Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull defends new cabinet

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and some local media outlets allege Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rewarded supporters in cabinet decision

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Malcolm Turnbull Sworn in as New Australian Prime Minister

Updated Sep 22, 2015

New Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended his new cabinet, after it was sworn in at Government House in Canberra on Monday.

Turnbull said regarding his choice of ministers that “leaders have to be more innovative, more optimistic, more creative, more productive. No-one could suggest that this cabinet, this ministry has been assembled on any basis other than merit."

Turnbull was sworn in as the new prime minister of Australia last Tuesday after replacing Tony Abbott as the leader of the governing Liberal Party in a snap party vote.

Turnbull, a former leader of the party in 2008-2009, beat Abbott on Monday after resigning his post as Communications Minister and challenging Abbott for the party leadership.

He says 21st-century government should be modern and contemporary.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop listens to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announce his new federal cabinet during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 20, 2015

Turnball rose the number of women ministers in the cabinet from two to five and said, "If the percentage of women in parliament had been higher he could have appointed more to key roles."

"And that's why you have seen so many new faces in the cabinet, so many more women, so many more younger people," he told Agence France Presse.

Marise Payne became Australia's first female defence minister as part of the new cabinet.

Marise Payne asserted that she will deliver a major defence plan within weeks. Senator Payne has worked in several senior positions in the Liberal Party and was Minister for Human Services in Tony Abbott's government.

"There are people who've been promoted to the cabinet who did not support me in the recent ballot, there's several very dear old friends of mine who have offered to stand down and I accepted that in order to make room for others," he added.

The new cabinet includes 25-year old MP Wyatt Roy from Queensland, who will become Assistant Minister for Innovation.

Ken Wyatt, West Australian and former health bureaucrat, is the first Aboriginal member of the House of Representatives. Wyatt is the first Indigenous Australian cabinet minister of Australia, as an Assistant Minister for Health.

Julie Bishop will continue as foreign minister and Sussan Ley as health and sports minister.

TRTWorld and agencies