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Brandis tipped to replace Downer in UK

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Attorney-General George Brandis will reportedly quit the Senate and become the next UK High Commissioner, replacing South Australian Alexander Downer.

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The decision for him to succeed Downer in the plum post s expected to be confirmed in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sometime this week, multiple reports suggest today.

Labor has blasted the long-rumoured move, saying diplomatic posts shouldn’t be used to solve “cabinet staffing problems”.

“I just wish that the government would spend as much time worrying about the jobs of Australians as they spend worrying about the jobs of inconvenient cabinet ministers being shuffled off to appointments overseas,” deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.

The prime minister is also understood to be considering returning former minister Sussan Ley to the ministry.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson could not confirm Brandis’ move but conceded there would be a reshuffle this week.

“The reality is governments always need a bit of a refresh mid-term,” he told Sky News.

New deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie is expected to be promoted to cabinet in the shake-up, to take the spot left by Fiona Nash who was disqualified for being a dual citizen.

Scott Ryan’s move replacing Stephen Parry as Senate president, after he was also disqualified, has created another cabinet vacancy.

There are also questions over the ministerial future of Arthur Sinodinos, who is battling illness.

– AAP

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