With the end of season looming, Rob Idol has your form guide to Malcolm Turnbull’s new squad as they march towards Grand Final day.
Yesterday was moving day in the democratic cauldron of Australian diplomacy. Newly-minted team captain Malcolm Turnbull rung in the changes, shifting some players into positions they’ve yet to wear the shirt of. But will the captain look back on his roster changes positively after the fat lady has sung? Welcome to the world of adult sports; politics.
Warren Truss – Vice-Captain – Infrastructure & Regional Development
Original Club: Wide Bay, QLD
As leader of the team’s feeder club, he was never in doubt. He and his Nationals have had a prickly relationship in past seasons with the new Captain, which should make their on-field dynamic an interesting one, despite the outward claims of mended fences.
Julie Bishop – Deputy Vice-Captain – Foreign Minister
Original Club: Curtin Electorate, WA
In a move that most bookies expected, our own Lady Macbeth has been given the Foreign Minister Portfolio. After an impressive debut season in the role, she’s done enough to cement her spot. A real stayer.
Scott Morrison – Treasury
Original Club: Cook Electorate, NSW
The flying right winger has been biding his time in the backfield of Social Services. He has lurked around the edges of the action, waiting for Joe Hockey to spill, and it appears that time is now. His amazing knack of avoiding the hardest of hits has paid off, resulting in one of the most important responsibilities at the club…he has the foot on the till.
Christopher Pyne – Industry, Innovation and Science
Original Club: Sturt Electorate, SA
The scrappy South Aussie is the guy lauded by his own and despised by the opposition. Not one to shy away from the odd cheap shot inside a pack, he has struggled to find his feet in the Education Portfolio, copping more boos from the sideline than Adam Goodes. He had been tipped to get the Defence Portfolio, a strategy sure to increase hometown support for him and the rest of his team. Rather, he has been given Industry, Innovation and Science – a positive sign of things to come from the Turnbull Government with a renewed focus on science. Maybe he’ll now understand the importance of cheap and easy access to education to promote Industry, Innovation and Science. Loosely know around the change rooms as “Oil”
Marise Payne – Defence
Original Club: Western Sydney, NSW
Not a shock inclusion, but a shock new role. Looking to stay true to his promise to be more inclusive to the fairer sex, Turnbull has appointed Australia’s first ever female Defence Minister. The Payne Train is known as a hard worker, and in marshalling the defense is expected to breathe new life into this increasingly important position.
Mathias Cormann – Finance
Original Club: Western Australia via Belgium
Little is truly known about this International export, but this German-speaking Belgian has done enough to hold his spot in the team, despite his unwavering public support for the previous captain.
Kelly O’Dwyer – Small Business and Assistant Treasurer
Original Club: Higgins, VIC
Unexpectedly replacing crowd favourite Barnstormin’ Bruce Billson is media impresario and new mum Kelly O’Dwyer. A former advisor to the economic powerhouse, “Prudent Pete” Costello, O’Dwyer can be expected to hit the ground running. Appointed as Assistant Treasurer (now a cabinet position), she has the mighty honour of becoming the first female in Australia to be responsible for an economic or treasury portfolio. OOOOOOOO’DWYER!
Greg Hunt – Environment
Original Club: Flinders, VIC
In an interesting move, this former consultant and strategist has retained one of the more contentious parts of the field, the Environment. Whilst his own team have been impressed with his ability to fake and shut down opposition players, he sometimes gets confused between which is the opposition and which is the section of the ground he is supposed to be protecting.
Michaelia Cash – Employment and Women
Original Club: WA
A lifelong Liberal and former employment lawyer, Cash was the obvious choice to replace staunch Abbottite Eric Abetz. Her strong background in employment law and industrial relations will hold her in good stead. Not to mention her qualification as a female in being appointed Minister for Women – a qualification the previous Captain deemed unnecessary.
Simon Birmingham – Education
Original Club: South Australia
Despite making sandwiches for the South Australian turncoat, Martin Hamilton Smith, Simon Birmingham has nonetheless been rewarded for his loyalty with a spot in the starting lineup. A long time ally of the new captain, his inclusion is no surprise. As the former assistant in this role, he should be able to pick up where Pyne left off, hopefully with more ball security.
Barnaby Joyce – Agriculture and Water
Original Club: New England, NSW
Known for psyching out opponents with crazy eyes, this Tamworthian battler wrote his own name on the team sheet. In pen. Despite international denouncement from an erudite Seppo and his dog, this former farm boy plays with a reckless assuredness, as if it is his second time around the big league.
Christian Porter – Social Services
Original Club: Pearce Electorate, WA
A relative newcomer to the Federal Game, Porter counts former Treasurer of Western Australia, and Attorney General of Western Australia among his previous club positions. With strong experience in law, the Social Services portfolio appears to be a very different role for him. Although his wizardry of slotting a goal to the tune of $600 million to the not-for-profit sector in WA may play to his advantage.
Peter Dutton – Immigration
Original Club: Dickson, Queensland
One of the surprise inclusions, Dutton has retained the Immigration portfolio. One of the most controversial portfolios over the past two seasons, it is sure to continue to be one of the more difficult positions on the field. Facing tough international teams travelling to play here, his mettle could be tested. Known as the joker on the team, his recent faux pas regarding water levels and climate change amazingly saw him benched.
Mitch Fifield – Communications Minister, Arts Minister, Minister Assisting the prime Minister for Digital Government
Original Club: Victoria
Considered a key member of the team that helped the captain wrestle the top job, Fifield has been rewarded for his loyalty with some plum portfolios. He will be watched closely as he takes on his captain’s previous post and tackles a newly created “Digital Government” ministry. Hopefully a focus on a “Digital Government” will result in an improved NBN strategy; as it would be hard to have a “Digital Government” on dial-up pace, he might be set for an early shower.
Arthur Sinodinos – Cabinet Secretary
Original Club: NSW
Earning his stripes at the Mal Brough School of Political Resurrection, Sinodinos had a little break from ministerial duties under the previous captain after a pesky little blindside by the enforcers of the NSW ICAC. His ten-month injury lay-off gave him time to cosy up to the new captain and become a key player in his appointment.
Sussan Ley – Health and Sport
Original Club: Farrer Electorate, NSW
A recent addition to the cabinet, Ley was put on the field by the previous captain in the coveted Health Portfolio. With the new captain keen to address the gender imbalance of the previous team, Ley’s inclusion was a fait accompli.
Andrew Robb – Trade
Original Club: Goldstein, Victoria
As one of the old warhorses in the pack, Robb has kept his position. With a career spanning back to being Andrew Peacock’s Chief of Staff, Robb’s inclusion is designed to provide some experience and calm amongst a new team of rambunctious young’uns, possibly musing on the good old days of slingable mud and political detritus.
Nigel Scullion – Indigenous Affairs
Original Team: Northern Territory
Another member of the Nats, he was always going to keep his position – no-one wants to burn the feeder club. Being a member of the NT senate for the better part of a decade and a half makes him best placed to continue on with the Indigenous portfolio. Count on him to be there come team photo day.
George Brandis – Attorney General
Original Club: QLD
Proving that the new captain’s pre-Question Time rev-up song is Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Into my Arms, Gorgeous George Brandis has been asked to turn in the jumper of his beloved Arts Portfolio. He has, however, retained the highest legal appointment in the land as Attorney General. With an accomplished legal background, he is well suited to the position, despite the occasional desire to censor anything and everything. Just keep him away from the metadata and the membership drive and he should be a reasonable performer.
Josh Frydenberg – Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Minister
Original Club: Kooyong, VIC
This plucky little Victorian Bitter locked down a spot in the starting lineup late last year when first choice opener Arthur Sinodinos went down with an that ICAC ruption. Despite being blindly loyal to the previous captain, the new leader has seen enough to promote him off the bench into the starting lineup.
In choosing a final team, there were always going to be some left out. Maybe they didn’t train hard enough. Maybe they just didn’t have the endurance to compete with the young up and comers. Maybe they were lacking a…team attitude.
Years of bombing down the far right edges of the bench has left the Treasurer out of puff. Not being one to wait for the indignity of being dropped from the side, he pre-empted his resignation. Both from the frontbench, and from the League altogether (at a date yet to be announced). He’s expected to take up a position in the private sector – supervising the help while his millionaire banker wife, Melissa Babbage, continues as the primary bread winner. The smart money says that Joe will force his way into to the lucrative AAL (Australian Autobiography League).
Desperate to leave a “hissy fit” legacy, Andrews decided to let the public know he’d been sacked from the Defence before Turnbull had a chance to announce it. After spending the last week lobbying his own cause, he, unfortunately came up short with a relegation to the back bench, where he’d ramble again until called again. A real wildcard.
A victim of the change of tactics. The new “Out with the old, in with the new” formation deployed by the cabinet deemed his position surplus. Shame when the game moves on and leaves a player behind. So, everyone’s anti-favourite anti-gay marriage advocate is shuffling off to the backbench. At a time where the message is “A Ministry for the Future,” it’s no surprise that the man that allegedly supported a link between abortion and breast cancer has been left off the team bus.
A bit of a neither here nor there exclusion. As the Minister for Industry under the Abbott Government, he hardly kicked any goals; and for a guy that’s been around Parliament for the better part of 20 years, his career stats are the domain of only the most ardent followers of adult sports.
A surprising exclusion from the inner sanctum; most that know him don’t have a bad word to say about him. Responsible for the introduction of the Small Business Stimulus Package in the last budget which was generally lauded as generous and progressive. Perhaps seen as too agreeable. Will return to the backbench to work on his game. Could pop up again in the future. A real smoky.