\nFederal politics coverage\nFederal election 2013 coverage\nFederal Election 2013 results\n Howard-era finance minister Nick Minchin has emerged as a contender to take over as consul-general in New York after Steve Bracks was dumped from the role as one of the first acts of the incoming government. Mr Bracks had been due to fly out on Friday, but was instead told by Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Peter Varghese on Monday that incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop had sacked him. Mr Bracks, who had relinquished several positions, was appointed in May by former prime minister Julia Gillard. Ms Bishop criticised the decision at the time as inappropriate because of its proximity to the election. While Mr Bracks might have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim, it is believed he is not considering that option. Ms Bishop was particularly concerned that she was not consulted about the appointment given the election was only a few months away. She is believed to have been unimpressed that Mr Bracks made no attempt to contact her. Although the department had insisted that Mr Bracks was unlikely to be dumped, doubts were raised last Wednesday when outgoing foreign minister Bob Carr called to warn him to prepare to unpack his house. A spokesman for Ms Bishop said a replacement ''could take some time'', with no names under consideration. But a field of possible candidates is believed to include Mr Minchin, a cabinet minister in the Howard government who commands significant authority in Coalition ranks. On Wednesday, Mr Minchin said it was ''arrogant in the extreme'' for Labor to have appointed Mr Bracks in the first place. But he would not be drawn on whether he was in the running for the job. ''I've got no comment about me in relation to any role with respect to the new government,'' he told Sky News. Former treasurer Peter Costello's name has also been raised, although this is believed to be unlikely. Mr Bracks said in a statement he had officially started in the role in August and spent the past month consulting business and government leaders. ''I was pleased with the support I received during these consultations, where there was significant recognition of my background as premier of Victoria for eight years and as one of Australia's leaders in the funds management industry for the last six years,'' he said. The decision sparked immediate controversy. Incoming attorney-general George Brandis said Labor had given Mr Bracks the job as ''a gift'', suggesting he lacked qualifications for the role. ''Mr Bracks has no obvious credentials for that job,'' Senator Brandis told Sky News. Outgoing special minister of state Mark Dreyfus accused the Coalition of misunderstanding the caretaker conventions. ''Mr Bracks was appointed on 16 May, 2013, that is, more than 11 weeks before the start of the caretaker conventions,'' he said. State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said: ''To axe Steve Bracks from this position simply because he is not a Liberal really does Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott no credit at all''. The Coalition will, however, extend the appointments of former Labor leader Kim Beazley as US amabassador and John McCarthy as ambassador to the Holy See at the Vatican.