SYDNEY, Australia — Seeking to address rising anger over allegations of rape and misogyny against members of his government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia reshuffled his cabinet on Monday, demoting two ministers tied to separate scandals, but keeping them in senior positions.
Defense Minister Linda Reynolds will become the minister for government services, Mr. Morrison said. Attorney General Christian Porter will give up that role while continuing to serve in the cabinet as the minister for science, industry and technology.
Mr. Morrison also announced a new task force on women’s equality, safety, economic security, health and well-being, while adding several women to the cabinet. They include Michaelia Cash, who will become attorney general, and Karen Andrews, who will become minister for home affairs.
“These changes will shake up what needs to be shaken up,” Mr. Morrison said, adding that having more women in the cabinet would bring “a fresh lens” to the government’s challenges.
Brittany Higgins, accused a more senior colleague of raping her in Parliament House in 2019, and three weeks after Mr. Porter was accused of committing rape when he was a teenager.
Mr. Porter has denied the allegation against him and resisted calls for an independent inquiry. Ms. Reynolds has apologized to Ms. Higgins for speaking with her about the alleged assault in the same room where it was said to have occurred, as well as for calling Ms. Higgins a “lying cow” after she went public with her allegations.
The reassignments are unlikely to tamp down the public outrage that has surged in recent weeks, after years in which complaints about Australia’s brutal culture of misogyny in politics were ignored or actively suppressed by the two major parties.