Fifield New Communications Minister, Fletcher Moved To Territories + Major Projects
The man tipped for the job Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, was given a ministerial title as Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects.
Turnbull opted against appointing a replacement to Fletcher’s role in the Communications department despite Fletcher having a wealth of expertise and understanding of technology.
Earlier today former Prime Minister Tony Abbott told ChannelNews that Fletcher would make an “Excellent” Minister.
“He was one of the few who when I called him told me honestly that he intended to vote for Malcolm”.
Fifield has represented Victoria in the Senate since 2004, and most recently held the position of assistant minister for Social Services and the manager of government business.
Fifield will also assist the Prime Minister with a newly established ‘digital government’ portfolio.
At this stage Fifield’s core focus will be on addressing outstanding media regulation issues while looking to control the build cost of the NBN.
The portfolio will also include a new Digital Transformation Office role, aimed at overhauling customer-facing digital services in Australia.
Treasurer Joe Hockey who some said had been offered the role of Communications Minister after Turnbull handed the role of Treasurer to Scott Morrison has decided to quit Federal politics.
Turnbull today confirmed Morrison in the role of Treasurer as part of the cabinet reshuffle, which also saw Matthias Cormann retain the role of Finance Minister, which handles government ICT.
George Brandis also keeps his responsibilities as Attorney-General.
On 31 March 2004, Fifield was appointed by the Parliament of Victoria to fill the casual vacancy in the Australian Senate caused by the resignation in February 2004 of Richard Alston.
Fifield was re-elected at the 2007 federal election. After the 2010 election, Fifield was appointed the Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.
Throughout his political career, Fifield has been an advocate of voluntary student unionism, as well as allowing women to serve on the front lines of the Australian Defence Force. Along with Andrew Robb, he is also the co-publisher of The Party Room, a journal designed to promote new policy discussion within the Federal Coalition.
He has a limited if any background in technology unlike his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.
Fifield has opposed federal money being spent on cycling infrastructure, and objected to part of the Rudd Government’s $42 billion stimulus package being used for new cycle ways and home insulation: “I don’t think Bradford batts and bike paths is serious economic infrastructure. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it is.”
Following the 2013 federal election Fifield was appointed to the Abbott Ministry as the Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Manager of Government Business in the Senate.