Australia’s new Youth Minister is a baby boomer


Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck has also picked up the aged care and sport portfolios.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reinstated a 'Youth Minister' - with the gig going to 61-year-old Senator Richard Colbeck.

In his announcement on Sunday, the PM promoted the Tasmanian Senator to a cabinet position. He was previously the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

In a statement, Senator Colbeck said:

"I am delighted to take on the role of Minister for Youth, to support Australia's next generation to make the most of the exciting opportunities our country has in the coming years."

He said he hoped to work with returning Health Minister Greg Hunt on the issue of youth mental health.

Not only will Senator Colbeck lead policy for some of the youngest in our country - he'll also be in charge of the portfolios that look after the oldest: aged care and senior Australians.

If that's not enough, he's picked up sport from Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie.

At this point you're probably thinking: 'why don't they just make a youth, 'Youth Minister?'

To that we say: great question, and well, they're a little hard to find in the Coalition ranks.

The majority of the parties' MPs and Senators are over 40 years old.

Their youngest recruit looks like it's one of their newest: Claire Chandler, a 28-year-old Liberal Senator (who is coincidentally also from Tasmania).

Liberal Cabinet
Elected Tasmanian Liberal Senator Claire Chandler.

Who is Richard Colbeck?

The Tassie Senator was first elected to Parliament in the 2001 election, serving under John Howard. He stayed in the Senate until he lost his seat in 2016.

Then, in 2017, he too was caught up in the 'Section-44-politician-eligibility' debacle - but in a good way.

Fellow Tasmanian Liberal Senator Stephen Parry was forced to announce his resignation when he too thought he could be a dual citizen. That paved the way for Senator Colbeck to return to the Senate, where he's been since.

Over the years, he's taken on lower-level roles across a whole heap of portfolios including Health, Agriculture, Innovation, Fisheries and Forestry.

He was also a supporter of Malcolm Turnbull during the leadership crisis, and is primarily considered to be a 'moderate' Liberal.

Growing representation from Tasmanian Liberals

Senator Colbeck wasn't the only 'Apple Isle' Liberal to get a promotion this weekend.

Senator Jonathon Duniam will also take on roles as Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries - and Regional Tourism.

Liberal Cabinet
Tas. Senator Jonathon Duniam will move to an Assistant Minister role.

"It is pleasing to see Tasmania's success at the election recognised with a ministry and also the appointment of Senator Duniam as an Assistant Minister," he said.

It's understood it could be a bit of a reward for Tasmania's strong showing in this month's federal election.

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