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Coalition MPs' first meeting since "miracle" election win


Scott Morrison has promised to govern with humility and compassion as coalition MPs and senators come together for their first post-election meeting.

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The prime minister welcomed a host of new Liberal and National colleagues to Canberra on Tuesday.

Morrison insisted his “hungry, committed and united” team would focus on the aspirations of ordinary Australians during their third term in power.

“If we keep our focus on them we will always stay true to the values that we hold dear as Liberals and Nationals in this party room,” he told colleagues at Parliament House.

“The task before us is very clear.”

While the prime minister was greeted like a rock-star, his deputy Michael McCormack was bracing for a pricklier reception when the Nationals met separately.

Some Nationals are miffed the party failed to pick up an extra portfolio in a ministerial reshuffle, and are demanding an explanation as to why the agriculture and water resources portfolios were split.

There were expectations the Nationals could receive a fourth portfolio such as trade, but its number of cabinet spots slipped from five to four after the Liberals increased their numbers in parliament.

“Well, there’s always people that are winners and losers, and I’m sure for each of them there’s disappointment, and joy for others,” Nationals backbencher Keith Pitt told reporters in Canberra.

“Anyway, that’s a decision for the leader.”

McCormack has hit back at disgruntled colleagues, saying the ministry is a simple matter of arithmetic.

The new ministry will be sworn in on Wednesday, the same day as the refreshed cabinet meets.

There are several changes in Morrison’s new ministry, including a shift from the environment portfolio to defence industry for Melissa Price, who was also demoted from cabinet.

Sussan Ley returns to cabinet, now as environment minister, while Energy Minister Angus Taylor adds emissions reduction to his responsibilities, rejoining the two policy areas.

Other changes to Morrison’s line-up include Ken Wyatt as the first indigenous Australian to be indigenous affairs minister.

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie is set to become Australia’s first female agriculture minister.

Her colleague David Littleproud – the former agriculture minister – has been given water resources, natural disasters and emergency management.

Stuart Robert was assistant treasurer but has been promoted to cabinet as government services minister and will oversee the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Alex Hawke will be international development minister and assistant defence Minister, while Alan Tudge will be population minister and Richard Colbeck will take aged care, youth and sport.

Victorian senator Mitch Fifield will quit the Senate and go to the United Nations as Australia’s ambassador, after asking to leave.

Paul Fletcher will replace him as communications minister.

NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos will replace Joe Hockey as ambassador to the United States later in the year.


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