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New Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce rewards supporters in cabinet reshuffle

Barnaby Joyce has announced a new ministry line-up, with members expected to be sworn in on Friday.

Mr Joyce said the new cabinet is a “win for regional Australia”, saying he is determined to ensure the National Party continues to “hear the issues of regional Australia”.

“We continue on as we get ready in the next year for an election; and make sure the people of regional Australia are absolutely certain that the Nationals and the Liberals and the Coalition are in there, batting for them.”

Former Nationals minister Bridget McKenzie, who oversaw the so-called sports rorts scheme, will return to cabinet less than 18 months after being forced to resign for breaching ministerial standards.

Michael McCormack has moved to the backbench after losing his role as Nationals leader in the leadership spill last week.

Darren Chester has been removed from the role of Veterans Affairs Minister and replaced with Andrew Gee.

Mr Chester gave a valedictory-style answer in Question Time on Thursday as he paid tribute to veterans and their role in protecting democracy.

(L-R) David Littleproud, Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie.

(L-R) David Littleproud, Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie.

“Despite the shenanigans you sometimes see in this place, this chamber respects your service,” he said.

Mr Joyce said he believes Mr Gee will capably deliver outcomes in overseeing the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. 

“He is the sort of the person who has the capacity to go through all the nuances of what is required and I think Andrew will do an exceptional job. “

David Gillespie has been appointed the Minister for Regional Health – replacing Mark Coulton in the role – and will also undertake the role of Deputy Leader of the House.

Keith Pitt has moved to the outer Ministry but retains his position as Minister for Resources and Water.

Michelle Landry continues in her role as Assistant Minister for Children and Families.

Outside of the cabinet, Senator Susan McDonald has been appointed the Envoy for Northern Australia.

Scott Morrison said the changes would allow the Liberal-National Coalition to deliver on a “shared vision for building an even stronger Australia”.

He said the cabinet line-up “will provide the strongest female representation in an Australian Government Cabinet on record”.

Mr Morrison thanked Mr Chester, Mr Pitt and Mr Coulton for serving in their roles as Ministers.

“I also wish to thank Ministers Darren Chester and Keith Pitt and for their strong contribution and service as members of the Cabinet and Minister Mark Coulton for his dedicated service in the Ministry.”

Barnaby Joyce was sworn in as deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development at a ceremony in Canberra on Tuesday.

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