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Shorten Announces ALP Shadow Ministry Portfolio Allocations

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has announced his allocation of portfolios for the ALP’s Shadow Ministry.

The 48-member executive includes 22 members in the Shadow Cabinet, 10 in the Shadow Outer Ministry and 16 Shadow Assistant Ministers (Parliamentary Secretaries). The total Caucus numbers are not yet final but are likely to be around 95 members. About half of the Caucus will be members of the shadow executive.

A number of positions in the Shadow Cabinet have changed hands, although Chris Bowen remains Shadow Treasurer. The biggest winner of the reshuffle is the second-term MP Jim Chalmers, who has been made Shadow Minister for Finance and moves into the Shadow Cabinet.

In other changes, deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has been moved into the high-profile domestic portfolio of Education. The party’s Senate leader, Penny Wong, takes Foreign Affairs.

Senator Kim Carr, for whom the shadow ministry has been expanded from 30 to 32, retains the portfolio of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Another significant change sees Michelle Rowland take over Communications, whilst Defence goes to Richard Marles and Senator Stephen Conroy takes on Special Minister of State and Sport. The relatively unknown Queenslander, Shayne Neumann, becomes Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. [Read more…]


Gillard Offers Western Sydney Motorway Funding With Conditions

On the first full day of her week-long campaign in western Sydney, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised funding for the western Sydney motorway network, provided the state government comes up with an acceptable business plan.

Speaking beside a noisy motorway with Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Labor MPs from western Sydney, Gillard stipulated several conditions for her government’s support for WestConnex project. [Read more…]


Parliamentary Committee Recommends Referendum On Local Government

The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government has recommended that a referendum on financial recognition of local government be held in conjunction with this year’s federal election.

The Committee recommends that Section 96 of the Constitution be amended to read:

…the Parliament may grant financial assistance to any State or to any local government body formed by State or Territory legislation on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.

The report argues that uncertainty arising from the High Court’s Pape v Commissioner of Taxation (2009) and Williams v Commonwealth of Australia (2012) cases creates a “moment for action” that should result in a referendum this year. [Read more…]