Scott Morrison has indicated he is seeking advice about the future of Christian Porter’s role as Attorney-General, opening the possibility for a cabinet reshuffle that puts Michaelia Cash’s small business portfolio into question.
Morrison told Parliament on Tuesday that the Solicitor-General was advising him about Porter’s responsibilities under the ministerial guidelines, and whether Porter’s defamation action against the ABC had given rise to a conflict of interest.
“When I have concluded that assessment […] I’ll make a determination and I’ll make an announcement at that time,” Morrison said.
Porter, who is currently on mental health leave, is also Leader of the House of Representatives and Minister for Industrial Relations.
During Porter’s leave, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash has acted as Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations. Cash is expected to remain Attorney-General should Porter not continue in the role.
Porter took mental health leave after he publicly named himself as the minister implicated in media reports about a historic rape allegation from 1988.
The office of Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash declined to comment on the future of her portfolio.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds is also on medical leave due to heart problems and — while she is expected to return to Parliament on April 2 — is considered unlikely to remain Defence Minister.
Reynolds took medical leave days after her former staffer Brittany Higgins claimed she had been raped in March 2019, at the time when Reynolds’ was Defence Industry Minister.
The Guardian reports that Reynolds’ position is highly coveted among cabinet ministers and one that Peter Dutton aspires to hold.