Australia's Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price adds science and tech to portfolio remit

Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims adding science and tech will compliment Melissa Price's defence responsibilities.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Australia Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has been handed the additional responsibility of taking on the Minister for Science and Technology role.

The new appointment was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday afternoon.

The prime minister said adding science and technology to Price's remit would compliment her defence responsibilities.

"It is timely, particularly given the AUKUS arrangements, we will soon be working together with the United States and the United Kingdom, linking up our industry, our science and technology supply chains, our scientists, our entrepreneurs, our technologists, and others working together to create opportunities in areas like quantum and artificial intelligence," he said.

"Of course, these responsibilities will be ensued for right across the economy, both in civil and defence uses, but it is timely to bring those two together and she will be sworn into the industry portfolio to perform those responsibilities.

"When it comes to science and technology, there is also the working together with organisations like ANSTO and the CSIRO in addressing the nuclear capabilities that will be necessary under the nuclear submarine program."

Price's appointment follows the resignation of the country's former Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter last month.

Porter resigned after revealing he received donations to help fund his defamation case against the ABC for its coverage of his sexual assault allegations. The funds were provided to Porter via a blind trust, which was set up so Porter did not know how much money he received, where it came from, and who manages it.

At the time, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor was named to take over the post. He will, however, get to keep Industry, where he will now be known as Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction.

"His job here is to ensure the sovereignty of Australia, to ensure our homegrown capabilities and critical supplies is there for the future," Morrison said.

"Building on the Modern Manufacturing initiative and the important programs right across a suite of areas that were engaged in the clean energy technology supply chains of the future … these are important initiatives for Australia's sovereignty."

Alongside these announcements, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke has been handed a promotion to join the cabinet while retaining all of his existing responsibilities, while Assistant Minister Ben Morton will be given the responsibilities of Special Minister of State, Minister for Public Services, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson will enter the executive and take on the responsibility of Assistant Minister for Industry, Energy, and Emissions Reduction. 

Also on Friday, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her resignation from her role and state Parliament, ahead of a public statement made by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that declared it would conduct further investigations into allegations about whether she breached public trust or whether was involved in activities that encouraged corrupt conduct during her personal relationship at the time with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

"It pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign the office of Premier. My resignation will take effect as soon as the New South Wales Liberal party can elect a new Parliamentary leader," she said. 

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