Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a cabinet reshuffle after backlash against his government was triggered for its poor handling of sexual assault allegations in parliament, local media reported on Monday.
Sputnik reported that according to the prime minister, the reshuffle was aimed at "getting the right perspective" in line with the justice for women movement that sparked across Australia.
"These changes will shake up what needs to be shaken up, while maintaining the momentum and the continuity and the stability that Australia needs," Morrison said as quoted by 9 News, reported by Sputnik.
The movement of a cabinet reshuffle came forth when former government staff member Brittany Higgins alleged she had been raped by a male colleague in the office of then-Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in 2019.
Following Higgins' story, four more women came forth and accused the same man of sexual assault or harassment. Calls for change in government started to grow.
In the reshuffle, Reynolds has been replaced by Peter Dutton as defense minister. She will remain in Cabinet but will transition into a role in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and government services.
Morrison said the new cabinet and ministry will have the "strongest" female representation as Senator Michaelia Cash will replace Christian Porter as Australia's new Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations.
Reynolds has been accused of knowing of the alleged rape of Higgins in 2019 and her lack of action, while Porter was accused of raping a woman during a trip to Sydney in 1988.
Sputnik further reported that Minister for Women and Foreign Affairs Marise Payne will also head a new task force announced by the prime minister. Describing Payne as the "Prime Minister for Women" she will head Women's Safety and Women's Economic Security.
This is the prime minister's second cabinet reshuffle since December as he tries to bring gender equality into Australia's parliament.
When Morrison was first appointed as prime minister in 2019, he had the highest number of women appointed to Cabinet. His recent reshuffle increased that number.
( With inputs from ANI )
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