As I said in the Party Room this morning, this is a term of Government when we deliver on our policies, on our programs, on the great investments that we set in train. This is a term of Government where we ensure that Australians see their Government serving them. It has been an election in which politicians have contended but the election is about all of the Australian people.
What I am announcing today is the team, the Ministry that I will be recommending to his Excellency the Governor-General tomorrow.
I indicated consistently before and during the election campaign that the Ministry I took to the election would be the Ministry I led after the election.
The team that I am announcing today will deliver on the economic plan and the Budget strategy we put to the Australian people.
As the re-elected Coalition Government we have a clear mandate to proceed with our policies. We are committed to three years of strong, stable economic leadership so we can provide both the economic security and the national security that Australians expect and deserve.
This includes our legislative priorities for the 45th Parliament. The ABCC, the Australian Building and Construction Commission and Registered Organisations legislation, the amendment of the Fair Work Act to protect the independence of the Country Fire Authority volunteers and our Budget legislation.
Budget repair will be a front of mind issue for this entire Parliament. This has been reinforced by the three ratings agencies following the campaign. Only the Coalition has a credible fiscal strategy. Labor promises – as we saw during the campaign - higher spending, higher taxes, higher debt and deficits.
We will be implementing our mental health policy and Health Care Home policy, as an important reaffirmation of our commitment to a first-class health system - a first-class universal health system. I have met and spoken with the new President of the AMA and I am confident we will have a better working relationship with the AMA and its general practitioner membership.
We will be rolling out our historic defence industry investment, building new jobs and opportunities in the advanced manufacturing sector right across the national supply chain, for businesses big and small.
This will be transformative for our economy.
When it comes to the Ministry, there will be as you know greater representation for the National Party because the Nationals hold a greater share of the Coalition Party Room after the election. I think it was at this very podium, in this very spot where John Howard said some years ago ‘politics is governed by the iron laws of arithmetic.’ So it is true.
Two members of our Ministry were not returned, two members of the House of Representatives, Wyatt Roy and Peter Hendy. I want to thank them for their service and their contribution to the Government as Assistant Ministers.
Counting is still underway in the Senate as you know. Unfortunately Senator Richard Colbeck, a Minister in the Government is not assured of retaining his Senate seat. I have therefore decided not to reappoint Senator Colbeck whom I also thank for his service as a Minister. If he is, when the count is finalised returned there would be no barrier of course, to his returning to the Ministry in the future of course.
All Cabinet Ministers I appointed last term will be re-appointed. There are some changes of role and title.
Senator Fiona Nash will add Local Government and Territories to her Regional Development and Regional Communications roles.
Christopher Pyne will be appointed to the new role of Minister for Defence Industry, within the Defence portfolio. Mr Pyne will be responsible for overseeing our new Defence Industry Plan that came out of the Defence White Paper. This includes the most significant naval shipbuilding program since the Second World War. This is a key national economic development role. This program is vitally important for the future of Australian industry and especially advanced manufacturing. The Minister for Defence Industry will oversee the Naval Shipbuilding Plan which will itself create 3,600 new direct jobs and thousands more across the supply chain across Australia. Beyond shipbuilding, there is a massive Defence Industry Investment and Acquisition Program on land, in the air and inside cyberspace. This is a massive step change set out in the Defence White Paper. This investment in Defence Industry, as you know, is a key part of our economic plan. It will drive the jobs and the growth in advanced manufacturing, in technology, right across the country. And I'm appointing Christopher to be the Minister to oversee that and ensure that those projects are delivered.
As I said at the outset, this is a term of government for delivery. We will be judged in 2019 by the Australian people as to whether we have delivered on the plans and the programs and the investments that we have promised and set out and described in the lead-up to the election.
Greg Hunt will move from Environment to become the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, where he will drive the National Innovation and Science Agenda. Can I say that Mr Hunt has been an outstanding Environment Minister and he served in that portfolio in Government and indeed, in opposition. He has a keen understanding of innovation, he has a keen understanding of science and technology and he will give new leadership to that important portfolio and those important agendas so central to our economic plan.
Josh Frydenberg will move to the expanded Environment and Energy portfolio combining all the key energy policy areas. These include energy security and domestic energy markets for which he has been previously responsible in the current portfolio. Renewable energy targets, clean energy development and financing and emission reduction mechanisms which are part of Environment.
Senator Matt Canavan will be promoted to Cabinet as the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and I welcome Senator Canavan to the Cabinet in this key economic development role.
Kelly O'Dwyer, currently the Assistant Treasurer will hold the title for Revenue and Financial Services, which better describes her full role and responsibilities than does the title - albeit a very ancient and honoured title - of Assistant Treasurer. Her role is better described by that more accurate and I think contemporary ministerial title.
Turning to the Outer Ministry, Paul Fletcher will become the Minister for Urban Infrastructure. Again, this is clarifying his current role. One of his key priorities is the Western Sydney Airport. Again, Paul will be focusing on delivery of these big projects ensuring that they are delivered - that by 2019, Australians see we are making real progress on delivering those important projects we've described.
Senator Scott Ryan will become the Special Minister of State, part of the Finance Portfolio as you know and also the Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary.
Dan Tehan will become the Minister for Defence Personnel and continue of course as the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. Dan will take on the new role of Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, which of course, is one of the recommendations of the Cyber Security review released before the election.
Michael McCormack will become the Minister for Small Business in the Treasury portfolio.
Turning now to the Parliamentary Secretaries, who will continue to be known as Assistant Ministers.
Karen Andrews will become the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.
Alex Hawke will become the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Keith Pitt will become the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
And Craig Laundy will become the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.
There are three new appointments as Assistant Ministers.
Luke Hartsuyker will be appointed Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Senator Zed Seselja will be appointed Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs.
And Dr David Gillespie will be appointed Assistant Minister for Rural Health, a responsibility previously held directly, as you know, by Senator Nash.
I welcome Luke's return to the Executive and the new appointments for Zed and David.
Other than these changes, all other Cabinet Ministers, Ministers and Assistant Ministers will continue in their current roles. This provides stability and continuity at a time when there are great opportunities ahead for Australia. But also, as we know, significant economic and fiscal challenges.
My team will now get on with the job of governing - constructively working and engaging with the other parties in the Parliament, to deliver a strong and secure future - the strong economic leadership that Australians expect and will get from my Government. Thank you.
You've left Sussan Ley in Health. Are you confident Ms Ley will be able to elevate health as a priority?
I have confidence in all of my Ministers including the one you have asked me about.
And Small Business has that been taken from Kelly O’Dwyer?
Yes that’s right. Kelly O'Dwyer has been the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business and she will now become, as you heard, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services and the Small Business portfolio will be held by Michael McCormack.
Is that to get Ms O’Dwyer to concentrate more on the superannuation side of things?
Kelly has an enormous responsibility in those areas that she's currently dealing with as Assistant Treasurer, better described, I think - I think it's clear - as Minister for Revenue and Financial Services. The Small Business portfolio was also very important and as part of the rearrangement of portfolios consequent on the change of numbers, Michael McCormack's been elevated to the outer Ministry and he's holding that position.
Prime Minister could you have done more with this Ministerial change to reach out to conservative members of the Liberal Party? There are promotions here for members of the Nationals but not much for the Liberals. Will they feel left out?
Well David I'm not going to put conservative or moderate or Liberal tags on my colleagues. I have made big changes to the Ministry only a few months ago consequent upon a number of retirements, including two Cabinet Ministers, Warren Truss and Andrew Robb. So it is - most of the Ministers who have held their job in the ministry as it exists today, prior to the swearing-in tomorrow, have held their jobs for a relatively short time. So that's why I've said at the election - that the ministry I take to the election, will be the ministry I lead afterwards and the changes have been consequent upon the decisions of the electorate and several Ministers - Assistant Ministers - losing their seats and obviously the changes in the representation of the National Party.
You said it was so important to consult with Indigenous people, or not make decisions to Indigenous. Did you consult any Indigenous people before reappointing Nigel Scullion as Indigenous Affairs Minister?
Nigel has been doing an outstanding job as Indigenous Affairs Minister and I am delighted that he is continuing in that role. I have met with many Indigenous people, including recently at the handover or conclusion, if you like, of the title deeds of the Kenbi land claim in Darwin not so long ago, which I think many of you were present at.
On Mr Pyne's new role, can you give an assurance that Defence contracts will be shared across the country on merit and this won't just be an excuse for pork-barrelling South Australia in any way?
Mr Pyne, as he has in every portfolio he's had - as all of us are - are Ministers responsible for all of Australia. As you know, I used to be directly responsible for the NBN. That's a very big project. A $50 billion project. The naval shipbuilding plan alone is nearly twice as big as that. What we are doing in the Defence Industry is completely transformational. We are building a Defence Industry in Australia and this is not - this is a - people do not entirely recognise how big a change it is. This is a big change, a big reform and it requires additional leadership and additional oversight, additional advocacy and drive, and that's why we have two great Cabinet Ministers - Marise Payne is an outstanding Defence Minister and we have in Christopher Pyne someone whose energy is, perhaps legendary and he will need all of that to ensure that these projects are being delivered. This is all about delivery. This is three years of delivery. In three years' time, you will be asking me here about what we have delivered and that will be the KPIs, because we have set out our plan.
We have parliament resuming on August 30, what's your thinking with the tax cut legislation? Will you just introduce the small business tax cuts, then move on to medium, and then large? Or all in one go?
No, the Budget legislation will be introduced as described. Obviously there is a Cabinet process and a joint party room process. At this stage, we don't know who's in the Senate yet. The Senate count is progressing. We hope the writs will be returned on the 8th of August.
Can you describe what the legislation would look like that you would bring?
Well, the tax cuts that go into operation from the 1st of July, I think as the Treasurer has described earlier, will be legislated. The issue was the 1st of July has come and gone and this is the question about whether they can be legislated. The answer is yes, they can be and that people will be adjusted and their tax returns will be adjusted so that they will be in the same position at the end of the tax year as they would have been if the legislation had been in place on the 1st of July.
Prime Minister, we've often heard from you and from your senior ministers about the importance of small business to the economy. For example, with your small business tax cut. Why have you then taken out the Small Business Minister from Cabinet? Is he less important now?
Every Minister is a Minister for Small Business. Small business is the very engine room of our economy. I talk about small business, I think about small business, all the time, so does the Treasurer, it is absolutely fundamental. There is a portfolio of Small Business which has certain responsibilities, and that is going to Michael McCormack, who is a great member, a very talented man, as I'm sure you know him well. Everyone is focused on small business.
We were just talking about the Defence Industry Plan. We have a whole centre of defence capability and investments set up to encourage small businesses to get engaged with defence. It's one of my great passions and one of the KPIs I'm setting for myself, is ensuring that the Government does more with small business, because very often government makes itself hard to deal with for a small business. The government itself is a big business, it's a big bureaucracy, if you like, and often finds it easier to deal with other big bureaucracies in the corporate world. So we're changing that. You can see we're doing that in, for example, with Indigenous procurement directed at Indigenous-owned companies and Nigel Scullion's had enormous success with that.
Right across the board, small business is a relentless focus of every minister, although there is one minister who has that as his title.
Does Kevin Rudd have your backing for the UN Secretary-General position?
As the Foreign Minister has said and I think I've said on many occasions, this is a matter that we will consider in the Cabinet.
You put a lot of emphasis on budget repair in your opening remarks. Does this mean that you're thinking of new efforts in that direction, and would you like to get the Budget back to balance before the '20-'21 aim that’s presently there?
Michelle, what we have is a Budget - we've set it out. Our economic plan is the Budget, we took that to the election. Australians can see how we are bringing that deficit down. Budget repair is absolutely critical. I made the point about the ratings agencies - it is vitally important for everyone, for the economy, for every business, large or indeed very small, that the Australian Government is seen to be responsibly managed, that our fiscal affairs are responsibly managed, and that we are bringing that deficit down. So we'll continue to do that.
Clearly, again, we don't know who will be in the Senate yet, but we will be engaging with the new Senate very constructively. I am determined to do everything I can - obviously there are 226 members and senators, so our aim is to work with all of them, as far as we can, to ensure that we achieve all of those objectives that we set out in the Budget. Budget repair is an absolutely critical one. We have to live within our means. That's fundamental.
Some prominent media personalities this morning - namely Sonia Kruger and Andrew Bolt - have called for the Australian Government to stop taking Muslim immigrants in the wake of the latest terror attacks in France. Their argument is that the higher the number of Muslim immigrants, the higher the likelihood of terror attacks. What do you make of that argument? What's your view?
As you know - I'm not going to run a commentary on the commentators but, as you know, Australia has a non-discriminatory immigration program and a non-discriminatory humanitarian program and has done for many, many years and that is not going to change.
Thank you all, very much.