Tanya Plibersek has lashed Scott Morrison for suggesting Marise Payne would effectively become the "Prime Minister for Women", and says he only acted once he realised he had a political problem.

The prime minister was present in Canberra on Tuesday for the swearing-in of his new-look cabinet, which saw a group of female ministers promoted to senior roles.

Mr Morrison used the announcement on Monday to declare "getting results for women" was priority for his government, which has faced months of allegations ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

But he raised eyebrows on Monday when he suggested Ms Payne, who will co-chair a task-force on women's equality, would "effectively amongst her female colleagues (be) the prime Minister for Women".

He later clarified that title as the "primary Minister for Women" to "ensure that no one gets too carried away with puns for later".

Tanya Plibersek has slammed the PM over comments made at the cabinet reshuffle announcement. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Tanya Plibersek has slammed the PM over comments made at the cabinet reshuffle announcement. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

But Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said the remark showed Mr Morrison failed to fully grasp the issue, despite publicly attempting to reset the narrative.

"Scott Morrison said blokes don't always get it right. I'm waiting for the time that he does actually get it right," she said on Tuesday.

"What a nonsense proposition that we have a government that is half for men and half for women."

The reshuffle included promotions for Michaelia Cash, who replaced Christian Porter as Attorney-General, and Karen Andrews, who has become the Home Affairs Minister.

Jane Hume, Amanda Stoker, Anne Ruston and Melissa Price were also given additional responsibilities.

Ms Andrews said the task-force into women's equality would take a wide-ranging view to understand issues facing women in politics, brought into sharp focus since former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in Parliament House in 2019.

Scott Morrison claimed Marise Payne would effectively be ‘the Prime Minister for Women’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Scott Morrison claimed Marise Payne would effectively be ‘the Prime Minister for Women’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

"It is the responsibility of everyone on that task-force to properly represent the views of women," Ms Andrews told Sky News.

Ms Plibersek said she hoped the promotion of more women to cabinet would "make a difference" and Labor was willing to work with the government to achieve progress.

She said the prime minister "finally taking this seriously" was "a sign he's worried".

But she urged him to implement a range of measures, including ten days paid domestic violence leave, 26 weeks of paid parental leave, and steps to reduce the gender pay and superannuation gaps.

Ms Plibersek accused the government of being "negligent" over its failure to implement recommendations from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, more than a year since receiving them.

"It's shameful that it hasn't been dealt with until now, that it's only being dealt with now because the government's got a political problem that it needs to fix," she said.

Originally published as 'Nonsense': PM's comment lashed

The PM at the swearing in of his new-look cabinet, which included promotions for a group of female ministers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
The PM at the swearing in of his new-look cabinet, which included promotions for a group of female ministers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman


School swimming coach stole wallet after pub argument

Premium Content School swimming coach stole wallet after pub argument

A school based swimming coach got into an argument with a man at a pub and stole...

REVEALED: Six future Mt Morgan water solutions

Premium Content REVEALED: Six future Mt Morgan water solutions

The Rockhampton Regional Council has revealed six potential solutions for the...

Partner’s temper leads to drink-drive charge

Premium Content Partner’s temper leads to drink-drive charge

A drink-driver claimed she chose to drink to get away from her partner who had a...