If a cabinet reflects the plans and priorities of a new government, then the Liberals have been very clear about what kind of government we should expect. Ministries devoted to homelessness, youth, workplace relations, mental health, ageing, multiculturalism, child care, science and international development have been cut or relegated.
A ministry for border protection has been created to make it clear what Australia’s immigration policy is really about.
While every member of the new cabinet is worthy of their own shit-sheet, Jade Eckhaus takes a special look at a few.
Tony Abbott, PM and responsible for women’s policies
Once said: “It would be folly to expect that women would ever approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, their abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
His appointment as, in effect, women’s minister is as apt as Pauline Hanson being made minister for multiculturalism.
Told an audience in regional Victoria in 2009 that “the climate change argument is absolute crap.”
Eric Abetz, minister for employment
A notorious homophobe who doesn’t support same sex marriage rights because they would “lead to polygamy” and are “socially destructive”.
Last year he spoke at a national marriage day rally against same sex marriage. The rally sang a song called “Stand Up For Marriage” set to the tune of Waltzing Matilda. So it is a little rich for him to lecture anyone about being socially destructive.
In 2006, he described the campaign against the export of Tasmanian woodchips as “akin to treason”.
Peter Dutton, minister for health
Referred to as a boring no-hoper in the capitalist press. But his problem is being a racist moron.
He was one of the Liberal MPs who refused to stay in the House in 2008 when former PM Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations.
Dutton also defended and agreed with former Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey when he said that acknowledging traditional landowners at official events was a “farce” and that he had “never thanked anyone for the right to be on the soil that is Australian”.
Kevin Andrews, minister for social services
The jerk minister for employment and workplace relations who oversaw the implementation of WorkChoices.
He is also a racist. In 2007, when immigration minister, he cut Australia’s refugee intake from Africa because Sudanese refugees were not “settling in and adjusting to the Australian way of life”.
Andrews is an adviser to the board of Life Decisions International – an anti-choice group that campaigns for chastity and boycotts corporations that support abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research or what it calls sexual promiscuity.
He supports the Endeavour Forum, a group that describes its aims as “to counter feminism, defend the unborn, and the traditional family”.
In his book Maybe “I do”: modern marriage and the pursuit of happiness, he argued that marriage can stop you getting cancer.
Shame he wasn’t made the health minister.
Scott Morrison, minister for immigration and border protection
Well-known racist refugee basher.
In December 2010, 48 refugees died when their vessel smashed into the rocks at Christmas Island. Morrison demanded to know why the Labor government paid for relatives of the victims to travel to their funerals.
In 2011, he allegedly made comments in shadow cabinet suggesting that the Coalition should take advantage of the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the so-called “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate.
In February he said that the police should be notified where asylum seekers are living in the community.
Julie Bishop, minister for foreign affairs
Former education minister who promotes performance pay for teachers.
She previously complained that that school curriculum comes “straight from Chairman Mao”, even though it was her government that insisted that Iraq could be liberated through the barrel of a gun.
Lamented that “we have gone from teaching Latin in year 12 to teaching remedial English in first-year university”. Exactly how Latin is more useful she declined to elaborate.
Bishop defended Israel over its forging of Australian passports in the assassination of Palestinian resistance leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh.
Warren Truss, deputy prime minister
Doesn’t support abortion and worries that women see abortion drugs like RU486 as the “easy way out”.
He’s a borderline flat earther who denies that we can understand Australia’s drastically changing climate in terms of climate change.
He instead offers this explanation: “Australia’s climate, it’s changing, it’s changeable. We have hot times, we have cold times …” Brilliant scientific analysis.
Truss is offended by the acknowledgement of First Peoples preceding the parliamentary prayer. He says that it denigrates the country’s Christian heritage to acknowledge Aboriginal people.