New Australian Prime Minister Flags More Women in Cabinet

Abbott was widely criticized for including only two women in his 19-member Cabinet, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Published: 16th September 2015 10:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2015 10:56 AM   |  A+A-

Turnbull_AUS_AP
By AP

CANBERRA: Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday flagged that more women would be included in his first Cabinet to be sworn in Monday.

"There is no greater enthusiast than me for seeing more women in positions of power and influence in Parliament, in ministries right across the country," Turnbull told reporters in his first news conference as prime minister.

"I am very committed to that, but I am not going to say any more about the new ministerial arrangements," he said.

Turnbull replaced his unpopular predecessor Tony Abbott in a surprise leadership vote of lawmakers in the ruling conservative Liberal Party on Monday night.

Abbott was widely criticized for including only two women in his 19-member Cabinet, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Health Minister Sussan Ley. Bishop was the only woman in Abbott's first Cabinet sworn in in 2013.

Turnbull said there would be "some changes" in his Cabinet, but gave no indication of the scale. He declined to comment on the future of the government's chief economic minister, Treasurer Joe Hockey.

In challenging Abbott's leadership, Turnbull indirectly attacked Hockey with the criticism that "the government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need."

The government's popularity plunged in opinion polls and never recovered after Hockey revealed his first annual budget in May last year. That budget was widely criticized as unfair toward the poor.

Hockey revealed on Wednesday that he had had discussions about his future with Turnbull, suggesting he might accept another ministry.

Turnbull said he had spoken to Abbott since his ouster, but did not know whether the former prime minister intended to stay in Parliament.

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