2 Jun 2019

Aus Labor's shake up in the top ranks

9:21 pm on 2 June 2019

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has been given the portfolios of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Government Services in Labor's new-look shadow ministry.

Australia Labor party leader Anthony Albanese. 27.5.19

Photo: AFP

Mr Shorten's replacement, Anthony Albanese, unveiled the frontbench shadow positions this afternoon.

"[Mr Shorten] of course made such an impact on Australians with his work on the National Disability Insurance Scheme," Mr Albanese said.

"He will hold the government to account and make sure that it is people with disabilities who are at the centre of attention for that scheme as it is rolled out."

Mr Albanese created a new portfolio to mirror the government's Home Affairs Department, which was given to new deputy leader in the Senate Kristina Keneally.

The former New South Wales premier has been elevated to Labor's frontbench and has also been given the Immigration and Citizenship portfolio.

Following the announcement, Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said his new Labor counterpart was the least qualified person from her party for the job.

"[Senator Keneally] opposed turnbacks where they're safe to do, which is the important central leg of Operation Sovereign Borders," he said.

"She's opposed to offshore processing. She's opposed to permanent visas as we know, which was already the position of the Labor Party.

"There's nobody less qualified in the Labor Party on border protection matters than Kristina Keneally and yet she's ended up with the portfolio."

Western Sydney MP Ed Husic stepped aside to allow Senator Keneally to join the party's senior ranks.

South Australian senator Don Farrell lost his place as Labor's deputy leader in the Senate to make room for Senator Keneally.

But he has maintained his portfolios of Special Minister of State, Sport and has had Tourism added to his list of responsibilities.

Victorian MP Richard Marles is the party's new deputy leader and has been given responsibility for the Defence portfolio.

Mr Marles replaced Tanya Plibersek as deputy leader, who keeps her Education and Training portfolio, but loses the portfolio for Women.

The change comes after Ms Plibersek last month ruled out running for Labor leader, saying "now is not my time".

Queensland MP Jim Chalmers picked up the role of Shadow Treasurer, replacing Chris Bowen who pulled out of the running for the Labor leadership just a day after announcing his candidacy.

Mr Chalmers said he was looking forward to taking on the "really important job".

"In the people-facing part of the economy there is weakness as far as the eye can see," Mr Chalmers said.

"Stagnant wages, weak consumption, underemployment, job insecurity - all feeding into weakness into the broader economy as well."

Meanwhile, Mr Bowen has been given the Health portfolio.

Four MPs, all women, have been elevated to the shadow cabinet.

In addition to Senator Keneally, senator Katy Gallagher becomes Labor's spokeswomen for Finance and the Public Service.

West Australian MP Madeleine King has been given a "major promotion" with the portfolio of Trade.

Queensland MP Terri Butler takes on the role as the spokeswoman for Environment and Water.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong maintains her Foreign Affairs portfolio, and Mark Butler has retained the Climate Change and Energy portfolio.


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