Two Australian ministers demoted after rape scandals

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   Australia renews government after rape scandal in parliament | World | D.W

Morrison removed embattled ministers Christian Porter and Linda Reynolds from their high-profile roles.

Reynolds apologized to the staffer for calling her a "lying cow" after she went public with her accusations.

In a move created to regain voter support, Morrison said he would now have a record seven female lawmakers in his Cabinet as he awarded promotions and additional remits to five women.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will add women's safety to her responsibilities.

'These changes will shake up what needs to be shaken up while maintaining the momentum and the continuity and the stability that Australia needs, ' Mr Morrison said.

As part of the shuffle and in response to some of the damning claims over the past six weeks since news.com.au revealed allegations from former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, the Prime Minister announced he would chair a new women's task force in response to women's equality alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Payne.

Reynolds is now on leave over a heart condition and was admitted to hospital in late February, a week after the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins in her office two years earlier.

Mr Morrison said he was shocked and disgusted by those allegations.

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"What we must do is address the Government's agenda with the changes that we're making and do so I think, with a fresh lens, in particular to achieving the outcomes, the results that we all want for Australian women across the country", Morrison said.

'Previous governments had a minister for women, who was expected to cover all issues that affect women.

Other new roles related to women include women's economic security portfolio to be held by Jane Hume in the outer ministry, while Queensland senator Amanda Stoker will become assistant minister for industrial relations and women. Please, we don't want to be separate, or distinct, or different.

Labor Senator Jenny McAllister criticised Mr Morrison's language, saying it would be amusing "if it wasn't so depressing".

The new group will be led by Minister for Women Marise Payne and comprise all female ministers, along with the deputy prime minister, treasurer and finance minister.

In addition to the reshuffle, which included elevating Michaelia Cash and Karen Andrews to the roles of attorney-general and minister for home affairs, Morrison announced that he and Payne would co-chair a cabinet taskforce on women's equality, safety, economic security, health and wellbeing.

The cabinet reshuffle comes as the latest Newspoll numbers confirm Mr Morrison's approval ratings have taken a hit as he struggles to deal with sexual assault and harassment allegations in parliament.

Mr Porter will leave his post as attorney-general to take on Ms Andrews' former role, while Senator Reynolds takes on government services and the NDIS.

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