Rise and demise in Rudd's Cabinet

JUDITH IRELAND
Last updated 12:23 01/07/2013
Kevin Rudd
ANDREW MEARES
BACK IN CHARGE: Kevin Rudd has retaken control of the Labor party, beating Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge.

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Last-minute Rudd backer Bill Shorten has been rewarded in the new look ministry, adding school education to his existing workplace relations portfolio.

Returned Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd unveiled his ministry today as former trade and regional Australia minister Simon Crean - who was tipped to secure a spot in Rudd's new frontbench - announced he was quitting politics at the upcoming election.

Shorten, who dramatically changed his support from Julia Gillard to Rudd before the leadership ballot last week, will now have responsibility for the school funding reforms.

While Brendan O'Connor, a Gillard supporter, loses the immigration portfolio to Tony Burke, he will take an element of Shorten's old responsibilities - employment - along with skills and training. Other Rudd backers have also been rewarded in the new-look ministry.

Joel Fitzgibbon has been made Minister for Agriculture, while Ed Husic and Alan Griffin have been made parliamentary secretaries to the Prime Minister, with Griffin also taking on the role of Cabinet Secretary.

The reshuffle comes after a raft of ministers - including Greg Combet, Stephen Conroy, Peter Garrett, Craig Emerson and Joe Ludwig - quit their positions in the wake of the Labor leadership ballot last Wednesday.

Chris Bowen has already been sworn in as treasurer and Anthony Albanese as deputy prime minister following the resignation of Wayne Swan.

Albanese will take on responsibility for the NBN as minister for communications and broadband. He retains his infrastructure and transport portfolio.

"This is a large set of responsibilities for a man with a prodigious work ethic and a heart for all Australia," Rudd said.

Rudd told reporters in Newcastle, New South Wales, today that the core task of government was to "keep the economy strong".

"I have assembled today a strong economic team, one with vastly more experience and vastly more competence than those we face opposite," he said.

Along with Bowen as treasurer, Penny Wong keeps her position has finance minister.

Assistant treasurer David Bradbury picks up financial services and superannuation from Shorten.

Another key Rudd backer, Kim Carr, rejoins cabinet with responsibility for innovation, industry, science, research and higher education.

In another significant change, with Burke, the former environment minister, taking on immigration, Mark Butler swaps mental health for climate change, environment, heritage and water. Burke will, however, keep the arts portfolio.

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Another key Rudd supporter, Richard Marles will enter cabinet as the minister for trade - taking over from Emerson, who is also quitting politics.

Marles had earlier quit his role as parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs after the March leadership ballot.

Melissa Parke, who has worked as a senior lawyer in the United Nations, has been promoted to the ministry as the first minister for international development.

"Melissa has a passion for this area," Rudd said.

Outspoken Labor left leader Doug Cameron has been made parliamentary secretary for housing and homelessness.

On Sunday, Fairfax Media reported that the announcement of the new cabinet and outer ministry was delayed as Rudd was not able to fill some crucial roles as quickly as he hoped. Labor sources said a number of ministerial offers were refused and efforts were poured into coaxing some key Gillard ministers back into cabinet.

Today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Rudd's new look team "is not even the B team, it's the C team".

In a surprise move, Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jason Clare has been moved to the outer ministry and loses the Cabinet Secretary role.

Clare, who has been touted as a future Labor leader, was only recently promoted to cabinet.

Kate Lundy - a strong support of Gillard - loses the prized sports portfolio to Senator Don Farrell. Lundy keeps multicultural affairs and will be minister assisting for the digital economy (a new role) as well as minister assisting for innovation and industry.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Resources Minister Gary Gray all keep their positions. Smith, despite announcing plans to retire at the upcoming election, will continue as defence minister.

The new ministry will be sworn-in at Government House at 2pm today (NZT 4pm).

CREAN QUITS POLITICS

When announcing the line-up, Rudd acknowledged Crean's departure and his contribution to politics.

The former Labor leader joined Stephen Smith, Gillard, Garrett, Emerson and Combet in deciding not to contest the upcoming election.

Crean has been on the backbench since March this year, when he unsuccessfully called on Rudd to challenge then Prime Minister Gillard.

Crean, who served as opposition leader between 2001 and 2003, stood in last week's ballot for the deputy leadership, but lost to Albanese.

Rudd said he had spoken to Crean on Sunday.

"He has been an extraordinary leader in our movement for a long time," Rudd said.

Crean said he had turned down an offer to serve in Rudd's new cabinet.

"I welcomed that, but I indicated to him I had come to the decision not to contest the next election and he should take that into account,'' he told Fairfax Radio.

"I left him essentially the option to use the position to regenerate or if he needed me to plug a gap until the election I was happy to."

SIX WOMEN IN CABINET

Three women have been promoted to cabinet in Rudd's reshuffle.

Julie Collins joins cabinet as minister for housing and homelessness, and Catherine King will retain the regional portfolio.

Jacinta Collins also joins cabinet as minister for mental health and ageing.

The promotion of King, Collins and Senator Collins bring the total number of women in cabinet to six, with Senator Wong, Jenny Macklin and Tanya Plibersek.

''This will the largest number of women in the Australian cabinet in history, and the same for the ministry at large,'' Rudd told Channel Seven this morning.

Asked if he made the appointments because he feared a backlash after he deposed Australia's first female prime minister last week, Rudd replied: ''These are women who are strong, professional, highly experienced and they are there exclusively on their merit.''

Macklin keeps families, disability reform and indigenous affairs and Plibersek adds medical research to her responsibility for health.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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