Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Senate leader Chris Evans are quitting their ministerial roles and has named their replacements.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard formally announced their resignations at a press conference in Canberra three days after she set September 14 as the federal election date.
'Two of my most senior and valued colleagues ... are stepping down from their ministerial roles and in the case of Chris Evans from the senate leadership as well.'
Ms Gillard said they first raised their futures with her a year ago.
Senator Evans said he would also step down from the senate in a few months when a suitable replacement could be found.
He had been talking to the prime minister about a planned departure for some time.
'I didn't want to serve following the next election,' he told reporters.
Senator Evans said it had been a tremendous honour to be part of the Labor government and he had even been acting prime minister for a few days - and 'nothing went terribly wrong' in that time.
A ballot to replace him as Senate leader will be held at Monday's caucus meeting.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen will replace Senator Evans as minister for tertiary education, skills, science and research.
Ms Roxon became emotional as she said she was very proud of her role in the Labor government and of Ms Gillard's leadership.
'It is time to move on and I have reached that point,' she told reporters.
She said she had not met her husband when she entered politics and if she contested the next election her daughter would be in high school by the time her term ended.
'Like Chris (Evans) I believe we can win the next election,' she said.
Victorian MP Mark Dreyfus will be promoted to become attorney-general.
'I think the mission that we have as a Labor government is a very good one and a very strong one,' Ms Roxon said.
Ms Roxon thanked Ms Gillard who 'seems to be made of titanium' for her strong leadership.
Ms Gillard became emotional when she talked about the 'big shoes' to be filled.
She said Mr Bowen would also pick up the responsibility for small business.
Mr Dreyfus will replace Ms Roxon both as attorney general and minister for emergency management, relinquishing the role of cabinet secretary to Jason Clare, who retains home affairs and justice.
Brendan O'Connor will become minister for immigration and citizenship and Mark Butler will take on Mr O'Connor's housing and homelessness portfolio.
Mike Kelly enters the ministry as minister for defence materiel.
Ms Gillard said she was promoting a number of people into the parliamentary secretary ranks - Yvette D'Ath (climate change and energy efficiency), Kelvin Thompson (trade) and Melissa Parke (mental health, homelessness and social housing).
She announced Justine Elliot was relinquishing her role as parliamentary secretary for trade.
The prime minister said she would recommend to the governor-general that the new members of the ministry be sworn in on Monday.
Ms Gillard was asked about the timing of these key resignations, seeing she had been talking to Ms Roxon and Senator Evans for a year and had just announced this year's election date.
"This is precisely the right time because parliament resumes next week," she told reporters.
"I have always had it in my mind that this was the appropriate time."
She said she didn't have anyone else in her team at the moment saying they wanted to leave.
Ms Gillard said she believed her reshuffled cabinet was the team she would be taking to the next election.
She said personal reasons and health issues sometimes do get in the way of politics.
"I can't wish away the real world ... but this is the team I intend to take to the next election."
She said Mr Bowen had been looking for a new challenge and had been working in a difficult portfolio for some time.
Ms Roxon will move to the backbench until the election, when her departure will create a vacancy in her safe Melbourne seat of Gellibrand.
"My only regret as health minister is the inordinate amount of time we were too long fixing many of the problems that Mr Abbott left from his time as health minister," she said.
Ms Roxon said she was "very torn" about leaving but she truly believed Mr Dreyfus would step into the role seamlessly.
Senator Evans said there were no shortage of people who could serve in his role as senate leader.
"They will all have to make their decisions... there will be a strong field of candidates," he said.
"It is a challenging job, it does take a lot of time and energy."
But he said it was a good team and they were doing "OK".