Australia’s prime minister on Saturday announced a Cabinet reshuffle after three ministers resigned over scandals and two announced that they will retire at elections due within months.
It is the second major reshuffle for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull since he came to power in September. It introduced six new ministers among 42 who must prove themselves ahead of elections due around September.
Turnbull said he did not expect to make any further ministerial changes ahead of the election. The reshuffle revitalized the government through the promotion of younger ministers, he said.
“This is transition, this is change, this is renewal and it’s very … important,” Turnbull told reporters.
The reshuffle was triggered by two key ministers — Andrew Robb and Warren Truss — announcing this week that they will retire at the next elections.
Robb has been praised for sealing bilateral free trade deals with major trading partners China, Japan and South Korea as minister for trade and investment. He is replaced by Steven Ciobo, but will remain involved in the portfolio until the elections as a special envoy for trade.
Truss’s portfolios will be shared between two experienced ministers when the new Cabinet is sworn in on Thursday.
The first resignation from Turnbull’s ministry came in late December in response to a female public servant complaining about a minister’s drunken behavior in a Hong Kong bar. Another minister resigned on Friday after an investigation found he had a potential financial interest in a trip he made to Beijing with an Australian businessman.
A third minister resigned on Saturday because a police investigation into whether he illegally accessed a House of Representative speaker’s diary was likely to drag on for months.