Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo have both announced they will not stand for re-election at the next federal election, expected in May.
Mr Ciobo resigned from Cabinet effective immediately, and on March 2 Senator Linda Reynolds was appointed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to the Defence Industry portfolio. Mr Pyne will remain as Defence Minister until the election, and it is expected Senator Reynolds will be elevated to the senior position should the Liberal-National Coalition be returned.
“As Minister for Defence and before that Defence Industry, I’ve been responsible for delivering the $200 billion build-up of Australia’s military capability, the largest in Australia’s peacetime history, which at the same time we have used to fundamentally reshape our strategic industrial base,” Mr Pyne said in a statement.
“These roles have included implementing the largest navy, air, and army projects in seventy-five years and creating the Pacific Step Up to support Australia’s strategic position in the South Pacific.”
Mr Pyne is generally well-regarded in defence and in Industry, and senior members of both have variously described him as “engaged”, “interested” and “passionate” about the portfolio to ADBR. Mr Ciobo only came to his role last August after Malcolm Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison as Prime Minister and a subsequent minor re-shuffle.
Ms Reynolds will retain her position as Assistant Minister for Home Affairs until the election. She has served as a Reserve Officer in the Australian Army for 29 years, and was commanding officer of a combat service support battalion.
She has also worked as a project manager for Raytheon Australia, as the Chief of Army’s key governance advisor, and has served on the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade and the Defence Sub-Committee.