Australia

Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull announces cabinet reshuffle

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) speaks to Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce (C) as Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss sits next to them in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, February 11, 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull (left) has lost five ministers in recent months

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a cabinet reshuffle after the departure of five ministers in five months.

Two senior ministers retired, while three others left in the wake of separate political scandals.

Liberal leader Mr Turnbull said his new team "combines youth, new talent, experience, continuity, and a real sense of innovation and enterprise".

It comes ahead of a federal election later this year.

Veterans affairs minister Stuart Robert left the frontbench on Friday for breaching ministerial standards. He had travelled to Beijing with a Liberal Party donor for the signing of a mining deal.

Special minister of state Mal Brough announced in December that he would resign from the ministry while he remained under police investigation in connection with the downfall former parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper amid a sex scandal.

Cities minister Jamie Briggs stepped down the same month after a female public servant complained about his behaviour at a Hong Kong Bar.

Mr Turnbull said his revamped frontbench was a "transition from older leadership to newer leadership".

Mr Turnbull's changes will see new deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash become Regional Development Minister and Minister for Regional Communications, taking the number of women in the cabinet from five to six.

Nationals MP Darren Chester will take the infrastructure and transport portfolio from retiring party leader Warren Truss, while Steve Ciobo will become trade minister following the resignation of Andrew Robb.

Five new junior ministers and five assistant ministers have also been appointed, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

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