Christian Porter resigned from the Industry, Science, and Technology portfolio on Sunday afternoon following six months of scandals.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor will take over the portfolio in an acting role, making him the eighth Industry Minister since the Coalition formed government in 2014.
ACS CEO Rupert Grayston said the organisation looks forward to working with the new minister.
“As Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Mr Taylor has been a keen advocate for technology,” Grayston said.
“With the ICT sector being fundamental to Australia’s growth as we recover from the COVID pandemic, ACS hopes the Minister will bring his technology focus to the expanded portfolio and we look forward to working with him and his office on initiatives to boost the digital capacities of the nation’s industries.”
Porter, Karen Andrews, Michaelia Cash, Arthur Sinodinos, Greg Hunt, Christopher Pyne, and Ian Macfarlane have all held the ministry in the last eight years – a fact which has drawn criticism from the opposition.
“Their record speaks for itself – this portfolio is where they send problems, not fix them,” Shadow Industry Minister Ed Husic said.
“Good riddance to another failed industry minister from the failing Morrison Government.”
Husic took further aim at Porter, saying the former minister had been shunned by a technology industry that balked at his appointment.
"The only record Christian Porter broke as Industry Minister was his short tenure," Husic said.
"He won't be remember much because he didn't do much."
The latest exist from the technology portfolio comes after Porter updated the parliamentary register of interests to include payment from a blind trust to help pay for his defamation lawsuit against the ABC.
Porter said he had “no access to information about the conduct and funding of the trust” and thus could not disclose exact where the money had come from.
In a statement, the former minister said he felt there was a choice to be made between trying to unmask the mysterious benefactor and staying on as technology minister.
“Ultimately, I decided that if I have to make a choice between seeking to pressure the Trust to break individuals’ confidentiality in order to remain in Cabinet, or alternatively forego my Cabinet position, there is only one choice I could, in all conscience, make.”
On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison avoided saying Porter breached Ministerial Standards when he accepted money from an unknown source, rather saying the opposite – that Porter was “upholding the standards” by stepping down.
“The inability for [Porter] to be able to practically provide further information because of the nature of those arrangements, if he were able to do that, that would allow Minister Porter to conclusively rule out a perceived conflict,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
“As a result of him acknowledging that, he has this afternoon taken the appropriate course of action to uphold those standards by tendering his resignation as a minister.”
Over the last six months, Porter has been embroiled in a lengthy saga of scandal that began with a letter sent to Morrison and other prominent parliamentarians which outlined historical rape allegations from 1988 against a cabinet minister.
Porter ousted himself as the alleged rapist of a 16-year-old girl – an allegation he has strenously denied – and began a lawsuit against the ABC and Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan, claiming they had made Porter identifiable when reporting the incident.
He resigned from his position as Attorney-General and was handed the Industry, Science, and Technology portfolio in a late March cabinet reshuffle.
For now, Energy Minister Angus Taylor will take over as Industry Minister as the government prepares for an upcoming election.
Taylor’s own record has some question marks of its own, including the illegal clearing of grassland owned by Taylor’s family, and a strange incident in which Taylor’s office appears to have used doctored data to launch a media attack on Sydney Mayor Clover Moore.
Then there was the unforgettable moment when Taylor responded to his own Facebook post saying "Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus" in what appeared to be a failed attempt at generating positive responses to his post.
Interestingly, Taylor’s Facebook post was about a promise to create 1,000 railway car parks in his electorate. The government was widely criticised for rushing to spend $389 million on promised car parks to strategic areas on the eve of the 2019 election.