Australian PM Scott Morrison boosts number of women in Cabinet with reshuffle

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne at Parliament House Canberra

Canberra, March 29 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced a cabinet reshuffle after a series of scandals that have dented his approval ratings.

Karen Andrews, formerly industry minister, has been promoted to replace Mr Dutton at Home Affairs.

Porter is the subject of a historical rape allegation which he denies and is now on mental health leave.

In a maybe-blamey turn of events, Morrison said that improvements to women in Parliament would come from collaborative efforts, rather than pitting people against each other. Ok.

In a sad twist, Peter Dutton has been named the country's next Defence Minister and leader of the government in the House of Representatives, while Michaelia Cash has been named the new Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister.

Morrison has faced "intense pressure" after "a very bruising few weeks", the BBC's Australia correspondent Shaimaa Khalil said, describing the weeks of bombshell claims that "have really shaken his government to the core".

Senator Payne will also raise the issue during a meeting of state and territory women's safety ministers next week.

Senator Amanda Stoker will become the assistant minister for women, and the panel will also include Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham, and all women from the ministry.

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The task force will oversee the government's policies on women's equality, safety, economic security, health and well-being.

Yeah, you read that right.

"What we must do is address the Government's agenda with the changes that we're making and do so I think, with a fresh lens, in particular to achieving the outcomes, the results that we all want for Australian women across the country", Morrison said. "We have seen that in the trolling particularly of women".

Porter's permanence has been heavily criticized following complaints that he was raped for more than 30 years by a woman who died as a teenager, which he denies, and was filed by police this month for lack of evidence.

Morrison removed embattled ministers Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds from their high-profile roles. Why hasn't Porter been dropped from cabinet completely?

His press conference announcing the changes saw the two main names at the heart of allegations, former Attorney-General Christian Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, dumped from their roles in the second cabinet shake-up in four months. Well, over concern that dropping Porter would send a message that a minister could lose their job over a rape allegation.

Reynolds apologized to the staffer for calling her a "lying cow" after she went public with her accusations.

Mr Porter will leave his post as attorney-general to take on Ms Andrews' former role, while Senator Reynolds takes on government services and the NDIS.

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