should be.

The prime minister flagged more measures to tackle domestic violence and changes to higher education policy.

On university deregulation he told ABC radio: "I would say it's highly possible that you could change it to something that will get through the Senate."

However, the government's immediate priority is the economy.

Mr Turnbull admitted while he had different personal views to Tony Abbott on issues such as same-sex marriage, the republic and climate change, the new cabinet would be run as a traditional government.

"That means that the prime minister doesn't get on television ... and starts making decisions left, right and centre," he told the Seven Network.