Daniel McCulloch and Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)
There are plenty of kangaroos in the grounds of Government House.
But Ken Wyatt has made history by being the first cabinet minister to wear a kangaroo skin to a function in the Governor-General’s official Canberra residence.
Mr Wyatt, the member for the West Australian seat of Hasluck, received a rapturous applause as he was sworn in on Wednesday as the first indigenous person to take on the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in cabinet.
The traditional kangaroo skin, called a “booka” was given to him by the Noongar people of southwest WA.
“Can I ask all those, other than His Excellency, of course, to stand to welcome the first indigenous member of cabinet … the Honourable Ken Wyatt AM, MP, as Minister for Indigenous Australians,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Mr Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack were the first to be sworn in at the ceremony, accompanied by their families.
All of the frontbenchers received an Australian flag stickpin, which Mr Morrison has made a feature of his daily dress-code since taking up the Liberal leadership in August last year.
The new Morrison frontbench largely keeps key positions in place but also promotes some first-timers to new roles.
The cabinet will include seven women.
Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie will be Australia’s first female agriculture minister.
In the first post-election meeting with coalition MPs on Tuesday, Mr Morrison insisted his “hungry, committed and united” team would focus on the aspirations of ordinary Australians during their third term in power.
“They are the reason we have the opportunity and the great privilege to serve them each and every day,” he told colleagues.
“We must burn for the Australian people every single day that we have this privilege of serving them, in this party room and as a government.”
The prime minister warned his ministers there was a wealth of talent within the government’s ranks to keep the pressure on them to perform.
And he told his backbench colleagues he and his office would be accessible to them and he expected the same from his ministers.
The 46th parliament is expected to open in the first week of July.
KEY CHANGES IN MORRISON CABINET
– Bridget McKenzie is Australia’s first female Agriculture Minister
– Sussan Ley moves back into cabinet as environment minister, replacing Melissa Price
– Ken Wyatt moves into cabinet as first indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians, replacing retiring senator Nigel Scullion
– Alan Tudge moves into cabinet, retaining previous role as Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure
– Stuart Robert moves into cabinet as Minister for NDIS and Government Services
– Senator Anne Ruston moves into cabinet to be Minister for Families and Social Services, replacing Paul Fletcher
– David Littleproud shifts to a new role as Minister for Water Resources, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster & Emergency Management
– Angus Taylor adds Emissions Reduction to his Energy portfolio
– Greg Hunt retains the Health portfolio and adds Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service & Cabinet
– Paul Fletcher moves to the new portfolio of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, replacing Mitch Fifield who will be UN ambassador
– Christian Porter adds Industrial Relations to his role as Attorney-General and serves as Leader of the House, replacing the retired Christopher Pyne
– Michaelia Cash serves in a new role as Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
– Linda Reynolds becomes Minister for Defence, replacing Christopher Pyne