Angus Taylor favourite to be shadow treasurer under Dutton

Key points

  • Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley will on Monday be elected unopposed as leader and deputy leader of the Liberal Party, while Senate leader Simon Birmingham and deputy Senate leader Michaelia Cash will remain in their positions.
  • Angus Taylor is the frontrunner to be named shadow treasurer, but Stuart Robert is also positioning for the portfolio.
  • The announcement of the opposition frontbench will likely follow the unveiling of new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s team.

Federal election 2022

Former energy minister Angus Taylor is the frontrunner to be appointed to the shadow treasury portfolio under Peter Dutton’s leadership of the Liberal Party as former foreign minister Marise Payne looks to step down from the frontbench.

The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age can confirm Dutton and Sussan Ley will on Monday be elected unopposed as leader and deputy leader of the party, while Senate leader Simon Birmingham and Senate deputy leader Michaelia Cash will remain in their positions.

Angus Taylor is leading the race to be named shadow treasurer under Peter Dutton.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Taylor would then likely be given the treasury portfolio under Dutton’s leadership, according to multiple senior party sources, but the former defence minister has not yet come to a decision and Stuart Robert is also positioning for the portfolio.

It can also be revealed that Payne has told colleagues she will not put her hand up for a frontbench position. Apart from former prime minister Scott Morrison, this would make Payne the first frontbencher to voluntarily move on since last Saturday’s devastating election loss.

Payne did not respond to a request for comment.

Former trade minister Dan Tehan is expected to be given either the foreign affairs or defence portfolio under Dutton.

Former foreign minister Marise Payne is expected to step down from the opposition frontbench.Credit:Steven Siewert

The announcement of the opposition frontbench will likely follow the unveiling of new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s team.

Labor’s factions will meet on Monday to settle on the ministry and cabinet, before the federal caucus gets together in Canberra on Tuesday and the frontbench is named.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles will be named defence minister, while Brendan O’Connor, who held the defence portfolio in opposition, is the frontrunner to be named home affairs minister.

Labor MPs Kristy McBain, Anika Wells, Jenny McAllister and Deborah O’Neill are all expected to be promoted to the ministry.

The coveted position of Speaker has not been settled, with the possibility that Labor may want to convince a crossbench MP to take the spot if it doesn’t reach a majority of at least 76 seats.

If the speakership does go to a Labor member, Rob Mitchell – who has held the second deputy Speaker position for nine years – would be a candidate, along with Queensland MPs Shayne Neumann and Milton Dick.

Appointing Neumann, who held the veterans affairs portfolio in opposition, would open a spot in the ministry for Wells, a fellow Queenslander.

Albanese said on Saturday he was “very confident” of Labor getting least 76 seats, despite confirmation that the Greens had picked up the seat of Brisbane. The result meant the Greens won three seats at the election and now have four seats in parliament.

After settling on his frontbench, Albanese faces a difficult choice on whether to move on more senior bureaucrats after forcing out Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens on Sunday.

Multiple Labor sources confirmed Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade boss Kathryn Campbell would be moved on at some point and that it was just a question of when. Labor MPs said it was untenable for her to remain in the position considering their past criticism of her handling of the robodebt scandal when she was head of the Department of Human Services.

DFAT, Labor and Liberal sources have questioned whether she was the right fit to head Australia’s foreign service.

Candidates to replace Campbell could include DFAT deputy secretary Justin Hayhurst, Department of Defence secretary Greg Moriarty and former senior diplomat Richard Maude.

Labor’s factions will meet on Monday to settle on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s ministry.Credit:David Gray/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Department of Finance secretary Rosemary Huxtable and Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy are expected to retire soon, opening up those positions.

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy is tipped to remain.

There are still questions over the future of Australia’s top spy, Office of National Intelligence director-general Andrew Shearer, and Department of Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong was critical of the appointment of Shearer, who served as an adviser to three Liberal prime ministers, while she also criticised Pezzullo for his “drums of war” speech.

However, senior Labor sources said Shearer had impressed with his timely briefings to them over the past six months on matters of national security and that there would be no reason to move him on immediately.

Pezzullo has also been tasked with investigating why Australian Border Force publicised the interception of a suspected asylum-seeker boat on election day, suggesting the home affairs boss is staying for the time being.

While Pezzullo was criticised by many for implementing the Coalition’s tough border policies over the past nine years, he was previously closer to Labor having served as former opposition leader Kim Beazley’s deputy chief of staff.

Any movements could also depend on whether Labor makes any structural changes to the mammoth home affairs portfolio, which was set up by Pezzullo and then home affairs minister Dutton in 2017.

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