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Minor Changes To Opposition Shadow Ministry; Dodson Promoted To Executive In First Week As A Senator

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has made a number of changes to his Shadow Ministry, including the promotion of just-appointed Senator Patrick Dodson

The changes are as a result of the parliamentary retirement of Gary Gray, (Brand-WA), who held the posts of Shadow Minister for Resources and Shadow Minister for Northern Australia.

The Resources portfolio goes to Jason Clare, (Blaxland-NSW). He will be assisted by new Shadow Assistant Minister for Resources, Jim Chalmers, (Rankin-Qld).

Shayne Neumann, (Blair-Qld), becomes Shadow Minister for Northern Australia.

The new Shadow Minister for Regional Communications will be Stephen Jones, (Throsby-NSW).

Senator Dodson (WA) becomes Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader. He took up his Senate seat three days ago. [Read more…]

The Ages Of The Shorten ALP Shadow Ministry

This is a breakdown of the Shorten ALP Shadow Ministry based on age.

For comparative purposes, see the statistics on The Ages of The Turnbull Government Ministers.

Whereas Turnbull is currently the only member of the executive over the age of 60, the ALP has 8 such members, including 2 in the Shadow Cabinet: Jenny Macklin and Senator Kim Carr. In most respects, however, the age breakdown is fairly similar between the ALP and the Coalition.

The oldest member of the Shorten team is Warren Snowdon, 66, who first entered Parliament in 1987. The youngest is Senator Sam Dastyari, 32, who filled a casual vacancy in 2013.

The average age of the Shorten team is 50.2, compared to 48.7 for the government. Turnbull’s Cabinet has an average age of 49.4, compared to Shorten’s 50.0.

Shorten ALP Opposition – Ages of Shadow Ministers – Summary
Group 60-69 50-59 40-49 30-39 Total Average Age

[Read more…]

Gary Gray: “I Am Made Sad By My Party’s Position”

Gary Gray has reiterated his support for the Senate voting reforms, in a speech to the Federation Chamber of the House of Representatives today.

Gray, the Labor member for Brand, said the government’s bill contained 95% of the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

Gray said the legislation sought to eliminate “pop-up parties” created for the purpose of garnering a small number of primary votes and then channelling those votes elsewhere through group voting tickets.

He said he would vote with his party against the legislation but said: “I am made sad by my party’s position.” [Read more…]

Party Discipline Trumps Policy Commitment: Gary Gray Supports Senate Voting Reform But Will Vote Against It

Gray Gray has reaffirmed his support for reform of the Senate voting system but committed himself to supporting the ALP Caucus decision to oppose the bill currently before the Parliament.

Gray, the Labor member for Brand in Western Australia, spoke in the House of Representatives today on the Turnbull government’s Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill which proposes elminating group voting tickets and introducing optional preferential voting above-the-line in Senate ballots.

Gray was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) which made bipartisan recommendations in favour of sweeping changes to the Senate voting system. Gray said he supported the government’s bill but it would be a better bill if the JSCEM’s recommendations were adopted in full. [Read more…]

Gray Gray, ALP Member For Brand, To Retire From Parliament At Election

Gary Gray, the Labor member for the Western Australian electorate of Brand, has announced that he will retire from Parliament at this year’s election.

GrayGray, 57, has held Brand for three terms since he succeeded the former ALP leader, Kim Beazley, in 2007. He announced his retirement tonight at a meeting of the Brand Electorate Council.

Gray said it was “time to move on, and to support renewal in the WA Federal Parliamentary Party”.

Last year, Gray and the member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan, were at risk of losing their preselections in the face of a push for control by the ALP state secretary, Patrick Gorman, who demanded that they sign a “candidate’s pledge”. The party’s National Executive intervened in the disputes in support of the MPs’ right to nominate. Gray also faced a challenge from the party’s Left faction via a candidate from the Electrical Trades Union.

At the 2013 election, Gray held Brand by a margin of 2.88%. Despite a nationwide swing of 3.61%, and a statewide swing in Western Australia of 1.87%, the swing against Gray was just 0.45%.

Following the redistribution of electoral boundaries in Western Australia, it is estimated that Brand’s margin is now 3.8%. [Read more…]

Gillard Reshuffles Ministry; Supporters Promoted; Four New Ministers

In the aftermath of last week’s ALP leadership spill, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced her reshuffled ministry.

The new line-up was necessitated by the sacking of Simon Crean and the resignations of Chris Bowen, Martin Ferguson and Senator Kim Carr, and parliamentary secretary Richard Marles.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Gillard announced that Gary Gray will become Minister for Resources and Energy, replacing Martin Ferguson. He will be joined in the Cabinet by Jason Clare.

Anthony Albanese, a prominent Rudd supporter, takes on Simon Crean’s former responsibility for regional development and local government, in addition to his existing role as infrastructure and transport minister. [Read more…]

Gary Gray Announces Resignation as ALP National Secretary

The National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, Gary Gray, says he is leaving the Party’s top administrative job, confident that the ALP is poised to win the next Federal election.

Mr Gray announced this morning that he would resign from the position of National Secretary, effective from March next year.

“I have told Kim Beazley and the parliamentary leadership of my intention to resign after almost seven years serving in the job. It is obviously not a decision that I have taken lightly – but it is a decision which has been guided by my dedication to the Australian Labor Party and my determination to always do what I believe is best for the ALP.

“The decision to go now ensures my successor has every opportunity to position the Party for the next Federal election in 2001.

“I leave knowing that Labor’s prospects have never been brighter. Nationally we only need a swing of less than 1% to win government. At the state level, Labor is in control across the entire eastern seaboard including Tasmania. We have every chance of winning state elections in Western Australia and South Australia.”

Mr Gray said his decision to resign two years before the next Federal election meant the incoming National Secretary would have ample time to prepare for what was certain to be a challenging campaign. [Read more…]

ALP National Secretary Gary Gray Resigns

The ALP’s National Secretary, Gary Gray, has announced his intention to resign early next year, citing an inability to commit himself to another election campaign.

Gray’s resignation follows an acrimonious period of disputation with the former Secretary of the NSW ALP, John Della Bosca. The two men were at loggerheads during the 1998 Federal election. The NSW branch of the party refused to follow Federal ALP strategy in the campaign and both sides have blamed each other for the ALP’s failure to make substantial gains in NSW. [Read more…]

Gary Gray: The Funding Of Political Parties

This is the text of a speech on Political Funding by the ALP National Secretary, Gary Gray.

The speech was given at The Sydney Institute.

Thank you, Gerard.

Ladies and gentlemen.

I have not come to the Sydney Institute today to pick over the entrails of the election on 2 March. Today I want to discuss with you an issue which goes to the heart of our pluralist democratic society.

The issue I would like to discuss is how our parties are funded. The inter relationship of politics and business has always been….controversial to say the least. But with our kind of economy and our kind of democracy, there will always be a close relationship between politics and business.

So I would like to flesh out…from the view point of the Labor Party some principles and a philosophy on the funding of parties.

Over the last three year political cycle, the two major parties, counting the Coalition as a single entity, spent over $155 million. The Coalition spent around $88 million, Labor around $67 million. [Read more…]

ALP National Secretary Gary Gray’s Address to the Queensland ALP Conference

ALP National Secretary Gary Gray says the ALP needs to “act as a Party” if it is to return to office federally and in the states.

Addressing the Queensland ALP Conference, Gray said it was important that the ALP not behave “as a bickering and jostling collection of factions, more interested in small victories over internal rivals than in the larger victory: over the hearts, the minds, the perceptions and the votes of the electorate.”

Gray said: “The way back to government for Labor, all around the country is: the pursuit of a “common cause” through “common sense”. Common sense doesn’t sound like a grand ideal. But it is – I would argue – the core value of the Labor Party.” [Read more…]