The Australian prime minister on Monday announced a major Cabinet reshuffle amid intense pressure to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against women in Australian politics.
“These changes will shake up what needs to be shaken up while maintaining the momentum and the continuity and the stability that Australia needs as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession,” Scott Morrison told a press briefing.
He named Karen Andrews as the new home affairs minister, while Peter Dutton has been appointed as the defense minister and leader of the government in the House of Representatives.
Michaelia Cash will be the new attorney-general and minister for industrial relations, while Christian Porter takes the portfolio for industry, science and technology.
Premier also announced a new task force, which will led by Marise Payne, the minister for women and foreign affairs.
“These appointments will be further enhanced… to drive my government’s agenda and response to these key issues involving women’s equality, women’s safety, women’s economic security, women’s health and well-being,” the premier said.
There were no changes in treasury, finance, health, and social services.
Earlier this month, tens of thousands of women across Australia turned out to protest against sexual misconduct and harassment in the country.
The protest began in response to recent allegations of sexual assault by Brittany Higgins, a former government staffer who claimed she was raped by a senior colleague inside a senior minister’s office in 2019.
The allegations have sparked widespread concern and debate about the treatment and harassment of women in Parliament House.
On Feb. 16, the prime minister apologized to Higgins for the way her rape complaint was initially handled.