news As expected, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has named Malcolm Turnbull as incoming Communications Minister in his new cabinet, additionally appointing Liberal MP and former Optus executive Paul Fletcher as a parliamentary secretary to assist the Member for Wentworth in dealing with the communications portfolio.
In a statement released this afternoon, Abbott said: “The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP as Minister for Communications will deliver a new business plan for the NBN so that we can deliver fast broadband sooner and at less cost. Mr Paul Fletcher MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.”
Other notable appointments included the appointment of George Brandis as Attorney-General, and Mathias Cormann as Finance Minister. Both positions deal extensively with the technology sector; the Attorney-General having responsibility for overseeing the surveillance operations of law enforcement agencies and dealing with copyright issues, and the Finance Minister having oversight of the Government’s centralised IT decision-making public servants, as well as fulfilling a role as the second shareholder minister to NBN Co. Michael Ronaldson will also have some oversight over the split operations of the Australian Government Information Management Office, as Special Minister of State.
Abbot has abolished a number of technology-related ministries created under the previous Rudd and Gillard Labor administrations. For example, no minister dealing with rural telecommunications will be appointed, although Luke Hartsuyker had held the role as Shadow Minister when Abbott was Opposition Leader. Senator Kate Lundy’s role of Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy has been axed, and the innovation portfolio moved under the remit of Industry, led by Ian Macfarlane.
“The simplification of ministerial and departmental titles reflects my determination to run a “back to basics” government,” said Abbott. “The Australian people expect a government that is upfront, speaks plainly and does the essentials well. The Cabinet will be assisted by a strong team of ministers with proven capacity to implement the Government’s policies. Parliamentary secretaries will assist senior ministers and be under their direction.”
“This is an experienced and talented team. It will deliver results for the Australian people from day one.” The new Abbott ministry is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.
Everything pretty much as expected, although the appointment of Fletcher to the Parliamentary Secretary role will be controversial, given the Member for Bradfield’s gaffe regarding the Coalition’s Internet filter policy during the campaign.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull