A temporary new minister for the industry and innovation portfolio after Senator Arthur Sinodinos was granted extended leave for a medical issue.
In a statement, the minister said he had sought and been granted “a period of leave” by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to address his illness.
“I will return to full duties later this year as soon as practicable. I ask for privacy for myself and my family at this time,” he said.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash will stand in for Senator Sinodinos.
It is an important time for the portfolio, not least in relation to the life sciences sector, with a new departmental secretary, implementation of government's response to the Productivity Commission of intellectual property, and related issues like bedding down changes to the working visa program and the yet-to-be announced response to the review of the R&D Tax Incentive.