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Liberals prepare for shadow ministry reshuffle

Peter Dutton is weighing up changes to the shadow ministry after two retirements and pressure to bring a voice 'yes' campaigner back into the fold.

Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton moves a motion to establish a royal commission into indigenous child sexual abuse, in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, October 19, 2023. Image AAP

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is keeping tight-lipped on a reshuffle of his frontbench.

Colleagues of NSW Liberal MP Julian Leeser, who stepped aside from the shadow ministry to campaign for a 'yes' vote in the Indigenous voice referendum, are keen for him to come back onto the frontbench.

Mr Dutton has two vacancies in his senior ranks after the retirements of former ministers Marise Payne and Stuart Robert.

"I'll make an announcement in relation to the shadow ministry changes in due course," Mr Dutton told reporters in the NSW Hunter region on Tuesday.

"There's obviously a lot of talent I've got to choose from on the backbench and the shadow ministry."

Some in the party believe NSW does not have the representation it deserves in the shadow cabinet.

Others argue the Nationals are over-represented on the frontbench and changes are needed in the coalition mix.

Mr Leeser used a speech in Sydney on Tuesday night to pay tribute to his party for upholding the tradition of allowing backbenchers the freedom to go against a party position.

"Along with Bridget Archer and Andrew Bragg, we were the only parliamentarians in the federal parliament to advocate for a view different to our party," he said.

"But that is to the Liberal Party's credit.

"We are allowed to disagree, to challenge and to engage with a different view."

Receiving Uniting NSW/ACT's inaugural award for political courage, Mr Leeser said his gratitude was tempered by his empathy for Indigenous Australians who felt "bruised" over the referendum loss.

"Political life is not only about courage and conviction, but compromise and negotiation," he said.

"It is about engaging with messiness - and mostly that doesn't look like courage, but it is.

"It takes courage to listen and engage with difference."

Mr Leeser also supported the royal commission into sexual abuse in Indigenous communities.


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