New Federal Government elevates Small Business, rationalises 'super-portfolios'

THE NEW Federal Government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made decisive steps to streamline government departments by amalgamating many focal sectors into broader portfolios. In some ways it is a Back to the Future approach, with some Federal Ministers assuming portfolios they handled in the John Howard years.

Tony Abbott has elevated Small Business and tightened up other Departments' scope.


“First term governments are best served by Cabinets with extensive ministerial experience,” Mr Abbott said. “ Fifteen members of the incoming Cabinet have previous ministerial experience.”

“The simplification of ministerial and departmental titles reflects my determination to run a ‘back to basics’ government. The Cabinet will be assisted by a strong team of ministers with proven capacity to implement the Government’s policies.”

In a landmark move, Small Business has gained a stand-alone presence in the new Federal Cabinet.

“Small business employs almost one in two Australians and its stand-alone presence in Cabinet acknowledges its role in job creation,” Mr Abbott said.

He described Small Business Minister Bruce Billson as “an evangelist for small business” who will drive the Government’s small business agenda.

Incoming Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss is also the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, with a focus on “ensuring the Government delivers on its major infrastructure commitments across Australia” said Mr Abbott.

Jamie Briggs is the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development “with specific responsibility for roads and delivery of our election commitments across metropolitan and regional Australia”.

Julie Bishop is Minister for Foreign Affairs in a position that takes on added responsibility of Australia’s new role on the United Nations Security Council and as Chair of the G20 from December 1 for 2014.Senator Brett Mason is Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Secretary.

Helping Australian business recover and grow to create more jobs is the focus for Senator Eric Abetz as Minister for Employment, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Leader of the Government in the Senate.

As part of this pendulum swing, Mr Abbott said the Coalition Government would restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, return the industrial relations pendulum to the sensible centre and re-invigorate Work for the Dole.

Luke Hartsuyker is Assistant Minister for Employment and Deputy Leader of the House.Senator George Brandis QC is Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts and Vice President of the Executive Council. Mr Abbott said he would be responsible for establishing a bipartisan process “that will lead to a referendum and recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution”.

Michael Keenan is Minister for Justice.“Strengthening the economy, lifting productivity and turning around Australia’s competitive decline will be at the heart of the new Government,” Mr Abbott said.

“As Treasurer, Joe Hockey will lead the Government’s work to restore the Budget position and grow a stronger economy. Senator Mathias Cormann, as Minister for Finance, will be responsible for delivering better value for taxpayers. “

Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO will be Assistant Treasurer. His lifetime of experience in the public sector will provide further strength to our economic team."

Steven Ciobo is Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Michael McCormack Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance.

Barnaby Joyce is Minister for Agriculture. Mr Abbott said Mr Joyce would be “working to fulfil Australia’s potential as the food bowl of Asia”.

“The agricultural opportunities for Northern Australia in particular are immense,” the Prime Minister said. Senator Richard Colbeck is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

An area of major streamlining for the new Government is education, where many strands have been pulled into one.

Christopher Pyne is Minister for Education and Leader of the House and Mr Abbott said he was determined to “work with the states and territories to deliver real improvements across all aspects of education”.

“Labor’s decision to split education across multiple portfolios hindered the capacity of different parts of the system to work together to improve educational standards,” Mr Abbott said.

Sussan Ley is Assistant Minister for Education and Mr Abbott said she would continue her work with child care and early childhood education.

Senator Scott Ryan is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education.

Ian Macfarlane has returned to the role as Minister for Industry having held this portfolio during the last two terms of the Howard Government.

“Mr Macfarlane’s experience and record of success will be invaluable as we seek to build more competitive industries across Australia,” Mr Abbott said.

“The new Industry portfolio will include responsibility for energy and resources.

”Bob Baldwin MP is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry.

Kevin Andrews is  Minister for Social Services, responsible for the largest area of expenditure and payments in the Budget. The new department will also be responsible for settlement services, multicultural affairs and the administration of aged care.

Senator Mitch Fifield is Assistant Minister for Social Services responsible for the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and aged care.

Senator Marise Payne is Minister for Human Services. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services.

Malcolm Turnbull is Minister for Communications. He has promised to deliver a new business plan for the National Broadband Network (NBN) which will deliver fast broadband “sooner and at less cost”.

Paul Fletcher is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.

Peter Dutton is Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. Senator Fiona Nash is Assistant Minister for Health.

Mr Abbott said responsibility for mental health will rest with Peter Dutton, “ensuring responsibility for this issue remains in Cabinet”.

Andrew Robb is Minister for Trade and Investment, with a focus on expanding Australia’s participation in free trade agreements (FTAs).

David Johnston is Minister for Defence. He will drive the development of the Defence White Paper as well as overseeing the Coalition’s defence procurement programme.

Senator Michael Ronaldson is Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Special Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC. Stuart Robert is Assistant Minister for Defence with responsibility for personnel matters.

Darren Chester is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence.

Greg Hunt is Minister for the Environment and his early focus is on abolishing the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of “a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals”. Senator Simon Birmingham is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment with special responsibility for water.

Scott Morrison is Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Senator Michaelia Cash is Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Senator Cash is also Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

“Recognising its key role in border protection, Customs will be in this portfolio,” Mr Abbott said.

Fulfilling an election promise, the  administration of indigenous affairs will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Senator Nigel Scullion will be Minister for Indigenous Affairs.


Recognising the value of deregulation to improving Australia’s productivity, responsibility for driving the Government’s deregulation agenda will shift to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Josh Frydenberg and Alan Tudge will be the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretaries.

Bronwyn Bishop will be the new Speaker of the House.

Warren Entsch will chair a new Joint Parliamentary Committee on Northern Australia.

Philip Ruddock has agreed to be Chief Government Whip. Nola Marino and Scott Buchholz have also agreed to be Whips. Mark Coulton is the Nationals’ Chief Whip.

The Senate Whips are elected by the Liberal and Nationals Senate Party Rooms. The current Senate Whips are Senator Helen Kroger (Chief Government Whip), Senator David Bushby (Deputy Government Whip), Senator Chris Back (Deputy Government Whip) and Senator John Williams (Nationals Whip).

“This is an experienced and talented team. It will deliver results for the Australian people from day one,” Mr Abbott said. 

Federal Government Ministries:

Prime Minister:  Tony Abbott
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Leader of the Nationals:  Warren Truss.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party: Julie Bishop.

Minister for Employment, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service, Leader of the Government in the Senate: Senator Eric Abetz.
Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate,  Vice-President of the Executive Council: Senator George Brandis QC
Treasurer: Joe Hockey.
Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Leader of the Nationals: Barnaby Joyce.
Minister for Education, Leader of the House: Christopher Pyne.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Leader of the Nationals in the Senate: Senator Nigel Scullion
Minister for Industry: Ian Macfarlane.
Minister for Social Services: Kevin Andrews.
Minister for Communications: Malcolm Turnbull.
Minister for Health, Minister for Sport : Peter Dutton.
Minister for Small Business: Bruce Billson.
Minister for Trade and Investment: Andrew Robb.
Minister for Defence: Senator David Johnston.
Minister for the Environment: Greg Hunt.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection: Scott Morrison.
Minister for Finance: Senator Mathias Cormann.




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