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Everything you need to know about who kept and lost their jobs in the Government today.

BY Susan McDonald.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced a major reshuffle of his frontbench as he moves to “reset and refocus” his Government for next year.

Scott Morrison has been appointed the Minister for Social Services, taking on an expanded portfolio which includes welfare, families, child care and the paid parental leave scheme.

It puts Mr Morrison at the centre of the Government’s agenda next year, fresh from his successes in Immigration.

asylum seekersScott Morrison. Image: The ABC.

“He is a very tough and competent political operator but he’s also an extremely decent human being,” Mr Abbott said.

After months of pressure, David Johnston has been dumped as Defence Minister and replaced by Kevin Andrews, whom the Prime Minister said was a “safe pair of hands”.

In announcing Senator Johnston would leave Cabinet, Mr Abbott commended him on his work.

“He’s copped a bit of flak, unfairly. He has done a fine job,” Mr Abbott said.

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Peter Dutton moves to Immigration and his former portfolio of Health will be held by Sussan Ley, who has been promoted, making her the second woman in the upper ranks of the ministry.

Josh Frydenberg has been promoted to the outer Ministry as Assistant Treasurer.

Mr Abbott said he used the resignation of Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos to have a “significant” reshuffle.

“It is an important opportunity to reset and refocus the Government to make the economic debate front and centre next year, to put Scott Morrison into an absolutely critical domestic portfolio,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the changes would put jobs and families at the centre of the Government’s agenda for 2015.

In other changes, Steve Ciobo is replacing Brett Mason as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister and there are three new appointments to the frontbench.

Former WA Treasurer Christian Porter will be the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Kelly O’Dwyer the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and Karen Andrews the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane, who adds Science to his title.

 milneFBChristine Milne on the ABC.

Science was previously split between the Industry and Education portfolios and Mr Abbott has long said Senator MacFarlane did not need science in his title.

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But today the Prime Minister said “sometimes it helps if you put these things in the title”.

“I have decided to state in words what I thought was always obvious so it is obvious for everyone,” he said.

“He is now the Minister for Industry and Science.”

Mr Abbott said he was pleased the reshuffle had boosted the number of women in senior roles.

“I am pleased that there is now a second woman in the cabinet. I am pleased that two of the new parliamentary secretaries are female,” he said.

“But in the end, all of our appointments are on merit. As time goes by, and the number of women in the parliament increases, I am confident that there will be more and more women in the ministry.”

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Opposition, Greens respond to Cabinet reshuffle

Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong said the reshuffle marked a chaotic end to the year for the Government.

“I think it is a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet,” she said.

“You don’t need to have this extensive a reshuffle if your cabinet’s performing well.

“And the reality we know is the cabinet isn’t performing well, and the Government’s not performing well because their policies are bad.”

Greens Leader Christine Milne slammed the appointment of Mr Morrison as Social Services Minister.

“Putting Scott Morrison in charge of Social Services will send shivers down the spines of people across the country,” she said.

“Scott Morrison and the word compassion don’t go in the same sentence.”

This article originally appeared on ABC News and is republished here with permission. 

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