Abbott wrangles in ABC political reporter in staff reshuffle

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott's reshuffle has extended to his own office, in a bid to loosen his chief of staff's grip on power in the nation's most senior political office.

Mr Abbott has issued a statement revealing his long-time political and media strategy advisor and current deputy chief of staff Andrew Hirst will move into a new "strategic communications" role.  

The role, the statement said, would also include "overall responsibility for the Prime Minister's press office", in a move expected to confine current chief of staff Peta Credlin to a more managerial role.  

Other changes included Mr Abbott's appointment of long-time ABC political reporter Mark Simkin to join the office as the head of Mr Abbott's press office.  

The changes will also see form senior press secretary Jane McMillan moved to an as-yet undisclosed "senior position in the office", after controversy over a leak earlier this month, which Ms McMillan has not been directly linked to.  

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