Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made two last-minute changes to her ministry ahead of Federal Cabinet being sworn in.

The PM bowed to public pressure following criticism of the Government’s restructuring of the education and health portfolios.

Nicholas Bolton reports.

[flashvideo file= /]


Julia Gillard has been sworn in as Australia’s first elected female leader.

Among the new faces, Governor General Quentin Bryce swore in her son-in-law Bill Shorten as Assistant Treasurer.

There were also some more familiar faces.

Just hours before the ceremony the PM backflipped on the key issues of education and health.

Having divided the education portfolio into three areas the failure to reference education in their naming was widely criticised.

Already the Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans has had the phrase “tertiary study” added to his title.

Senator Evans says he knows his responsibilities, irrespective of his job title.

Chris Evans, Federal Minister for Jobs, Skills, Workplace Relations & Tertiary Study: “It’s very much a key part of my job, people were concerned about the title, we fixed that, as I say I’m much more focused about getting on with the job.”

The decision to scrap the Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health portfolio was also overturned, with Warren Snowdon to continue in the role.

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon admitted the Government had been guilty of an oversight.

Nicola Roxon, Federal Minister for Health and Ageing: “It was something that perhaps wasn’t focused on as much, we’ve seen that, we’ve made this change , the Prime Minister has asked Warren, and I have asked Warren to stay on in that role and I think it’s a very good outcome.”

Nonetheless, Liberal Frontbencher George Brandis was critical.

George Brandis, Federal Liberal Frontbencher: “Tertiary education and indigenous health were both an afterthought for this Government, it’s appalling.”

Opposition leader Tony Abbott was out to crash the party announcing his shadow cabinet in Sydney.

As expected, Mr Abbott announced his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull as Minister for Communications.

Nicholas Bolton, QUT News.