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Two Australian cabinet ministers demoted over rape scandal

Both officials will now manage less coveted offices

Scott Morrison Scott Morrison | Reuters

Australian cabinet minister Linda Reynolds was removed as defence minister and Christian Porter as attorney general, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced mounting pressure—Porter is accused of raping a 16-year-old fellow student and Linda Reynolds was accused of mishandling an investigation into the case of alleged rape of a young staffer in her parliamentary office. Reynolds referred to the woman as a lying cow. 

Both ministers have been on leave for weeks. Now, both officials will manage less coveted offices—government services for Reynolds, and industry, science and technology for Porter.

Morrison, after a couple of instances of sexual misconduct at parliament surfaced, on March 23 had said he wants to see more women in politics. Weeks after allegations of rape in Reynolds’ office surfaced, there was an instance of a staff member masturbating on an MP’s desk. He was sacked soon after the video was ousted. Morrison, who expressed shock, announced a series of promotions for women staffers in the Australian parliament. Thousands of women took to the streets in light of allegation against Porter and Reynolds calling for an end to sexual violence and gender equality. 

Peter Dutton has replaced Reynolds as defence minister, while Senator Michaelia Cash has been appointed Australia's new Attorney-General, replacing Porter. Karen Andrews has been named Minister of home affairs, while Anne Ruston will be the Minister for Women's Safety. This is Morrison’s second cabinet reshuffle since December. 


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