Australian Opposition Forms New Frontbench

Australian Opposition Forms New Frontbench
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Sussan Ley (right) listens to newly elected Leader of the Liberal Party Peter Dutton speak to the media after a party room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on May 30, 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has announced the coalition’s frontbench after its defeat at the May 21 election—a 24-strong team that includes 10 women.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud also boasts six members of his party on the front bench.

Dutton, who was elected unopposed as leader in his party room last week to replace outgoing prime minister Scott Morrison, appointed former energy minister Angus Taylor shadow treasurer.

Mr Taylor brings “great experience into parliament and has a great capacity to hold the (Labor) government to account”, he told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.

Sussan Ley, who was also unopposed as deputy Liberal leader, will be taking on a wide range of portfolios—industry, skills and training, small and family business, and women.

Dutton said former foreign minister Marise Payne had asked not to be part of the cabinet but was persuaded to take the role of shadow cabinet secretary.

“She has had a breadth of experience, she’s been an exceptional contributor to our team over many years,” he said.

“A wise counsel and experience, I think she'll be of great assistance to us in helping us rebuild our team.”

Former attorney-general Michealia Cash becomes spokeswoman for employment, Karen Andrews is the spokeswoman for home affairs, a role she held in government, while Jane Hume becomes finance spokeswoman.

Simon Birmingham moves from finance to foreign affairs, West Australian Andrew Hastie becomes defence spokesman and Alan Tudge returns to the education portfolio in opposition.

NSW’s Julian Leeser also joins the frontbench as shadow attorney-general and spokesman for Indigenous affairs.

“What you’re seeing in this lineup is some fresh faces; we have an incredible depth of talent,” Mr Dutton said.

Littleproud said there would be six from his party on the coalition frontbench.

He takes on the role of agriculture spokesman, while new Nationals deputy Perin Davey will cover water and emergency management.

Barnaby Joyce—who Mr Littleproud defeated in a vote for the leadership last week—becomes veteran affairs spokesman.

Another former Nationals leader, Michael McCormack, will be the spokesman for international development for the Pacific in the outer ministry.

Kevin Hogan will become the trade and tourism spokesman.

Earlier, Littleproud declined to say what was in the agreement between the Liberal and National parties that form the coalition.

“It’s all about policies and you'll see those policies that we enact,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.

“You don’t ask to get underneath the closed doors of the left or the right of the Labor Party, I don’t think you need to be in the policy discussions that the Liberal Party and the National Party has.”

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