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Ministerial re-shuffle

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Following the resignation of Mr Hayden from the Ministry on 17 August and in order to avoid protracted speculation, I am announcing today changes within the Ministry which I will be recommending to the Governor General. The Governor General has agreed to my making such a statement at this time.

I do not believe it would be in the interests of an efficient transition and the effective management of the portfolios involved to bring the changes into effect immediately, on the eve of the resumption of Parliament. Accordingly, the changes I propose are prospective, to come

into effect at the beginning of the parliamentary recess with the Ministers to be sworn on 2 September.

Pending that, Ministers will continue in their present portfolios while beginning to familiarise themselves with their new assignments. Mr Duffy will continue for this interim period to have responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Trade, as already announced at the time of Mr Hayden's


Caucus will meet in the week beginning 29 August to elect a new member of the Ministry. The changes I will be recommending are as follows:

. Senator Evans to be portfolio Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

. Mr Willis to be portfolio Minister for Transport and Communications.

. Mr Morris to be Minister for Industrial Relations. Mr Morris will continue to be Minister Assisting the Treasurer.

. Senator Ray to be portfolio Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, and also as Minister Assisting me for Multicultural Affairs. He will also take over from Senator Evans

the role of Manager of Government Business in the Senate.

. Two other Ministers to be sworn to the Transport and Communications portfolio to work with Mr Willis. These Ministers will be Mr Punch and the new Minister chosen by Caucus.

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. Mr Holding to be Minister for the Arts and

Territories. Mr Holding will also be Minister Assisting the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister across the range of my


. in addition I have appointed Mr Howe as Minister Assisting me on Social Justice issues. This is in addition to Mr Howe's existing portfolio responsibilities as Minister for Social Security.

Mr Holding has indicated to me that he would not be seeking a Ministerial position after the next election. In this context he believed it appropriate, at a time when these changes are being made, to establish the opportunity for

continuity up to and beyond the next election in the important portfolio responsibility of Immigration and Ethnic A ff airs. I thank him for providing this opportunity and welcome the fact that he will continue to be involved in

this area and have responsibility for it in the House of Representatives.

These adjustments will ensure that the Government continues to have a Ministerial team of the highest calibre deployed in a way which takes full account of its policy and administrative priorities and the changing relative workloads of portfolios. There will be no changes in the number of departments or Ministers in the Cabinet and the

roles and tasks of portfolios will remain unchanged. The changes continue the objective I announced following the elections last July of enhancing Ministerial control.

Transport and communications are vital inputs to all competitive Australian industries and as such this sector will continue to be a major focus in the Government's micro-economic reform agenda. Mr Willis will be able to

continue these processes with the augmented assistance of two Ministers.

The appointment of Mr Howe demonstrates clearly the importance of social justice issues to the Government and their central role in the Government's decision-making processes. It will also formalise the assistance which Mr Howe has been giving me for some months on social justice

issues, which extend beyond the Social Security portfolio.

I have reviewed the responsibilities and workload of Home Affairs within the Administrative Services portfolio and have concluded that there is no longer a need for an additional Minister to support Mr West. This arrangement

more closely reflects current workloads between portfolios, especially now that the major tasks associated with the Government's program of electoral reform are complete, and the move to the new Parliament House, which is within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Administrative Services, has taken place.

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I w i l l b e m a k i n g a f u l l s t a t e m e n t o f t h e d e t a i l s o f t h e n e w M i n i s t r y a r r a n g e m e n t s i n c l u d i n g t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f M i n i s t e r s i n t h e o t h e r C h a m b e r , f o l l o w i n g t h e C a u c u s e l e c t i o n o f t h e n e w m e m b e r o f t h e M i n i s t r y n e x t w e e k .