Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten has revealed a minor reshuffle of Labor shadow ministry positions in the wake of previously announced retirements ahead of the next federal election.
Former high profile Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has formally moved into Shadow Cabinet, taking on the shadow portfolios of Mental Health, Housing and Homelessness, and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.
Mr Shorten said Ms Gallagher will also take on responsibility for women’s policy within the Shadow Cabinet, an area the Opposition has been keen to spotlight following the conspicuously small number of women appointed to Cabinet under the Abbott government.
Also rising to Labor’s Shadow Cabinet ranks is Michelle Rowland, the member for Greenway in Sydney’s west who becomes Shadow Minister for Small Business in addition to keeping her previous role as Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.
Ms Rowland’s aptitude for plain and practical speaking and her ability to cut through the jargon of complex economic and social issues, including the National Broadband Network, have seen her tipped as a frontbench contender for months as Labor tries to claw back suburban heartland.
Member for Parramatta, Julie Owens, also gets additional junior shadow ministerial responsibilities becoming Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education in addition to Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business.
“We are proud to welcome two new Labor women to the Shadow Cabinet in Senator Katy Gallagher and Michelle Rowland, bringing the total number to seven,” Mr Shorten said.
Former Treasurer Wayne Swan’s previous chief of staff Dr Jim Chalmers has done well out of the reshuffle, being elevated to the role of Shadow Minister for Superannuation and Financial Services, Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment, Shadow Assistant Minister for Productivity and Shadow Minister for Sport.
Labor has also moved to bolster its online business credibility, with Mr Shorten handing Ed Husic the role of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation and Startups in addition to his existing responsibilities under the shadow Treasury portfolio.
Multinational technology businesses might also be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief.
Sam Dastyari, renowned for hauling corporate bosses over the coals through the Committee process, has scored the role of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Youth, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate after successfully highlighting to minimal amounts of tax foreign-owned corporate giants pay in Australia.
Mr Shorten said the reshuffle followed the retirement of “long-time Labor advocates and true representatives of Queensland, Senator Jan McLucas and Bernie Ripoll.”
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