View from The Hill: Ten women in shadow cabinet, and Nationals grab trade job


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I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I worked as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times for 10 years before retiring in 2012. I continue now as an occasional feature writer. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. I retired from paid radio work in 2022 and took up a position in the Education Centre at Puffing Billy

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Angus Taylor will take the key shadow treasury post in a 24-member shadow cabinet containing 10 women and six Nationals.

The lineup was announced by opposition leader Peter Dutton and Nationals leader David Littleproud on Sunday.

In a sign the opposition may consider throwing its weight behind nuclear power, Queensland Liberal Ted O’Brien, a supporter of nuclear energy, becomes shadow minister for climate change and energy.

O’Brien chaired a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear power and wrote in 2020: “Rather than being perpetually divisive, I believe nuclear technology has the capacity to unite Australians. It is a proposition that brings together progressives and conservatives within the Coalition.”

Julian Leeser, from NSW, is promoted from the backbench to shadow attorney-general and shadow minister for Indigenous Australians. This will give him a key role in the opposition’s response to the government’s planned referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Leeser has had a long term interest and involvement in the Indigenous affairs area. He co-chaired with Labor’s Patrick Dodson a parliamentary inquiry on the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians where he was involved in the co-design process for a Voice to Parliament.

The Coalition has only one Indigenous member of the federal parliament, Jacinta Price, who will sit with the Nationals. Asked about her at his news conference, Dutton pointed out she had only just been elected, but signalled her likely future elevation.

The Nationals will have six members of the 24 member shadow cabinet – compared to five in the Morrison cabinet – reflecting their larger proportion of the Coalition, thanks to holding their seats and gaining a senator.

They have also seized back trade, a long term ambition, and a portfolio they had held in earlier times. Trade and tourism goes to NSW Nationals Kevin Hogan.

Littleproud, who chose his frontbenchers, has included in shadow cabinet Barnaby Joyce, whom he defeated for the leadership. Littleproud’s decision was presumably partly driven by his desire to keep the outspoken Joyce from making too much trouble. Joyce will be spokesman on veterans’ affairs.

Another former Nationals leader, Michael McCormack, is spokesman for international development and the Pacific in the outer shadow ministry.

Having 10 women matches the number in the Albanese 23-member cabinet.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley will be shadow minister for industry, skills and training, and for small and family business, as well shadow minister for women, where she will be charged with trying to win back the support of female voters who deserted the Coalition at the election.

A notable absence from the frontbench is former immigration minister Alex Hawke, a factional numbers man for Scott Morrison. Stuart Robert, another close ally of Morrison, has been demoted to the outer shadow ministry, becoming shadow assistant treasurer and shadow minister for financial services.

Morrison had indicated publicly he did not want a frontbench post. Colleagues do not expect him to serve out the full term.

Former Nationals resources minister Keith Pitt is off the frontbench. The shadow resources minister will be Queensland Nationals senator Susan McDonald.

Darren Chester, who ran for Nationals leader, remains on the backbench, to which Joyce consigned him last year.

Dutton prevailed on former foreign minister Marise Payne, who had not sought a frontbench position, to become shadow cabinet secretary.

Littleproud will continue in agriculture, an area he held in government.

Foreign Affairs goes to opposition Senate leader Simon Birmingham, where he will shadow his Senate opposite number, Foreign Minister Penny Wong. Birmingham is the leader of the diminished band of moderates in the Liberal party, after several fell to “teal” independents.

Former attorney-general and industrial relations minister Michaelia Cash becomes shadow minister for employment and workplace relations.

Karen Andrews will shadow her old area of home affairs, and also become shadow minister for child protection and the prevention of family violence.

Deputy Nationals leader Perin Davey takes water and emergency management.

Former trade minister Dan Tehan becomes shadow minister for immigration and citizenship.

Health and aged care goes to Anne Ruston, who in the election campaign was nominated by Morrison for the health portfolio if the government remained in office.

The Nationals leader in the Senate, Bridget McKenzie, will be shadow minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development.

Sarah Henderson – a one-time ABC journalist who has become a strong critic of the public broadcaster – will become shadow minister for communications.

Former member of the SAS, Andrew Hastie, becomes defence spokesman. He was assistant minister for defence before the election.

Victorian Jane Hume will be shadow minister for finance and shadow special minister of state.

Alan Tudge, whose status became confused in government after he stood aside following claims made by a former staffer, will be education spokesman.

Paul Fletcher becomes shadow minister for science, the digital economy and government services. He will also have responsibility for the arts.

Michael Sukkar takes social services, the NDIS, housing and homelessness.

The environment shadow will be Jonathon Duniam, a senator from Tasmania.

Dutton said the opposition had “incredible depth of talent”. “I’m cognisant of trying to bring people through for an opportunity,” he said.

Littleproud said the Nationals team he brought forward was “about renewal and generational change”.

He was enthusiastic about getting trade back: “The trade portfolio has had a long and proud history with the Nationals, including with party greats John McEwen and Doug Anthony”.

This article was written by:

Disclosure statement

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

view from the hill: ten women in shadow cabinet, and nationals grab trade job

This article is a syndicated news item via  view from the hill: ten women in shadow cabinet, and nationals grab trade job

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