Turnbull makes calls to MPs in frontbench reshuffle, Darren Chester offered Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is calling MPs that will make up his new frontbench.

The ABC understands Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester has been offered the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio.

The portfolio was previously held by Warren Truss, who announced his resignation earlier this week.

There are strong indications Steve Ciobo will take on the role of Trade Minister and will work with the soon-to-be special envoy for trade Andrew Robb, who also announced his resignation earlier this week.

Mr Truss and Mr Robb are part of a group of five ministers who have either announced their retirement, stood aside or resigned since late December.

Others include:

  • Stuart Robert is resigning as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC after a controversial trip to China with a major Liberal Party donor.
  • Jamie Briggs resigned as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment late last year after an incident with a young female public servant in a Hong Kong bar.
  • Mal Brough has stood aside as Special Minister of State and Defence Materiel and Science Ministerpending a federal police investigation into the James Ashby affair.

Mr Brough is expected to front media in the early afternoon, to announce he is leaving the ministry.

Incoming deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is expected to keep his Agriculture portfolio, following uncertainty earlier this week.

The Nationals leader historically is allowed to choose their portfolio.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash is now deputy Nationals leader and as such she will move into Cabinet, leaving her outer ministry position open.

The ABC has confirmed she will take on the roles of Regional Development Minister and Minister for Regional Communications, as well as retaining Minister for Rural Health.

The Nationals will be offered another position in Cabinet, expanding the size of cabinet to 22 people.

Other MPs likely to get promoted include Victorian Liberal Dan Tehan, Queensland Senator James McGrath and NSW Liberal Angus Taylor. Victorian Senator Scott Ryan is also being tipped for a role in the outer ministry – he is currently an Assistant Cabinet Secretary.

The ABC’s latest information suggests a mid-afternoon announcement with a swearing in ceremony later this week.