Australia's New Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Appoints a Cabinet

Australia’s New Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Appoints a Cabinet

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Scott Morrison, Australia’s new prime minister, said his “new generation team” would “begin the process of healing.”CreditCreditLukas Coch/EPA, via Shutterstock

SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s new prime minister announced his cabinet on Sunday, replacing the foreign affairs minister and redistributing responsibility for two of the most divisive issues for his party and conservative politics: immigration and climate change.

Scott Morrison, 50, who became prime minister on Friday after a feud inside the governing Liberal Party toppled Malcolm Turnbull, said his “new generation team” would “begin the process of healing.”

“I know this team can deliver the economy we need, the safety we need, and the togetherness we need,” he said.

The appointments include newcomers as well as holdovers. But even as Mr. Morrison promised some continuity, it was clear from his appointments that the rift — which produced Australia’s sixth prime minister since 2010 — is far from resolved and will continue to shape the country.

[What are politicians failing to do while they fight for power? Read this week’s Australia Letter and tell us the impact you see in your life.]

The most significant changes in the cabinet involve Australia’s relationship to the world. Julie Bishop, 62, the widely respected foreign minister under Mr. Turnbull, resigned on Sunday before Mr. Morrison’s announcement, removing herself from contention after losing the three-person contest to succeed Mr. Turnbull.

Mr. Morrison replaced her with Marise Payne, 54, who most recently served as defense minister and spent much of last week meeting with American officials about security in the region. Ms. Bishop had recommended Ms. Payne, but the shift was greeted with disappointment in some corners of the Liberal Party.

Polls have consistently shown that Ms. Bishop is the party’s most popular figure with voters.

“Future female Liberal leaders must be looking at this result and learning that competence, loyalty and vote appeal are not enough to win the top job,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in the state of Queensland.

She described the ouster of Mr. Turnbull, engineered by conservative male lawmakers, as “a terrible display of toxic masculinity” that pushed out talent and eroded faith in democracy.

One lawmaker who mounted that challenge, only to lose in the final party vote — Peter Dutton, 47, a former police officer from Queensland — will return to the cabinet. He was appointed on Sunday to a role he has held before, home affairs minister, but with a redefined portfolio. Immigration will now be a ministry of its own, led by David Coleman, 44, a lawmaker from a multicultural district of New South Wales.

Mr. Morrison said that Mr. Dutton would focus primarily on security and law enforcement, leaving immigration, citizenship and multicultural issues to others — signaling a demotion for the anti-immigrant politics that Mr. Dutton has become known for.

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Alan Tudge, 47, becomes the minister for cities, urban infrastructure and population, a position the new prime minister described as “the minister for ‘congestion busting,’” as Australia seeks to manage the impact of population growth in its cities.

The energy and environment portfolios are also being reorganized. They were managed by a single ministry, under Josh Frydenberg, who has been promoted and is now Mr. Morrison’s deputy.

But that combination of issues was Mr. Turnbull’s undoing; the challenge to his leadership began after conservatives rejected Mr. Turnbull’s proposal to reduce energy prices and emissions with a single piece of legislation called the National Energy Guarantee.

Angus Taylor, 51, becomes energy minister, and Melissa Price, 54, environment minister. Mr. Morrison noted that the government’s focus would now be on “more and new and innovative ways” to reduce energy prices.

He did not mention climate change or emissions at any point in his announcement.

He said he would travel on Monday to western Queensland to meet farmers affected by a punishing drought that has devastated an area larger than Texas.

Follow Damien Cave on Twitter: @damiencave.

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