Two of Scott Morrison’s lieutenants have been demoted in the Coalition’s new front-line lineup, with the Nationals leader warning that the previous government needs to “take its medicine” after the election defeat.
- Scott Morrison’s closest allies have been demoted in the new shadow ministry
- The new leader of the Nationals says that the party needs renewal after its electoral defeat
- Littleproud defended revamped front bench containing two former Nationals leaders
Former employment minister Stuart Robert and former immigration minister Alex Hawke were two of the biggest losers in the shadow ministry announcement of new opposition leader Peter Dutton on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Robert will not sit in the shadow cabinet, but will be appointed shadow assistant treasurer.
Hawke, a factional ally of the former prime minister in the NSW Liberal Party, has been relegated to the back bench.
Nationals leader David Littleproud rejected suggestions that the decision amounted to “drawing knives” for two of Morrison’s right-hand men, but acknowledged there needed to be some fallout after losing the government.
“We have to take our medicine, it can’t be taken any other way,” Littleproud told Channel Nine.
“They have sent us a very strong message, so we have to think about holding this government to account.
Robert was one of the most vocal supporters of his fellow Queenslander, Peter Dutton, taking the reins of the Liberal Party after last month’s election defeat.
Hawke had been embroiled in a bitter factional dispute within the NSW Liberal branch ahead of the election, accused by rank and file members of the party of delaying pre-selections in key seats to allow Morrison to pick the candidates.
The matter was quickly taken to court in the weeks before the elections were called.
The former immigration minister was asked last week if his actions hurt the Liberals’ chances.
“I think everyone has to take responsibility for what happened,” he said.
“Everything I did, I do.”
Opposition leader Peter Dutton said many factors were at play in his decision, including wanting more women to join the Coalition’s leadership and ensuring a distribution of roles for members across the country.
“Alex Hawke was a very good minister, but I saw other opportunities for the people I wanted to introduce,” he told ABC.
“I’m aware that a lot of us have been on the front bench for a period of time and we have to bring that talent forward.
“We shouldn’t be afraid of it, we should celebrate it.”
Former Nats leaders make a ‘revamp’ of the front bench
Despite advocating renewal of the front line, Littleproud defended the appointment of two of his predecessors to the opposition shadow ministry.
Former Nationals leaders Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack will take on shadow ministries in veterans affairs and international development.
“Barnaby has a great legacy that he has created in the National Party,” Littleproud said.
“It’s important that we draw on the experience of two former deputy prime ministers, both him and Michael McCormack, to make sure we have a strong culture.
“One who walks away from any angst in him, to draw on his experience and his wisdom in that party room to keep us together.”
Joyce told Channel Seven that he was honored to take on the shadow ministry of veterans affairs.
“I am a third generation of people who have served in the armed forces in my family, both my grandparents and my father and myself,” he told Channel Seven.
“Having the opportunity to care for the people who care for our nation is vitally important.”
Aware , updated