Anthony Albanese has unveiled his new cabinet featuring a record 13 women and the nation’s first Muslim ministers – but there’s one choice that has people talking.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has demoted former leadership rival Tanya Plibersek from the education portfolio in a shock reshuffle move that delivers a big promotion to NSW Labor MP Jason Clare.
Mr Albanese blindsided Ms Plibersek with the decision this afternoon but she told colleagues she was thrilled to be in a Labor cabinet as Minister for Environment and Water.
The Prime Minister insisted today that she was happy and willing to serve in the role.
“I’m delighted to be appointed a Cabinet minister in the new Labor Government with responsibility for environment and water. I look forward to the challenge,” she said.
“Australia is lucky to be home to the most beautiful natural environments in the world, which we need to protect and preserve for future generations. Let’s get to work.”
Mr Albanese said she would have a particular focus on the Murray-Darling basin.
“Tanya is someone who can get things done. She’s an experienced former minister as well as a former shadow minister,” Mr Albanese said.
The surprise move follows former leader Bill Shorten being relegated to the National Disability Insurance Scheme portfolio by Mr Albanese in opposition.
Announcing his new 22-strong cabinet, Mr Albanese shocked colleagues by moving Ms Plibersek from the education portfolio and stripping her of the women’s portfolio which was given to Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.
A former deputy leader under Bill Shorten, Ms Plibersek was at the center of speculation during the election after Mr Albanese failed to invite her to the ALP campaign launch in Perth.
The environment portfolio was previously held by a far more junior Queensland MP Terri Butler who lost her seat to the Greens at the election.
However, it is now a cabinet role with Mr Albanese confirming there will be 22 MPs in his new cabinet when it is sworn in this week.
Elevated into the education portfolio is NSW MP Jason Clare, who was previously the housing minister and responsible for the ALP’s plan to allow thousands of low income families to take out cheaper loans with the government owning equity in your property.
Mr Clare won plaudits during the campaign in his role as Labor spokesman.
A broader reshuffle was made possible after Labor Senator Kristina Keneally was rejected by voters in Fowler and Queensland MP Terri Butler lost her seat.
The Prime Minister’s new line up has 10 women in the 22 cabinet positions, and 13 in total in the ministry of 29.
Mr Albanese confirmed the lineup on Tuesday night as Labor moved towards claiming a majority with 77 seats in the 151 seat Parliament.
“Today Labor has claimed the 77th seat in the House of Representatives,” Mr Albanese said.
“It confirms indeed that Labor will be a majority government when Parliament resumes in July.’
“It means the Coalition failed to claim a single seat from Labor at the election.’
As expected, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles has also taken on a national security role as Defense Minister, a portfolio he previously held in opposition.
Another big winner is Victorian MP Clare O’Neil who was elevated to the home affairs portfolio. But the Labor leader has put the Immigration portfolio into the outer ministry with Andrew Giles taking on the job.
Mr Albanese’s tight inner circle of MPs who are regarded as closest to Mr Albanese have all remained in their roles.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong has already been sworn in as Finance Minister Katie Gallagher and Treasurer Jim Chalmers.
SA Labor MP and Left faction power broker Mark Butler, who is personally close to Mr Albanese and traveled with him during the election, has retained the health portfolio.
NSW Labor MP Chris Bowen retains the climate change portfolio and Catherine King remains in the infrastructure portfolio.
SA Labor MP Amanda Rishworth who has spearheaded the ALP’s childcare policy will take on the social services portfolio.
WA MP Anne Aly was also elevated to the outer ministry in the role of Early Childhood Minister working with Ms Rishworth.
Queensland MP Annika Wells has also been elevated to the ministry in the Aged Care portfolio. NSW Labor MP Kirsty McBain, who won the seat of Eden-Monaro was appointed as the Minister for Regional Affairs.
Justine Elliott, Matt Thistlewaite, Patrick Gorman, Jenny McAllister, Carol Brown and Ged Kearney, Emma McBride, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy were named as assistant ministers.
As expected, Victorian MP Mark Dreyfus was named as Australia’s next Attorney-General and former leader Bill Shorten will be sworn in as the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Tasmanian MP Julie Collins will take on the housing portfolio that was previously held by Mr Clare.
Queensland Labor MP Murray Watt, who is also regarded as part of Mr Albanese’s inner circle was elevated to the Agriculture portfolio.