Showing posts with label Turnbull Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turnbull Government. Show all posts

Monday, 12 February 2018

AUSTRALIA CARD MARK II: no national digital ID number will mean no access to any Australian federal government services



“When signing up to the platform for the first time, users will be asked to provide their name, email address, and phone number, and verify their details via email or SMS. They will then be asked to provide information from three identity documents, which goes through the exchange to the identity provider for verification. The exchange receives encrypted details back which it passes on to the government service the user wants to reach, which then grants the user access.”  [IT News, 20 March 2015]

IT News, 8 February 2018:

The Department of Human Services looks set to become the federal government's exclusive manager of digital identities after being selected to build the identity provider solution that will be used for the Govpass platform.

The Govpass framework is a decentralised identity model that allows individuals to choose their identity provider - an organisation that issues identity documents, like Australia Post or the ATO - and access a range of public and private sector services through a single digital identity credential.

There is no limit on the number of identity providers outside of the Commonwealth that can be accredited for Govpass; Australia Post has already indicated it will seek to become the first non-government identity provider, using its Digital iD platform.
Several state and territory government agencies and private sector entities are also expected to become identity providers over time.

However, the federal government last year made the decision that only one identity provider would operate for the entire Commonwealth.

The Digital Transformation Agency revealed the decision following meetings with existing Commonwealth identity service providers, DHS and the ATO. Its rationale for the move was to focus security efforts in one place and avoid complex administrative structures.

iTnews revealed in October that the DTA was yet to make up its mind up on which of the two agencies would serve as the federal government’s sole identity provider for GovPass, even as testing of the new platform was taking place with the ATO’s new online tax file number application service.

Instead the DTA said it was working closely with the ATO and DHS on the “next steps” for the platform.

But in response to questions on notice from recent estimates hearings, DHS revealed it had been instructed to develop the federal government’s single identity provider platform, to be known as myGov IdP.

“The department was commissioned by the DTA to build the identity provider (IdP) for the whole-of-government,” it said.

“The myGov IdP will enable citizens to verify their identity online and use it to apply for government services.”

iTnews has made several attempts to clarify the statements with the DTA and DHS, but both refused to comment on the build and DHS’ apparent position as the single government identity provider.

The ATO similarly redirected questions about its involvement with Govpass, including whether it had also been asked by the DTA to build an identity provider solution, to the DTA.

Selecting DHS as the sole government identity provider would be an obvious choice for the DTA - the agency is the government’s current defacto whole-of-gov identity provider through the myGov digital services platform.

A private beta release of myGov IdP is currently planned for later this month.

Identity providers on Govpass will use the DTA-built identity exchange – and in turn the document verification service (DVS) and facial verification service (FVS) – to verify an individual’s credentials without revealing their identity to service providers.
[my yellow bolding]

NoteThe Face Identification Service (FIS) is a one-to-many, image-based identification service that can match a photo of an unknown person against multiple government records to help establish their identity. FIS is also available to police, security services, Dept. of Immigration and Dept. of Foreign Affairs. [Australian Attorney-General's Department, October 2017]

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Why so many voters are annoyed by Barnaby Joyce's statement* that his private life is a private matter


When it influences staff positions and even contributes to winners and losers in a reshuffle, Barnaby's affair with a younger staffer is not a private matter” [Stephen Mayne on Twitter, 9 February 2018]

During the lengthy extramarital relationship with a member of his staff Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce:

* arranged for a change of employment for the staffer in this relationship. She was employed at taxpayers’ expense by another federal minister, in a senior position specifically created for her with a six-figure annual salary;

* successfully sought a second staff position for his former staffer when that federal minister was forced to resign from the front bench while a dual citizenship claim was resolved. This second position was with the Nationals Chief Whip - resulting in him having two people in his office doing the same job at taxpayers' expense;

* left his wife of 24 years and their four children;

* began living rent-free with the now pregnant former staffer in an Armidale townhouse owned by multi-millionaire ­businessman Greg ­Maguire who himself attracted some political controversy in 2004-2006 concerning potential breaches of the Electoral Act;

* allegedly assaulted a member of the public in a pub in his electorate for referring to the former staffer as his “mistress”;

* publicly admitted in parliament to separating from his wife but not to the extramarital relationship; and


Only the fact that his marriage had ended could be rightly said to be a private matter.

Five of the seven dot points above go to issues concerning fitness for office, possible corrupt conduct and what may be an in-kind political donation in a by-election year and not the post-election "gift" listed on the Register of Members' Interests on 3 January 2018.

Those issues are not private. 

As much as he wants to, Barnaby Joyce cannot pretend to be a victim of unfair media scrutiny.


BACKGROUND

Fifty year-old Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce, an accountant by profession, came into the Australian Senate in 2004 and his election appears to have not been without some passing controversy at the time.

He resigned from the Senate and was elected to the House of Representatives for New England, New South Wales, for the first time in 2013 then re-elected in 2016. 

Joyce refused to step down as deputy prime minister and refused to resign from the Australian Parliament once the New Zealand Government confirmed he was a citizen by descent of that country and he was referred to the High Court of Australia concerning the claim of dual citizenship. He continued to sit in the House of Representatives in contravention of the Australian Constitution.

His election was ruled void on 27 October 2017 under section 44 of the Australian Constitution. The High Court of ruling him ineligible from 2 June 2016, having found he held New Zealand and well as Australian citizenship since birth.


Having renounced his New Zealand citizenship in August 2017 he was elected at the New England by-election on 2 December 2017.

* Barnaby Joyce Statement 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Liberal Party of Australia's inability to avoid adding more rigthwing hardliners to its ranks is disturbing



“Plus  ça  change, plus  c'est  la  même  chose”

John Howard's quasi military protégée during his prime ministershipformer "special envoy" for a later Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, 'speaker and entertainer' for hire, border control hardliner, retired major-general Andrew James "Jim" Molan formally took up a Senate seat on 5 February 2018 as Liberal Party Senator for New South Wales.
Having failed to be elected at the last federal election he came to the Senate after the High Court of Australia ruled Susan Nash was ineligible to continue sitting in the Senate due to holding dual citizenship.
The senator from Royalla near Queanbeyan NSW has created a new Facebook page now he has been sworn-in, however the original page still exists. As does his Twitter account where he has a tendency to retweet praise of himself.
A right-wing warrior with an imperfect understanding of human rights, a controversial war record and an apparent antipathy to est. 2.6 per cent of the Australian population is now a member of the Turnbull Coalition Government.

This is how the mainstream media saw him on the day........
ABC News, 5 February 2018:
Newly-elected Liberal senator and retired senior Army officer Jim Molan is defending his decision to share anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook.
In March last year Mr Molan, who was sworn in as a senator this morning, shared posts from the group on his personal, public Facebook page.
One of the Britain First videos purports to show Muslim men attacking a police car in France, while the other purports to show Muslim men harassing and assaulting young women in France and the Netherlands.
The second video has been discredited by online fact-checkers.
Today Senator Molan said he did not remember sharing the videos, but upon watching them again, was shocked by the violence within them.
He said the videos were not inflammatory, and not racist.
"I have no apologies, I have no regrets," he said.
Senator Molan said he rejected any suggestion he was racist……..

Britain First shot to global attention when US President Donald Trump shared anti-Muslim videos from the group in November last year.
It prompted outrage in Britain, and he was criticised by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Last week Mr Trump apologised for re-tweeting the posts, saying he knew nothing about the group.
Senator Molan has also shared posts made by far-right figure Milo Yiannopolous and controversial cartoonist Larry Pickering.
Those posts were not anti-Muslim in nature.
A spokesman for Senator Molan said the senator shared content online to provoke debate, and was not endorsing anything.
"The senator often posts material in order to generate debate," he said.
"The sharing of any post does not indicate endorsement."
Senator Molan has not posted commentary with the more controversial posts, and does not regularly respond to comments made on the posts.
But he did respond to a comment on one Britain First post, which read: "Charming. And we're meant to be tolerant, accepting and welcoming of this 'breed' in our country."
Senator Molan replied "Unbelievable".

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

As a new member of the UN Human Rights Council is Australia continuing to act the hypocrite?


For the second time in three months the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights has written to the Turnbull Coalition Government concerning its welfare policies.

Australian-born Professor Alston has been Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights since June 2014.

The Commonwealth of Australia was elected on 16 October 2017 as a member of the UN Human Rights Council 2018-2020.

So the following news item is more than a little embarrassing with what it reveals about government policies.

ABC Radio RN Breakfast, 1 February 2018:

A top UN official has delivered a scathing assessment of Australia's welfare policies describing them as 'punitive' and harmful to women.

Australian Philip Alston is the UN's Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty. He accuses the government of pursuing policies that 'stigmatise' and 'marginalise' poorer sections of society.

In a letter sent to the government this week, Philip raised concerns about the planned expansion of cashless welfare cards, and their impact on indigenous communities.

The first letter dated 17 October 2017 addressed the Social Services Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Cth) (No. 33 of 2017) and concerns that it may have a negative impact on the human rights of persons living in poverty, particularly single parents and their children, as well as expressing concerns about proposed drug testing of young people on unemployment benefits.

It would appear that the Turnbull Government’s welfare reforms make nonsense of Australia’s voluntary undertakings lodged with the United Nations on 14 July 2014 as part of its candidature for a vacancy on the UN Human Rights Council.

Monday, 29 January 2018

One of the IPA's unofficial attack dogs is attempting to savage the charity sector once again


The Guardian, 24 January 2018:

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has pushed for new powers to regulate charities' "effective use of resources" under its controversial new commissioner, Gary Johns.

The charities sector is up in arms over the proposal, seen as an attempt to control how charities spend their money from a commissioner who has argued that it is not appropriate for charities to fund advocacy.

In its submission to a review of charities law, the ACNC called for two new objects: to promote "the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities"; and to "enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public".

The ACNC's objects now are to maintain public trust in and the independence of the sector and to promote the reduction of "unnecessary regulatory obligations" for charities.

The commission argued the expanded scope was "appropriate" because "the maintenance and promotion of the effectiveness and sustainability of the not-for-profit sector" was already a factor the commissioner must consider when making decisions.

It said the new objects should come with additional powers, functions and resources.

The Community Council for Australia's chief executive, David Crosbie, said the proposed objectives were "incredibly disappointing" and amounted to a "bizarre overreach" from the regulator.

He said there was "no explanation" of how the ACNC would measure an "effective use of resources".

"It's not the role of a government regulator which may not agree with a particular charity's approach – it's absurd that should tell them how to use their resources," he said.

"As long as charities are meeting their statutory requirements and fulfilling their charitable purpose it is not up to the regulator."
He added: "The use of resources is best left up to charities, the communities they serve and their own governance structures."

Johns was a Labor minister under the Keating government and a former head of NGOWatch at the Institute for Public Affairs. After his appointment in December, Johns said when people gave to charities they expected that "most of [the donation] will be used for the charitable purpose … [and that] the work that is undertaken on behalf of a donor works". He promised to bring those matters "to the fore" in his work at the ACNC.

In 2014 Johns argued that the government should remove advocacy as a charitable purpose to "deny charity status to the enemies of progress", citing the fact the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland advocates against coal mining.

In his 2014 book The Charity Ball, he said advocacy was of "doubtful public benefit". He criticised larger charities "whose service delivery is heavily weighted towards advocacy, research, campaigning and lobbying", including World Vision Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Amnesty International Australia.

Crosbie said Johns' public statements demonstrated that he believed "charities should not be advocating for extra funding from government".
He suggested that advocacy for more housing for homeless people and spending on mental health services were examples of activities that could come under attack.

Crosbie, who served on the ACNC's advisory board for more than three years, said the original objects had been developed after thorough consultation and "not once" had stakeholders suggested adding the new objectives in the ACNC submission.

Labor's charities spokesman, Andrew Leigh, accused the government of an "ongoing war on charities" and said it was "worrying that the new commissioner's first actions have already put the sector offside".

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Is the Turnbull Government spending veterans mental health funding wisely?


On the Line Limited state that it is a professional social health business that provides counselling support, anywhere and anytime, primarily via telephone, web chat and online support through the rather bluntly named  MensLine Australia, Suicide Call Back Service, SuicideLine Victoria, a Department of Defence All Hours Support Line After Hours Service and other geographically specific services.

On the Line Limited also provides tailored counselling services for corporate, member and community organisations.

According to its 2016-17 Annual Report On the Line Limited is doing very nicely thank you, with an income of over $11.3 million and $6.2m in new tenders, grants, and business opportunities.

However, it appears that this company may be falling down on the job……

The New Daily, 9 January 2018:

The government is refusing to reveal how often vulnerable veterans are unable to reach its crisis helpline for ex-service members in order to protect the bottom line of a private contractor, The New Daily can exclusively reveal.

The refusal comes as veterans’ advocates warn of a suicide epidemic among ex-service members, with support group Warrior’s Return estimating at least 84 veterans took their own lives in 2017.

The Department of Veterans Affairs claims that disclosing the call abandonment rates and wait times for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service would adversely impact the company that manages the service outside of normal business hours.

In response to a freedom of information request by The New Daily, the DVA said the disclosure would give the contractor’s business rivals information that could be used to out-compete the company.

The New Daily has appealed the decision on public interest grounds.

The DVA has awarded Melbourne-based company On the Line contracts worth at least $2 million to operate the after-hours counselling service since 2010, according to government procurement website AusTender.

The department also revealed to The New Daily that it does not collect data on the call abandonment rates and wait times for its regular hours service, which is managed in-house.

Doug Steley, an ex-service member who works with a number of veterans’ advocacy groups, said the department’s attitude was “totally unacceptable” and typical of its lack of transparency.

“Their service should be so excellent that they should be willing to boast about how good it is, and they should have absolutely no fear that a private contractor would be able to match the service to those who served Australia,” he said.

“There is no transparency in this department,” he added. “It operates on secrecy and hiding everything from the public.”

The DVA has faced repeated controversy over its treatment of veterans, with an official inquiry last year ruling it had failed to provide adequate support to 32-year-old Afghan war veteran Jesse Bird before he took his own life last June. In August, more than 100 people protested outside DVA headquarters in Melbourne to call for the establishment of a royal commission into the department’s failure to halt suicides among ex-service members.

Opposition spokeswoman for veterans’ affairs Amanda Rishworth accused the department of putting the welfare of a private firm above that of veterans.

“We expect DVA to act in the best interest of veterans – and not in the best interest of a private contractor,” Ms Rishworth told The New Daily.

“Labor thinks it is unacceptable that DVA is withholding any information that will provide greater transparency on services which directly affect those veterans and family members. It is also deeply concerning that DVA is not even collecting data on how the VVCS is performing during business hours.”

Thursday, 18 January 2018

So what does Australia's public debt look like in January 2018?


As of 5 January 2018 Australian Government public debt stood at an est. $515.6 billion at face value. Six months earlier this debt had stood at est. $500.9 billion. So government debt continues to grow.

This early January 2018 public debt breaks down as:

$477,278m
$34,897m
$3,500m
Other Securities
$6m


Treasury Bonds are medium to long-term debt securities that carry an annual rate of interest fixed over the life of the security, payable semi-annually.
All Treasury Bonds are exempt from non-resident interest withholding tax (IWT).


These treasury bonds were first issued between January 2006 and September 2017, with interest repayments ranging from 1.75% to 5.75% per annum due throughout 2018 and, in all but two instances the years beyond up to 2047. It is likely that at least 50% of these bonds are held by foreign investors.

The Turnbull Government appears to be using reduced government spending by way of funding cuts to essential government services and ‘reformed’ welfare payments in order to manage a portion of this debt – the remainder possibly being serviced by further bond issuance.

Given the potential to retain a higher dollar amount of cash transfers for longer periods in government coffers if the Cashless Debit Card is universally introduced for welfare recipients under retirement age, then I rather suspect that future welfare recipients may be disproportionately servicing this debt if Turnbull & Co have their way.

And while considering that growing public debt, the sustained federal government assault on safety-net welfare since 2013 and the attack on penalty rates in 2017, readers miight like to consider this……

The Australian Parliament consists of 226 elected members sitting as MPs or senators.

Between them they are reported to own 524 properties and, in addition to their salaries and any additional remuneration for ministerial position or committee membership, they also receive generous parliamentary entitlements of which they freely avail themselves:



The Australian, 5 January 2018:

Australians have endured their longest period of falling living standards in more than a quarter of a century as growth in costs outstripped earnings for the fifth consecutive quarter, leaving households worse off than they were six years ago.

After allowing for inflation, taxes and interest costs, average household incomes dropped 1.6 per cent in the year to September, capping a sustained fall in ­living standards that has not been seen since the 1990-91 recession.

Economists say more than half the cost increases for households are being driven by electricity, rent, health, new housing and tobacco, while modest wage rises are being partially absorbed by workers being pushed into higher tax brackets……

After adjusting for living costs, interest and taxes, average earnings in the three months to September were 0.7 per cent lower than in the same period of 2011, which marked the peak of the ­resources boom.

Over the previous six years from 2005, households had seen an average improvement in their living standards of 17 per cent.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the mid-year budget update delivered before Christmas provided only limited scope for tax cuts.

“To be anything more than ‘sandwich and milkshake’ tax cuts and still maintain a trajectory ­towards a budget surplus by 2020-21, they would have to be offset by spending savings elsewhere. That is where the politics kicks in and the government has had difficulty getting things through the Senate,” he said.

Dr Oliver said if the government was successful in getting the 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare Levy through the Senate, it would offset the benefit of any tax cut. The Medicare Levy increase is scheduled to start on July 1 next year and increase personal taxes by $3.6 billion in its first year and $4.3bn in the second.

Although living standards stopped rising after 2011, the ­decline since the middle of 2016 is new and reflects both the fall in wage growth and an increase in tax payments.

The ABS Wage Price Index shows a 1.9 per cent rise last year, but this is measured before tax and records the average increase for each job. National accounts show that personal income tax collections are rising much faster than pre-tax wages, partly ­because more wage income is being pushed into higher tax brackets. They show a 4 per cent lift in taxes per capita over the year to September, absorbing 60 per cent of the increase in wage income per person, which rose only 1 per cent.

Much of the very strong ­employment growth in the past year has been in lower paying jobs in the services sector, which has reduced average incomes overall.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Welcome to the dog whistle season in Australia


Determined to keep the pot on the boil during their extended holiday break government ministers and humble backbenchers tend to release selected dog whistles to the media .

It appears we might have Liberal Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz to thank for this one elicited by Treasury Budget Policy Division's answer to one of his Questions on Notice on or about 11 December 2017.

SBS News, 29 December 2017:

Working Australians are forking out roughly $83 per week to fund the nation's welfare bill.

Average taxpayers are handing over $35 every week to prop up aged pensioners, $20 per week to pay for family benefits and $17 to support Australians with disabilities.

Just over $6 per week goes to the unemployed, while $9 goes towards repaying interest on government debt, according to figures released to a Senate committee.

Going to the source it appears that based on a fictional, average "someone who owes $11,424 in tax" in 2014-15, the extended estimates breakdown works out at a notional: 

$42.25 per week for health care; 
$35.03 for aged pensions;
$20.42 for family payments (includes child care & paid parental leave);*
$19.65 for defence of the country; 
$18.50 as the contribution to education funding; 
$17.34 to cover disability payments (includes NDIS);
$9.11 for interest payments on federal government debt; 
$6.26 towards unemployment benefits;
$4.11 other;*
$3.32 for industry assistance;
$2.94 for public order & safety; 
$2.61 for housing & community; and 
$38.11 cents per week for the remaining seven listed categories.
* Classified in the media as "Welfare" with a rounded down total of $83 a week 

Both Senator Abetz and the media remain silent on the actual cost to the average taxpayer of the full range of business/company tax concessions. They also remain silent on how individuals can structure tax offsets and investment properties in order to reduce taxable income to zero or how personal income tax rebates at the end of each financial year may affect those weekly notional figures cited as a drain on taxpayers. However, Treasury does not keep quiet on the subject of revenue foregone and helpfully releases a Tax Expenditure Statement at the beginning of each year. 

In fact if Senator Abetz wanted to be honest he would have included a question concerning financial benefits from taxation revenue going to all Australian households for 2016-17. In 2015-16 that came to $105.8 billion in federal monetary transfers derived from taxation revenue in that financial year or notionally around est. $94 a week per person based on the number and average size of all households in 2016. In addition each person would receive the equivalent of est. $40 per week as 'in kind' government goods & services.

Which means a great many working Australians receive more from the collective income tax revenue pool than they actually pay out in individual income tax. 

Indeed Treasury's 2017-18 microsimulation model of Personal Income Tax and Transfers clearly shows that, based on equivalised disposable income quintiles, an est. 60 per cent of all Australian families pay no tax or less than est. $2,000 in annual income tax once government transfers received are deducted. Included in this percentage are working families with equivalised disposable incomes below $67,000pa.

It should be noted that the aforementioned fictional person owing an estimated "$11,424 in tax" is likely to have an equivalised disposable income well in excess of $67,000pa.

Both the microsimulation model and the fictional person make nonsense of the bald assertion that; "Working Australians are forking out roughly $83 per week to fund the nation's welfare bill".

In Australia every citizen of workforce age and over pays tax - even if its just the Goods and Services Tax (GST). And every citizen of any age receives a benefit from one or more forms of tax revenue redistribution in cash and/or kind, so it is the height of hypocrisy to argue that this benefit only goes to people receiving Centrelink/Veterans Affairs payments from the state and that the entire cost of any welfare 'bill' falls squarely on the shoulders of those with other incomes. 

Whoever authorised this particular media swipe at welfare recipients has forgotten that the Turnbull Government had been putting out versions of this story all last year and, not only has it grown whiskers but the electorate has become somewhat resistant to such tired political rhetoric.

No matter how hard political commentators try to classify receiving a government cash transfer as a form of social deviance, Australian society cannot be neatly divided into "lifters and leaners", "workers and bludgers" or "us and THEM".

Over the course of a lifetime everyone of us could be considered some or all of those things at some point, as we travel from childhood dependency through to adulthood and onto the grave.

NOTE:

Australian Parliamentary Library, What counts as welfare spending?, extract, 21 December 2015:

At its broadest welfare can be used to refer to all of the programs and services that make up the welfare state. This can include health and education, as well as income support payments such as the Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and Newstart Allowance.

Welfare can also refer to the administrative category of ‘social security and welfare’. This category is used in budget papers and includes spending on aged care, child care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), family assistance payments and income support payments.

Welfare can also refer to a much narrower (and less clearly defined) category of spending on income support payments to people of working age. These welfare payments are means-tested benefits provided in cash. They go to people of working age who are not participating in paid employment or other activities such as education or vocational training. The term welfare can be applied loosely to spending that meets some or all of these criteria. It is a moral or political category rather than a legal or administrative one. It is often associated with the idea that recipients have not earned an entitlement to payments through contributions to the community.

Use of this political category of welfare has become increasingly common in Australian political debate. The category tends to include unemployment payments, such as Newstart Allowance, and payments to people of working age claiming support on the grounds of disability or single parenthood.

Statistics on welfare spending play a central role in debates over government policy. However, in public debate it is not always clear which category these statistics refer to. Sometimes statistics that refer to the broad category of social security and welfare are presented as if they referred to the narrower political category of welfare.

If public debate is to be informed by facts, commentators need to pay close attention to the way categories such as welfare are defined. When categories remain vague and ambiguous, the statistics can conceal as much as they reveal.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

"F-aaaaark!" the crow calls in the skies over Canberra


It’s hard to believe that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Cabinet were not three sheets to the wind when they drew up this short list………..

ABC News, 18 December 2017:

After more than a year of speculation, the ABC has confirmed Attorney-General George Brandis will leave Parliament to take up the post of Australia's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

The move will be announced as part of a broader pre-Christmas reshuffle of Malcolm Turnbull's Cabinet, to be detailed tomorrow.

Among the contenders to replace Senator Brandis as attorney-general are Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash….

And I thought the Turnbull Government ministerial line up couldn't get any worse........

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, media release, 19  December 2017:

I have refreshed my Ministry to reflect the priorities and values of my Government.

The Ministry features two new, major portfolios: one focused on job creation, the other on national security. This reflects my Government’s determination to provide opportunity and security for every Australian.

We have entrusted those portfolios to two of our most experienced and respected Ministers.

Peter Dutton will become Minister for Home Affairs, for the first time bringing together the nation’s security, border and intelligence agencies under one department.

Senator Michaelia Cash will become Minister for Jobs and Innovation, charged with harnessing the policies of the government to create more jobs and job opportunities.

Senator Cash will be a key part of the Government’s economic team working to deliver on our commitment of more jobs, more investment, and stronger economic growth.

I’m delighted to welcome Barnaby Joyce back as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport - a vital portfolio as the Government rolls out its record $75 billion infrastructure program.

Christian Porter will become Attorney General, a role he previously held in the West Australian State Government.

Mathias Cormann will take on the additional role Special Minister of State. Mathias’s expanded portfolio is testament to his outstanding performance as a Cabinet Minister.

Kelly O’Dwyer will take on the additional role of Minister for Women, which was previously held by Senator Cash.

I am pleased to welcome five new members of Cabinet.

Deputy Nationals Leader Bridget McKenzie joins Cabinet as Minister for Sport, Rural Health and Regional Communications. Bridget has long campaigned for better services for regional communities.

Michael Keenan will join Cabinet as Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation - a central role in ensuring all Australians get the services they expect when dealing with the Government, particularly as more and more services shift online.

Dan Tehan will join Cabinet in the critical role of Minister for Social Services. He will work closely with the newly created role of Assistant Minister for Children and Families, which will be filled by David Gillespie, as well as with Jane Prentice, who has been doing an outstanding job as Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services.

John McVeigh, who previously served as a minister in the Queensland Liberal National Party State Government, will join Cabinet as Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government.

David Littleproud will become Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. He will bring to the role two decades of experience in agribusiness before he joined parliament.

This new Cabinet will not include some familiar faces.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos wrote to me this week to tell me his medical treatment is taking longer than anticipated and he is unlikely to be able to return from leave until the middle of next year.

In those circumstances, he has asked that he not be included in this new ministry.

Senator Sinodinos is one of this generation’s most accomplished and experienced public servants and his contributions to the Cabinet have been sorely missed since his illness was first diagnosed.

Naturally, we wish him well in his recovery and I look forward to him regaining full health and returning to a senior Ministerial or other government role in the future.

Senator George Brandis, who after 17 years of distinguished service in the Senate, has signalled his plans to stand down.

Senator Brandis has been a stalwart of this Government in the Senate, particularly in the past couple of years given the difficulties of negotiating with a large and, at times, unpredictable crossbench.

Senator Brandis' legacy as Attorney General will be remembered for two things in particular. First, it was on his watch as Attorney, and in so small measure thanks to his eloquent advocacy over many years, that Australia legislated for marriage equality.

Secondly, as the Minister responsible for domestic national security since 2013, he undertook the most comprehensive reforms of our national security laws to keep Australians safe.

I hope that Senator Brandis’ public service to the nation is not over. Early in the new year I intend to recommend to the Governor-General that he be appointed as Australia’s new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. I know he will excel at this role.

Senator Brandis’ position as Leader of the Senate will be filled by Senator Cormann, who has been integral in steering the Government’s agenda through the Senate. His determination and his counsel are invaluable.

I obviously consult with the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals on the makeup of the Ministry.

I take this opportunity to thank Darren Chester for his significant contributions to the Cabinet as the outgoing Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. I know that we will all continue to call on his wisdom and experience.

Changes in the Outer Ministry reflect this Government’s focus on business enterprise, national security and families.

Craig Laundy is promoted to the role of Minister for Small & Family Business, Workplaces and Deregulation. Craig spent two decades in private business before joining Parliament so will bring unique insight into the challenges faced by small businesses.

He will take direct responsibility for workplace relations and will work closely with Senator Cash in her new role to ensure the Government is doing everything possible to give companies the confidence they need to invest and create jobs, and to give Australians the confidence they can get the skills and opportunities they need to find a job or land a better paying job.

Michaelia Cash, Craig Laundy and Zed Seselja - as the new Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation - will work together to make sure we harness the jobs of the future through new industries and small business so Australians can adapt and thrive in this era of innovation and technological change.

As Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton will be supported by two Ministers: Angus Taylor as Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity and Alan Tudge as Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

He will also continue to have the assistance of Alex Hawke as Assistant Minister for Home Affairs.

The Department of Home Affairs will keep Australians safer by ensuring full coordination between ASIO, the AFP, Australian Border Force, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and AUSTRAC. It will also contribute enormously to nation building through its focus on our immigration program.

Paul Fletcher will take on an expanded role as Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, charged with ensuring the Government’s infrastructure program meets its objectives of reducing congestion and improving the liveability of our cities. He will also continue the delivery of City Deals with state and local governments around the country.

After serving as Minister for Small Business since last year, Michael McCormack will become Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel and will assist me in this final year of the ANZAC centenary.

Melissa Price joins the Ministry as Assistant Minister for the Environment. She will work closely with Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg and is tasked with developing and implementing the Government’s policies on issues as broad as climate change, Landcare and the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

In the new role of Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Dr David Gillespie will work with the Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, to ensure children get the best start in life and families get all the support they need.

Damian Drum, currently the Chief Nationals Whip, will join the ministry as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

David Coleman, who came to Parliament after a long career in business, is also elevated to the ministry as Assistant Minister for Finance, while Luke Hartsuyker moves to the role of Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

I thank Keith Pitt for his service in the Assistant Trade Minister role.

The Ministry is filled with energy and rich with diverse life experiences.

Together we look forward to securing and delivering a safer and more prosperous Australia. [My yellow highlighting]

Complete Federal Ministry List here.