Andrews takes over at Home Affairs as Dutton moves into Defence

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reshuffled his ministry as government seeks to escape its current mire.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reshuffled his ministry on Monday, with ministers Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds that are currently away on leave remaining in the ministry.

After being the first Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton has been shifted to Defence and become the government's leader in the House of Representatives.

Taking Dutton's place is Karen Andrews, who leaves the role of Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

With Porter currently on leave and undertaking a defamation action against the ABC over historical rape allegations, the Western Australian MP has handed many of his duties over to Senator Michaelia Cash. That arrangement was formalised on Monday, as Cash becomes Attorney-General, with Porter filling the role vacated by Andrews.

Also on leave is Senator Reynolds, however, Morrison has seen it fit to shift her from Defence to Minister for Government Services and NDIS.

Now former Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert will now be Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business. Asked why Stuart Robert should be promoted after overseeing robodebt, getting taxpayers to pay over AU$2,000 a month for his home internet, and falsely blaming a DDoS attack for government IT issues, Morrison pointed to the government's ability to get money into the hands of citizens.

"The reason that millions were able to get access and support through both particularly for the JobSeeker payment over the course of the pandemic was a direct result of that minister's ability to scale up and put in place one of the most significant responses we've ever seen from a social security agency in this country in our history," Morrison said.

"He's been appointed to this job because he's done an outstanding job in the one that he's been doing."

See also: The people of Australia are a DDoS machine that the government cannot handle

The prime minister also lashed out at social media as being a "key degrader" of respect in Australia.

"It can be a very dangerous tool in disrespectful hands, and we've seen that with the trolling and abuse and harassment particularly of women," he said.

"Our government has stood up to the big tech companies on this like no other government in the world, and we have taken on the fights with them that no others would."

The government is trying to protect its razor-thin majority after a Queensland MP said he would stand down at the next election following allegations he had been trolling women online and taking upskirt photos.

"He is committed to undertake the behavioural change he needs to undertake, and that's what he needs to do, and he needs to come back with a completely different attitude and a completely different behaviour," the prime minister said.

"He was elected to this place by the people in his electorate."

Over the weekend, TV network Channel Nine was hit by a cyber attack, reportedly one involving ransomware, which prevented it broadcasting some live shows. The network said the attack had hit its email and editing systems.

Back in Canberra, the email systems of Parliament, provided by the Department of Parliamentary Services, were reportedly down. The attack was said to be "unsophisticated" and "clumsy".

Foreign Minister and acting Defence Minister Marise Payne said the events were a "salutary reminder" for businesses to implement the Essential Eight cyber controls.

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