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New Education Minister Alan Tudge. Photo: Gary Ramage

PM defends appointment of new Education Minister

The Prime Minister has defended his decision to promote Alan Tudge to the position of Education and Youth Minister last week as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

Scott Morrison said Tudge, whose affair with a female staffer was aired on Four Corners last month, spent the past year juggling the role of Urban Infrastructure Minister, the immigration portfolio and the issues raised in the ABC report. 

“What has impressed me about Alan is he’s dealt with these issues honestly,” Mr Morrison said. 

“They relate to things that happened some years ago … and for them to be now re-presented at this time as if they’re fresh revelations, or anything that go to his current conduct, I think, would be very unfair.

“He’s accepted responsibility for his own personal conduct.”

Mr Morrison rejected claims the new role was a step up for Mr Tudge saying it was a “reassignment of portfolio”.

Mr Tudge will be supported by Liberal MP Luke Howarth who was given a new assistant ministry position that will also provide assistance to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

Education Minister Dan Tehan will now follow in the footsteps of Senator Birmingham and take on the trade portfolio. 

Mr Tehan was previously a trade adviser in the Howard Government from 2002 to 2005, and will now be tasked with tackling the fallout with Australia’s largest trading partner, China. 

Labor’s shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek took to Twitter to criticise Mr Tudge’s appointment.

“From king of robodebt to king of student debt … there couldn’t be a worse choice for Education Minister,” she wrote.

The cabinet will remain at 22 ministers. No changes were made to the Nationals in the ministry.

Mr Morrison said the Coalition had maintained its record representation of women in cabinet.

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