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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:33, January 23, 2007
Australian PM announces ministerial reshuffle
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Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday announced a ministerial reshuffle in preparation for the federal election in late 2007.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone and Vocational and Technical Education Minister Gary Hardgrave were dumped from the government frontbench.

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews was moved from his portfolio to Immigration. He will be new immigration minister.

Human Services Minister Joe Hockey will take over the portfolio from Andrews.

The change of workplace relations portfolio is believed to be crucial to the government's re-election chances, as the government's recent new workplace laws encountered strong opposition from the unions and the opposition parties.

Arts and Sports Minister Rod Kemp, who is retiring at the next election, is standing aside from the ministry. He will be replaced by Liberal senator George Brandis.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell has been demoted to the human services portfolio, a non-cabinet post.

Former merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull has been elevated to Cabinet as environment minister, taking in water resources.

Howard hinted Vanstone may be in line for a diplomatic posting, saying she "retains an enthusiasm for future public service".

Howard said he would rename the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

"The whole purpose of immigration is to recruit more people to the broader Australian family," Howard said.

Country Liberal Party senator Nigel Scullion will take place of Nationals MP John Cobb as minister for community services.

Howard said the swearing in the new ministers and parliamentary secretaries will take place next Tuesday.

The prime minister said he was confident he had picked a strong team leading into this election year.

"I've given a great deal of thought, as you might expect, to this new line up. I think it is strong without in any way reflecting the adversity or performance of people who have held other portfolios," he said.

"I think it is an effective concentration of the fire power of the prominent people within the government," he added.

Source: Xinhua

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