Scott Morrison’s ministry sworn in at Government House
The swearing-in of Scott Morrison’s new ministers has shown a more human side of Australia’s most senior politicians, with assistant defence Minister Alex Hawke looking like any young father attempting to wrangle a pram as he arrived at Government House.
But the ceremony was historically significant for all the right reasons — Western Australian Liberal MP Ken Wyatt became the country’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister.
The moment was not lost on those in the room.
Mr Wyatt, who wore a traditional kangaroo skin called a booka gifted to him by the Noongar people, received a standing ovation from his colleagues as he was sworn-in as the Minister for Indigenous Australians.
The Prime Minister singled out Mr Wyatt for a photo on the steps of Government House after the ceremony, clearly thrilled about the appointment.
“Okay, now I’m just going to have one with Ken. Where’s Ken?” he said.
Addressing his cabinet in Parliament House, which met for the first time after the swearing-in, Mr Morrison said it was an important day for all Australians but particularly indigenous Australians.
Talking directly to Mr Wyatt, the Prime Minister said: “It’s been a long time for an indigenous Australian to sit around this room, particularly in the portfolio that you now hold. We’re all as one with you.
“The great task that we have to ensure that all Australians, and in particular indigenous Australians, have the same opportunities as every other Australian in this country. We’re all absolutely committed and determined to achieve that outcome.”
While former deputy Liberal leader and foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop was not on hand to direct group photos, Mr Morrison managed to pose with frontbenchers from every state and even had a stand-alone picture with ACT senator and assistance finance minister Zed Seselja.
“How good, how good,” Mr Morrison said of his colleagues as they posed for the class photo.
There was a heavy focus on women, with Mr Morrison ensuring the seven female cabinet ministers and four female MPs in the outer ministry had their own photo.
Those entering the ministry for the first time include Luke Howarth and Trevor Evans from Queensland, Jason Wood and Jane Hume from Victoria, Jonathon Duniam from Tasmania and Nola Marino from Western Australia.
The national security committee will also meet in Parliament House for the first time today.
“I, Scott John Morrison, do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia, in the offices of Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service, and that I’ll be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, so help me God,” Mr Morrison said, ahead of his team arriving at the event in Canberra.
Sussan Ley, Stuart Robert, Alan Tudge, Anne Ruston and Linda Reynolds have been promoted to cabinet.
All of the frontbenchers received an Australian flag stickpin, which Mr Morrison has worn since he was immigration minister in the Abbott government.
The 46th parliament is expected to open in the first week of July.