Senator Marise Payne has been named as the new Defence Minister in the Turnbull government. The Minister for Human Services, who becomes the first woman to hold the position, is being appointed in a surprise move by the new Prime Minister amid speculation that Christopher Pyne would get the nod, and despite concerns over leadership churn.
“Thanks for all the well wishes. I’m incredibly honoured to be appointed Minister for Defence by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,” Senator Payne stated via social media soon after the announcement was made.
The outgoing minister Kevin Andrews repeatedly called for continuity in the Defence portfolio over the past week, in light of the imminent release of the 2015 Defence White Paper and with the Competitive Evaluation Process for the Future Submarine program ongoing, among other things.
“It has been a great honour to serve as Australia’s Minister for Defence,” Andrews said in a statement. “I am proud of what has been achieved. As I have already been pre-selected as the Liberal Party candidate for Menzies ahead of the next federal election I look forward to standing for election again at that time.”
Senator Payne is set to be the Coalition government’s third minister in the Defence portfolio. Andrews himself was only sworn in as Defence Minister on December 23 last year, replacing Senator David Johnston.
The First Principles Review of Defence, which was released in April, identified leadership churn as one of the main root causes of “complacency and inertia” in Defence that has hampered change over the past decade.