MEMBER for Farrer Sussan Ley maintained her position in the outer ministry yesterday when prime minister-elect Tony Abbott confirmed her as the assistant minister for education.
Ms Ley would serve under minister Christopher Pyne with senator Scott Ryan confirmed as parliamentary secretary of the education portfolio.
The position would allow Ms Ley to continue her work with childcare and early childhood education she performed as a shadow minister before the Coalition swept back into office after the election.
In announcing his team, which will be sworn in tomorrow, Mr Abbott made special mention of Sophie Mirabella, who is poised for defeat in the seat of Indi.
The cabinet position promised her by Mr Abbott on the eve of the election was given to Ian Macfarlane.
“I hope she does fight back in the seat of Indi, but I certainly regret her absence from the ministry,” Mr Abbott said.
“She was an outstanding shadow minister for industry.
“She was a staunch opponent of the carbon tax and a very strong advocate for manufacturing in particular.”
Ms Ley said serving the massive Farrer electorate would remain her priority in addition to the ministry.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the people of Farrer for returning me as their local member and that role will always remain my No. 1 priority,” she said.
“I am delighted to be part of a strong Coalition team.
“One that is dedicated to leading the country back to prosperity.
“I look forward to continuing my roles in childcare and early childhood learning as there is still much work to be done in this very important area.
“The implementation of the new rules and regulations for the sector under the National Quality Framework, introduced by Labor, has a number of immediate issues that need addressing.”
Ms Ley was also planning to work closely with communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on the introduction of fast broadband and eradicating mobile phone blackspots.
Soon to be health minister Peter Dutton visited the electorate in the lead-up to the election and would have a large say in when the $5 million promised for the cardiac unit at Albury hospital would become available.
Mr Abbott’s cabinet would consist of only one woman, Liberal Party deputy leader Julie Bishop, who would be in charge of foreign affairs.
Ms Bishop was a close ally of Ms Ley after lending a hand during the 2010 election campaign against feisty independent candidate Louise Burge.
“I am obviously disappointed there are not more women in cabinet,” Mr Abbott said.
“If Sophie Mirabella had been clearly ahead in Indi, Sophie would be in the cabinet.
“So plainly I am disappointed there are not at least two women in the cabinet.
“Nevertheless there are some good and talented women knocking on the door of the cabinet.”