Prince Philip will become the Minister for Foreign Affairs when Parliament resumes on Monday, Tony Abbott has announced.
The Prime Minister, who has been battling rumours of a leadership spill, appears to be using the cabinet reshuffle to demonstrate to voters and party critics that he is a decisive man of action. Mr Abbott is already referring to the decision as his “captain’s call”.
The Prime Minister told reporters that appointment would prove to Australians that he is still the leader they voted into office back in 2013.
“Let’s stop the navel gazing, let’s forget the internals and let’s get on with governing the country,” Mr Abbott said. “And the best way to do so is by appointing Prince Philip as the Minister for Foreign Affairs.”
“I can’t think think of a single reason this appointment won’t be incredibly well received by Australian voters.”
The move has shocked political commentators as Prince Philip’s appointment will be the first time a cabinet minister has been appointed from someone who is not an elected representative. Also, he is a prince.
Mr Abbott’s announcement has come under criticism from members within Mr Abbott’s own party, expressing disdain that cabinet was not consulted on the decision. Mr Abbott has defended the action, however, stating that he consulted the Chairman of the Order of Australia and his magic eight ball.
“Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia, he is a patron of hundreds of organisations, and he has close ties to many world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth.
“I think we can all agree that there is no one in Australia more deserving of this than the Duke of Edinburgh.”
It still remains to be seen which portfolio the current Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, will be reassigned to. We can safely rule out Minister for Women’s Affairs as Mr Abbott has publicly stated the current minister in that role is doing an ‘unimpeachable’ job.
Matthew Farthing is the Political Editor for The (un)Australian. He always thought ‘knighting Prince Philip’ was a euphemism for sex, used by the Queen.