Scott Morrison's newish cabinet

Some highlights of Scott Morrison’s newish cabinet:

Marise Payne is the new Minister for Foreign Affairs. Payne was an obvious choice to fill the void left by Julie Bishop, having also spent 20 years in Parliament achieving bugger all.

As Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham cut university funding, increased fees and lowered the income level at which HECS debt repayments start. So, if nothing else, it will be a relief to students that he is now the Minister for Trade.

Despite being one of Dutton’s chief plotters, Mathias Cormann retains his portfolio. Cormann became Minister for Finance when the Coalition took office in 2013. Since then the national debt has more than doubled, government revenue has declined and tens of billions have been lost to unchecked tax evasion. Yet Cormann is often perceived as one of the government’s more competent ministers, possibly because he sounds a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Being a firm believer in stuff for which there is no sound evidence, Scott Morrison is probably hoping some of that might rub off on him.

Josh Frydenberg becomes our third Treasurer in five years, and seems happy to admit he has no more of a clue about the job than his predecessors. Frydenberg will however be seeking advice from former Treasurer Peter Costello. While it’s uncertain how advice on squandering an unprecedented global economic boom on pork barrelling elections to keep John Howard in power for 11 years will help, at least the independent chair of the $4 billion Australian Government Future Fund advising the Federal Treasurer poses no possibility of a conflict of interest.

Another thing we should not be at all worried about is that Morrison has forgotten to appoint a new Financial Services minister. Because it’s not like the banking and financial services sector needs any attention from government at the moment.

While Kelly O’Dwyer is best known for being fawning, incompetent and out of touch, she is less well known for her ability to fit both fists in her mouth. This talent is likely to assist her as Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations as well as it did when she was Minister for Financial Services.

Melissa Price is the new Minister for the Environment. Being Environment Minister in a government led by a bloke who tried to taunt the Opposition with a lump of coal, is pretty much a ceremonial position, especially as Energy has been split from the portfolio and given to climate change denier Angus Taylor.

More news that should help Australians sleep soundly, Christopher Pyne is now in charge of the nation’s defence. Provided no wars start, Pyne’s toughest challenges will be knocking back requests from Bronwyn Bishop for helicopter rides and making it through a photo op in a fighter jet without setting off the ejector seat.

Karen Andrews is the new Minister for Science. She has the toughest job of all ministers, trying to explain the government’s commitment to science while being drowned out by laughter. It won’t be any easier for her outside cabinet meetings either.

Having spent the last eight months wringing Social Services dry, Dan Tehan comes with the experience needed to wring Education dry.

In an attempt to prevent Peter Dutton from recruiting a supporter who can count past 40, Morrison has retained Dutton as Minister for Home Affairs. As punishment for his attempted coup, Dutton has been stripped of the Immigration portfolio. Meaning Dutton will need to demonstrate a bit of loyalty if he wants his deportation privileges back.

As the former Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash was investigated by federal police for her role in alerting media to a raid on the Australian Workers' Union. Malcolm Turnbull stood by Cash who repaid the favour by quitting the ministry and backing Peter Dutton. She now returns to cabinet as Minister for Small Business and has been instructed by Morrison to visit family businesses across the nation. Cash is now busy arranging visits to the Murdochs, the Rineharts and a number of Matthew Guy’s donors.

Another Dutton backer, Alan Tudge, has been made Minister for Cities and Population, whatever that means. Apparently Tudge will be responsible for “congestion busting”. This is the bloke who oversaw Centrelink’s robo-debt fiasco, so if you work in the city you might want to start getting up a bit earlier.

Yet another Dutton backer, Sussan Ley, returns to the cabinet. Ley was forced to resign from cabinet in 2017 after breaching parliamentary entitlement rules, which is a political term meaning “stealing from your employer”.

Demonstrating just how few friends he has, Morrison has also retained Dutton supporter Greg Hunt as Minister for Health. Previous Health Ministers in the Abboturnbulson government are Dutton, who was voted worst Health Minister in 35 years, and Ley, who was caught st…err… breaching parliamentary entitlement rules. So Hunt should be a shoo-in for their best Health Minister, even if he’s completely crap, something he’s managed pretty well so far.

Consolation prizes:

Lock up your daughter
Lock up your wife
Lock up your back door
And run for your life
Barnaby is back in town.

Since falling from grace earlier this year, Barnaby Joyce has been working hard at rehabilitating his public image. Despite failing spectacularly at that task, Joyce has been appointed ‘envoy for drought recovery and assistance’, as if he didn’t provide enough assistance to the drought when he was Minister for Water Resources. Joyce will be given the opportunity to travel and use his communication skills to connect with regional Australians. Any regional Australians wanting to communicate with Barnaby Joyce are advised to send a large breasted spokesperson to their local pub during happy hour.

Desperate to get Tony Abbott out of Canberra, Morrison has offered him the position of ‘envoy for Indigenous Affairs’. Apparently Abbott is not happy about being in that role, marking one of the very few occasions he and Indigenous Australians are in agreement.

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