What does the Federal reshuffle mean for housing and homelessness?

A December reshuffle of the Federal cabinet sees new ministers for issues relating to homelessness.

While the Government have continued without a minister for housing and homelessness, two new ministers with responsibilities in relevant areas have been appointed.

Dan Tehan, the member for the Victorian electorate of Wannon, is the new Minister for Social Services. With responsibility for a $118 billion budget, Mr Tehan will oversee Government policy across the full range of social and community services.

Michael Keenan, member for the WA electorate of Stirling is now the Minister for Human Services with responsibility for Centrelink and Medicare.

Who are the new ministers?

Dan Tehan (Tea-an)

Liberal Party

Minister for Social Services

Member for Wannon (Vic) since 2004

Wannon covers 32 000 sq.km in south-west Victoria. It contains population centres of Warrnambool, Portland, Ararat, Hamilton, Halls Gap and Maryborough.

People experiencing homelessness in Wannon: 309

Rate of Homelessness in McMahon: 24 persons per 10,000

Rate of Homelessness in Australia: 49 per 10,000.

Work & Parliamentary History:

Minister for Social Services since 2017

Minister for Veterans Affairs, Defence Personnel, the Centenary of ANZAC (assisting the PM), and Cyber Security (assisting the PM) (2016-17)

Joint Statutory Commitee: Human Rights from 14.3.12 to 5.8.13

Senior Adviser, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2005-06)

Trade Adviser, Office of the Minister for Trade (2002-05)


Michael Keenan

Liberal Party

Minister for Human Services

Member for Stirling (WA) since 2004

Stirling covers 74 sq.km in Perth’s inner northern and beachside suburbs. It contains the suburbs of North Beach, Trigg, Karrinyup, Stirling, Balcatta, Nollamara, Tuart Hill and Yokine.

People experiencing homelessness in Stirling: 348

Rate of Homelessness in Stirling: 25 persons per 10,000

Rate of Homelessness in Australia: 49 per 10,000.

Work & Parliamentary History:

Minister for Human Services since 2017

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation since 2017

Minister for Justice (2013 – 2017)

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism (2015 – 2017)

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (2008-2009)

Shadow Assistant Treasurer (2007-2008)


 You can see the full ministry here.


What is the difference between the role of Minister for Social Services and Minister for Human Services?


The Department of Social Services develops and implements Australia’s national social policy and funds social and community services. The Department of Human Services oversees welfare services through Centrelink and Medicare.

Below is a list of policy areas of the Department of Social Services, and a list of legislation covered by the Department of Human Services. An obvious area of crossover is income support – Social Services is broadly responsible for income support policy, while Human Services is a key stakeholder, particularly on delivery and achieving outcomes.

THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES: Matters dealt with by the Department

  • Income security and support policies and programmes for families with children, carers, the aged, people with disabilities and people in hardship
  • Income support policies for students and apprentices
  • Income support and participation policy for people of working age
  • Services for families with children, people with disabilities and carers
  • Community mental health
  • Community support services
  • Family relationship, Family and Children’s Support Services
  • Social housing, rent assistance and homelessness
  • Child support policy
  • Housing affordability
  • Services to help people with disabilities obtain employment
  • Arrangements for the settlement of migrants and humanitarian entrants, other than migrant child and migrant adult education
  • Non-profit sector and volunteering
  • Multicultural affairs

THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES: Legislation administered by the Minister

  • Australian Hearing Services Act 1991, except to the extent administered by the Health Minister
  • Human Services (Centrelink) Act 1997
  • Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973, except to the extent administered by the Health Minister