Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poses for photos with his ministry after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Turnbull is sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Andrew Meares
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer with daughter Olivia and Defence Minister Marise Payne during the ceremony. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Mr Turnbull and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop during photos on the front steps of Government House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
A new and sombre mood has settled over Canberra since election day less than a month ago.
Gone are the times of excitement and innovation, of challenges to be greeted with anticipation and a Prime Minister who almost bobs up and down as he speaks such is his enthusiasm for the task of nation building.
In its place is a government of service delivery and grave commitments, of promising to keep faith with an electorate that delivered more excitement to Malcolm Turnbull on July 2 than he could ever have dreamed of.
When Mr Turnbull announced his new ministry on Monday afternoon it was without the words that had become the hallmarks of his prime ministership.
Sobered by the mood of the electorate, the drawn out count and the spectre of a Senate that seems at least twice a tricky as the one he just spent eight weeks campaigning to replace, the Prime Minister was solemn.
And so it was with the swearing-in of the new ministry at Government House in Canberra on Tuesday morning.
When Mr Turnbull presented his first ministry to the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, less than a year ago the occasion had the feeling of a joyful family reunion. Small children raced about and babies gurgled as ministers and their families looked on indulgently.
There were children aplenty on Tuesday but they were not front and centre as they were on that sunny day back in September. Instead of toddlers’ interjections, a pram could be seen discreetly parked in the coat room of Government House.
There were bright spots such as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s splendid tartan tie and the revelation that Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s middle name is Hubert. (One reporter was so startled by this she thought Sir Peter said “unicorn”.)
Special Minister of State Scott Ryan’s enormous family bible, an 1880s American published number that he uses as a token of affection for his grandmother, was again on display.
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg surprised everyone by bringing Heather Henderson, the daughter of Sir Robert Menzies, as his date for the occasion, the conservative political equivalent of managing to get one of the Beatles to tag along.
But even that felt like the continuity part of the Prime Minister’s pledge had triumphed over the change part.
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