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Morrison puts new ministry to work

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Scott Morrison wants his new ministry to get straight to work to make it easier for Australians to access government services.

 

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The prime minister put his own stamp on the ministry and cabinet after making minimal changes when he first took over as leader in August last year.

“A key focus for all of my ministers and their departments will be lifting performance on government service delivery,” Morrison said on Sunday.

“This will include congestion busting on regulatory and bureaucratic roadblocks, making better use of technology and better integrating service delivery across portfolios.

“The goal is to make it easier to deal with and access the government services Australians rely on.”

But his appointment of key ally Stuart Robert to cabinet as Government Services Minister attracted strong criticism from Labor.

“The idea that Stuart Robert is being given cabinet responsibility for anything says everything about the exodus of talent that has occurred,” Labor deputy leadership hopeful Richard Marles told reporters.

Robert was forced to quit the ministry in 2016 after it was revealed he misrepresented a private trip to China to support a Liberal party donor as official government business.

In 2017 it was revealed his parents didn’t know they were directors of Robert’s IT company, which had won millions of dollars of government work.

In 2018 Robert had to pay back nearly $38,000 to taxpayers after it emerged he was charging them almost $2000 a month for his home internet bill.

The prime minister’s commitment to the Pacific region is also clear, with The Australian reporting Morrison’s first trip overseas trip since re-election will be to the Solomon Islands.

He’s promoted Sydney Liberal Alex Hawke to the job of International Development Minister and assistant Defence Minister, in a bid to build stronger defence and economic ties with the Pacific.

In recent days, a United States official has also urged Pacific countries with diplomatic ties with Taiwan to maintain them, in the face of pressure from China to reduce Taiwan’s overseas contracts.

After naming Ken Wyatt his Indigenous Affairs Minister, Morrison has also confirmed he wants an outcome on the issue of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

But he has no particular time frame in mind for how long that could take, according to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“We need to work together across the aisle and across our communities to get an outcome that all Australians can get behind and we’ll take as long as is needed to achieve that,” he said in an interview.

-AAP

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