Turnbull government could be facing a reshuffle
THE Turnbull government could be facing a reshuffle after one minister resigned and another stood down yesterday.
The Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs, announced his resignation yesterday afternoon over a late-night incident in Hong Kong with a female public servant.
He would not go into details about the incident at a media conference but he said nothing illegal had been alleged or had occurred.
"At no point was it my intention to act inappropriately," he said, adding that in the days following the evening, the woman had raised concerns about his behaviour towards her.
"I apologised directly to her but after careful reflection about the concerns she raised and the fact that I was at a bar late at night on an overseas visit, I've concluded this behaviour has not met the particularly high standards for ministers," he said.
"Therefore the proper course of action for me is to resign."
Minutes after Mr Briggs' announcement, Mr Turnbull released a statement saying he had accepted the resignation, and also announcing Sunshine Coast MP and Special Minister of State Mal Brough would stand aside from his federal ministry portfolios pending police inquiries.
The Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science has been under investigation by the Australian Federal Police over the alleged copying of the diary of former speaker Peter Slipper.
Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek slammed the government after the announcements, describing yesterday as "taking out the trash day".
She said it was a sign the government planning to have an early election.
"He (Mr Turnbull) saved up all the bad news to a day between Christmas and New Year when he hopes no one is listening," she said.
Ms Plibersek pointed out the incident involving Mr Briggs happened "weeks ago" and "yet they've waited until now to accept Jamie Briggs' resignation."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will act as the Special Minister of State, Defence Minister Marise Payne will take on the responsibilities of Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, and Environment Minister Greg Hunt will take on Mr Briggs' role as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment.
Sportsbet showed Eden-Monaro MP Peter Hendy as the favourite to replace Mr Briggs in the ministry.