Incoming prime minister Tony Abbott named his cabinet yesterday, with Groom MP Ian Macfarlane to be responsible for an expansive industry portfolio, with responsibilities including resources and energy, and manufacturing.
"This is a comprehensive portfolio that covers some of the most important drivers of economic activity for Australia," Macfarlane told The Chronicle.
Among the issues that the incoming minister said needed immediate attention were undoing taxation changes made by the former government.
"At the top of the list is to restore investor confidence in the resources sector, which for the past six years has been hit with poor policy and tax grabs from the Rudd/Gillard Governments” he said.
"As the minister for industry, I want to ensure that these sectors stay strong so Australians can continue to earn our fair share of revenue from our resources and to build a strong future for the many tens of thousands of jobs within these parts of our economy.
The opposition has criticised Abbott for what it says is a shortage of women in cabinet – with foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop to be the only female – and the lack of portfolios such as disability care, ageing and tourism.
"The cabinet of Afghanistan now has more women (three) in it," acting opposition leader Chris Bowen told AAP.
"It is a disappointing day when Australia goes so backwards, so backwards."
Another criticism was what’s claimed is the first time there has been no specific portfolio for science since 1931.
Abbott has said responsibility for science would be shared between Macfarlance and the education minister, Chris Pyne.
"Science, as in the CSIRO, will be with industry," Abbott said at yesterday’s press conference.
Professor Les Field the Australian Academy of Science’s secretary for science policy, was among critics of the lack of a designated science portfolio.
“CSIRO is one aspect of science by all means, and it would be good if science research, and even if higher education or at least the university sector, were linked as closely as possible with CSIRO,” he told the ABC’s PM.
“So, I guess one is still waiting to see if, when the full details of the portfolios are announced we find that science does fit in under the industry portfolio. But I think we don't know that at this time.”
Abbott’s Cabinet, to be sworn in tomorrow, is listed below.
The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
(Leader of the Nationals)
The Hon Warren Truss MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party)
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Employment
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service
(Leader of the Government in the Senate)
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Minister for the Arts
(Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate)
(Vice-President of the Executive Council)
Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
The Hon Joe Hockey MP
Minister for Agriculture
(Deputy Leader of the Nationals)
Mr Barnaby Joyce MP
Minister for Education
(Leader of the House)
The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
(Leader of the Nationals in the Senate)
Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion
Minister for Industry
The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP
Minister for Social Services
The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Minister for Communications
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport
The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Small Business
The Hon Bruce Billson MP
Minister for Trade and Investment
The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP
Minister for Defence
Senator the Hon David Johnston
Minister for the Environment
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Mr Scott Morrison MP
Minister for Finance
Senator Mathias Cormann