New Queensland Government due to reveal cabinet line-up

Posted February 15, 2015 09:30:30

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is today due to reveal who will make up Labor's trimmed down ministry and which portfolios will be merged.

During the election campaign, Labor promised to cut the number of ministers from 19 to 14, and have just one assistant minister, compared to the Liberal National Party's (LNP) 12.

Ms Palaszczuk said the move would save $23 million over three years.

The Labor caucus is due to convene in Brisbane this morning to discuss the key appointments before another swearing in ceremony in the coming days.

Ms Palaszczuk has insisted she would have the final say on who was in and who was out, but factional numbers have played a part.

Former Bligh government minister Stirling Hinchliffe may miss out on a position, as could returning Brisbane Central MP Grace Grace.

A handful of new MPs are expected to go straight into Cabinet, including Shannon Fentiman, Mark Bailey and Leanne Enoch.

Kate Jones is also expected to return to the ministry, after ousting former LNP premier Campbell Newman in Ashgrove.

Labor's nine existing MPs should stay on the frontbench.

Ms Palaszczuk was sworn in as Premier on Saturday, along with Jackie Trad as Deputy Premier and Curtis Pitt as Treasurer.

Labor formed a minority government with the support of Sunshine Coast independent MP Peter Wellington.

Retailers said the appointment of Queensland's new government would provide certainty for the struggling sector.

The Australian Retailers Association's Russell Zimmerman said the industry needed to know the Government would make decisions that provided financial support and stability.

"As an industry association we're going to do our utmost to work with the Government," Mr Zimmerman said.

"What we want to see is job security and further more we want to see more jobs growth, so they'll be the two things that we'll particularly be looking for as we move forward with the new Labor Government."

Topics:government-and-politics, political-parties, state-parliament, parliament, qld

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Updated February 15, 2015 00:15:58

The Prime Minister says he replaced Philip Ruddock as chief government whip to allow a "deeper engagement" with his backbench, but the move has rekindled discontent in Coalition ranks.

Tony Abbott made the shock announcement on Friday that he was dumping the veteran MP from the key position in the aftermath of this week's failed attempt to spill the leadership.

On Saturday, Mr Abbott was asked by reporters in Sydney if the move was an act of retribution.

"No, not at all," he replied.

"Philip Ruddock is a friend, Philip Ruddock is a colleague and Philip Ruddock was a supporter.

"But what I am determined to do is have a deeper and stronger engagement with the backbench and that means it was very important to renew and refresh the whips team."

Some of Mr Abbott's supporters believe Mr Ruddock did not do enough to publicly rally support for the Prime Minister and should have done a better job of picking up on backbench disquiet in the weeks leading up to the failed attempt to spill the leadership.

But some MPs who wanted a spill are bewildered and confused by Mr Ruddock's sacking - one saying "the night of the long knives has begun".

Others described it as "another captain's call" that had gone down badly within the party.

Queensland backbencher Andrew Laming has gone public with his criticism, describing it as "scapegoating of Godzilla proportions".

"We really needed a week of healing, not wounding, and I think it really has set us back a fair bit particularly because Philip Ruddock was such a respected character," Mr Laming told the ABC.

Mr Laming said he spoke to Mr Abbott on Friday and told him what he thought.

"Regardless of the reasons, regardless of what you write in a press release, the perception when acting in this way in this week will be that it was one of recrimination," Mr Laming said.

But Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Mr Laming had "ulterior motives" given he supported the spill motion.

Mr Frydenberg rejected suggestions the Prime Minister's decision was retribution and said he spoke to Mr Ruddock on Saturday morning.

"He understands that this is a decision for the leader to take," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.

"I think this is a decision that is just within the normal course of what happens within government."

Mr Ruddock is not commenting about the decision, except to say the position of chief whip is the gift of the Prime Minister.

Mr Ruddock, who is known as the "Father of the House" for being the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, will be replaced by Queensland MP Scott Buchholz.

Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic, a prominent supporter of the Prime Minister, will also be promoted to a whip position.

He said he did not see it as a reward for publicly urging his colleagues against a spill.

"The reason I did that was not for any reward, but to say to my colleagues that the last thing we should be doing is demonstrating the sort of disunity that the Australian people comprehensively rejected," Mr Nikolic said.

I am determined to ... have a deeper and stronger engagement with the backbench, and that means it was very important to renew and refresh the whip's team.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Mr Frydenberg has welcomed the appointments.

"In Scott Buchholz we have a very good man who will be our new whip, and Andrew Nikolic as a deputy who's also very experienced in rounding up the troops if you like," Mr Frydenberg said.

Mr Abbott earlier paid tribute to Mr Ruddock in a statement confirming the changes Friday afternoon.

"I acknowledge and thank the Hon Philip Ruddock MP for his extraordinary contribution to our country, this Government and the Liberal Party," Mr Abbott wrote.

"As Father of the House, Philip has given over four decades of service to the Australian Parliament and the Australian people.

"He was a senior minister throughout the life of the Howard government and was shadow cabinet secretary in opposition.

"Later this year he will become the second longest-serving parliamentarian in our history."

The move had been under discussion for more than a day.

The two men met after Parliament rose on Thursday.

Topics:liberals, liberal-national-party-queensland, political-parties, government-and-politics, federal-government, federal-parliament, abbott-tony, australia

First posted February 14, 2015 10:56:08

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Updated February 15, 2015 09:52:57

At least 400,000 people have lined the streets of Perth for a second day to watch twogiant marionettes walk through the city as part of the International Arts Festival.

The six-metre tall little girl giant continued her search for a second giant, an 11-metre tall deep sea diver who had been resting outside the Perth train station.

On Saturday, he arose from his slumber and also began roaming the streets.

At one point he stopped and appeared to take a drink from a fire truck.

The two figures are due to meet on Sunday at Langley Park and leave on a barge on the Swan River.

The performance, The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants, attracted an estimated 180,000 people to the city on Friday.

Crowds began pouring into the CBD from early this morning and people were standing 10-deep in some parts of the city.

A festival spokeswoman said 400,000 people had watched the performance on Saturday morning.

The little girl giant is operated by a team of 25 people pulling strings to make her limbs move.

As she moved along she performed a series of gymnastic moves, before arriving at Weld Square in Northbridge where she was due to have a four-hour nap.

Festival artistic director Jonathan Holloway said he had been "blown away" by how people had responded to the giants.

"The audiences have just been amazing ... obviously the girl is wonderful," he said.

He said the audience reaction had been "unbelievably good .... people are energised, they're excited".

Transperth spokesman David Hynes said trains had been at capacity between 8:00am and 11:00am, with many people at inner-city stations unable to board.

He said extra services and carriages had been put on, and an estimated 18,000 people an hour had travelled by train into the city during that time.

"We did have a few issues earlier - it would seem that people left it a bit late trying to get in to see the diver giant," he said.

"I don't think anyone was expecting such a crush this morning, but that's been resolved now, although numbers are still heavy."

Yesterday the girl travelled several city blocks before resting in a deck chair at Wellington Square and reading from a giant book.

The $5 million event is expected to draw in more than one million people over three days.

Information on finding and following The Giants is at Perth Festival website.

Topics:street-art, performance-art, perth-6000

First posted February 14, 2015 13:12:44

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