Macfarlane to hold “super portfolio” covering industry

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.

Prime Minister

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

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.