Comms, cyber, digital ministers desert Turnbull

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Comms, cyber, digital ministers desert Turnbull

Portfolio limbo amid leadership crisis.

Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor and Assistant Digital Transformation Minister Michael Keenan have become the latest ministers to formally resign over the ongoing leadership saga engulfing Canberra.

Both ministers formally tendered their resignation letters to embattled Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning, after first offering to resign following Tuesday’s initial leadership ballot by former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Their resignations followed Communication Minister Mitch Fifield also fronting cameras at Parliament House this morning to resign from his position, just moments after banning Huawei from local 5G networks.

Taylor used his letter to raise concerns about both the future direction of the government and Liberal Party.

“I have previously relayed to you my concerns about the direction of this government, and my views on the policies that should characterise a traditional centre-right Liberal Party,” he said.

“I remain steadfast in my view that these changes are critical to the future of the government and the nation.

“As I said in my letter on Tuesday, it has been my privilege to serve as a minister in this government, including as your Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.”

Keenan, who also held the human services portfolio, similarly used his statement announcing his resignation on Twitter to raise concern with the party's direction.

“It has been a great honor to serve, but it has become clear that he’s lost the support of the Liberal Party room,” he said.

“In the best interests of all Australians, it’s important that the leadership is no resolved.”

 The slew of resignations and leadership collapse hold serious consequences for both communications and technology policy, key government agencies and industry.

With a reshuffle now inevitable, the possibility of significant machinery of government changes along with major policy shifts is now in the mix, with the NBN, Digital Transformation Agency and cyber security policy all now in limbo.

The ongoing political uncertainty is also set to directly hit key policy and ministerial decisions that are pending with senior public servants now essentially in de-facto caretaker mode until the leadership issue is resolved.

With Julian Bajkowski

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