In a couple of weeks the election of a Tony Abbott Government could spell the end of the failed Rudd-Gillard experiment. This should also spell an end of the days of spin. The Labor Government took the Art of Spin and the Lack of Substance to a new level. We shan’t miss the Hawker-Britton era.
The Labor Party would benefit from its defeat. For it would lead inexorably to the expunging of the cancer which has been eating this once-great party. The faceless men and women (mainly men) who dictate policy for Labor will finally meet their match. The recriminations will be intense and bloody. But, like the Phoenix, the Labor Party could emerge anew and offer a strong and principled opposition.
It will be important for Tony Abbott to restore good Cabinet governance principles and to apply a steady hand to Government. He should appoint a Commission of Audit to go through the Budget line by line to eliminate the waste inherited from Labor. And to outline a new direction, where Government is less intrusive; where individuals take responsibility for their own lives and where the direction of taxes is downward not upward.
But a key decision will be the composition of the Cabinet.
Tony Abbott has promised Malcolm Turnbull a senior position in Cabinet.
He should honour that promise.
Positions which Turnbull are qualified include: Treasurer, Attorney-General, Environment Minister and Communications Minister.
Joe Hockey deserves to be appointed Treasurer – he has performed admirably in the position and well during the campaign.
George Brandis has performed well as Shadow Attorney-General and deserves appointment as Attorney-General.
Malcolm Turnbull has been Environment Minister, and should not be re-appointed to that position. Greg Hunt is a strong Shadow Environment Minister and should be appointed Environment Minister.
Tony Smith has made some solid progress as Communications Minister, but Malcolm Turnbull would be a credible and passionate Communications Minister. I believe that Tony Abbott should recommend to the Governor-General that Malcolm Turnbull be appointed as the Minister for Communications. (let’s do away with the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy which is three levels of tautology). Turnbull is a lover of technology. He is always with the latest piece of technology. He understands communications and technology and his finance background will assist him repair the mistake of the National Broadband Network.
But Smith deserves a job in Cabinet too.
So here is my proposal for the Abbott Cabinet, which I think should be limited to 17 people:
Prime Minister: Tony Abbott
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade: Warren Truss
Treasurer and Minister for Higher Living Standards: Joe Hockey
Minister for Finance, Debt Reduction and Efficient, Effective Public Service: Andrew Robb
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Julie Bishop
Minister for Communications: Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Energy, Resources and Nuclear Power: Ian Macfarlane
Minister for Reform of the Public Service and Cabinet Secretary: Tony Smith
Minister for Low Unemployment: Eric Abetz
Minister for Education: Christopher Pyne
Minister for Defence: David Johnston
Minister for Health: Peter Dutton
Minister for Ageing: Bronwyn Bishop
Minister for Infrastructure: Bruce Billson
Minister for Sensible Environmental Policy: Greg Hunt
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship: Scott Morrison
Attorney-General: George Brandis
Note: Agriculture, industry and so forth do not need a ministerial portfolio (or a Cabinet position).