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Joyce tapped Hartsuyker on the shoulder

HOW IT WAS: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker share a lighter moment on the front bench. However, Mr Hartsuyker will now head to the back benches after no place could be found for him in the new Coalition ministry LOCAL MP Luke Hartsuyker remained stoic yesterday after suprisingly being dumped from the Federal Government’s revamped ministry.

While conceding he was “disappointed” to lose his role on the executive, he acknowledged that politics was a “numbers game”, and that new Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce had determined the party’s four ministry representatives.

In announcing the new line-up, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull named Senator Scott Ryan as the new Minister for Vocational Education and Skills to replace Mr Hartsuyker.

“He (Mr Hartsuyker) is not featuring in the National Party’s ministerial line-up on this occasion,” Mr Turnbull said.

“I want to thank Luke for his contribution in that profile. He’s a great parliamentarian; great Coalitionist and he will be missed.”

Mr Hartsuyker has been a member of the Coalition front bench for almost a decade. He said he had achieved a lot and been part of good government.

“Over the past eight years, it has been my honour to serve as Deputy Leader of the House, Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Assistant Minister for Employment, Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law and as shadow minister for Regional Communications, Youth and Sport,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“During this time, I have had the privilege of working on a range of initiatives that have delivered better services to people in regional Australia and the broader community.

“I am particularly pleased to have been able to assist job seekers, especially young job seekers in regional areas, through the roll-out of the new job active employment service, Work for the Dole and Youth Employment Strategy.

Mr Hartsuyker can look forward to representing a new-look electorate should he retain Cowper at this year’s Federal Election, as the seat will now encompass Port Macquarie.

That in itself will present a challenge with two major regional cities – Coffs Harbour and now Port – to be in Cowper.

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