Sinodinos back in the engine room
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos was fast-tracked from the backbench into Cabinet this week after backing Malcolm Turnbull in the leadership showdown with Tony Abbott.Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed on Sunday that he was reintroducing the position of cabinet secretary in his dramatically revamped ministry, a model used by previously by Kevin Rudd after the 2007 election.Senator Sinodinos, a former chief of staff to John Howard, will use the position to ensure the roles of ministers, MPs, their staff, and the public service, are more clearly defined in the Turnbull administration.Praising his past experience, Mr Turnbull said Sinodinos’ appointment was about ensuring a “proper and consultative” cabinet system and that “the gold standard of good Coalition cabinet government was during the Howard government”.“Arthur was at the centre of that as John Howard’s chief of staff,” said the PM.Senator Sinodinos told Neos Kosmos it was a privilege to have been selected for the Cabinet.“The prime minister expects that we conduct Cabinet business in an orderly and effective manner,” said the Newcastle-born senator. “It’s important that we observe the principle of Cabinet solidarity so that the government projects a clear and consistent message about its strategies and priorities.”Following almost two years of ‘captain’s picks’ and controversy around Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin, Sinodinos said that “best use [be made] of that tremendous resource known as the Australian public service”, and that “clear demarcation of responsibilities between ministers, ministerial staff and public servants will assist this process”.Senator Sinodinos became a vocal critic of Mr Abbott after tensions grew with the prime minister’s office late last year when he agreed to give up his assistant treasury portfolio after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) called him as a witness in their investigation into Australian Water Holdings. AWH (of which Sinodinos was a director between 2008 and 2010 ) was accused of using payments from government-owned Sydney Water to make political donations to the Liberal party at a time when Sinodinos was NSW Liberal treasurer and later chairman. Asked whether there was a risk to the government arising from any future ICAC findings, Sinodinos told ABC TV on Sunday that he would not have put himself forward for a position in the Turnbull ministry “if I didn’t think that I could deal with anything that might potentially come out of those processes”.“I am happy to do whatever Malcolm or others want me to do and I’m prepared to stand in the public square to defend myself,” he said.