New health minister: Abbott announces changes

Peter Dutton will be officially sworn in as Australia’s new health minister this week after Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott confirmed this afternoon that the bulk of his Opposition front bench would be retained in the cabinet.

Mr Dutton had been widely anticipated to hold on to health, having served as shadow health minister for the last six years but in an unexpected move he will also hold the portfolio of minister for sport.

However, there will be some change to the management of the health portfolio, with shadow parliamentary secretary for primary healthcare and former surgical registrar, Dr Andrew Southcott, among the few Opposition frontbenchers to be dropped. 

Dr Southcott and the Coalition’s ageing and mental health spokeswoman Concetta Fierravanti-Wells were both dropped from Mr Abbott’s front bench, along with ophthalmologist and former shadow parliamentary secretary for regional and Aboriginal health, Dr Andrew