Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rudd's ministerial team

What do you think of this lot? It is the important implication of the election. An open forum with constructive comment sought. I thought the senior ministers generally were as expected and reasonable. Here are some concise bios. Some good comment by Robert Merkel. I'll update as thoughts occur.

Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner received the positions of Treasurer and Finance Minister, respectively. They have been charged with making better use of the Treasury, which Mr Rudd says was neglected under the previous Coalition Government. Mr Tanner is also in charge of Business Deregulation, which the incoming PM says will be a key priority of his government. As expected, ticks though Treasury will be a challenge for Swan.

Julia Gillard is Deputy Prime Minister with the massive task of managing two portfolios: Industrial Relations and Education. Mr Rudd says the joining of the portfolios emphasises the link education and industrial relations has. Julia is very able but she has a lot to do. Andrew Norton argues we need a minister dedicated to education. I agree.

Peter Garrett has been given the Environment and Arts portfolios, but Penny Wong has been given the now separate portfolio for Climate Change and Water. For Garrett the decision to split off climate change represents a demotion. Both are weak and will come under challenge from new faces if they do not perform. Penny Wong interesting as an Asian lesbian.

Former Education Shadow Minister Stephen Smith has been given the Foreign Affairs portfolio. Mr Rudd says a Foreign Minister from West Australia is important in making sure the west is well-represented in Australia’s foreign policy dealings. Tick.

Joel Fitzgibbon becomes Minister for Defence. A bit of a challenge for this former TAFE teacher.

Anthony Albanese will become Infrastructure Minister.

The newly created Department of Innovation, Science and Research to Kim Carr. Poor appointment, concession to left. A dangerous voice on industry policy and 'innovation'.

Martin Ferguson will become the Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism. Tourism has now been given a place at the cabinet table. Poor appointment, this hack and climate change skeptic should retire. His eyes are too close together.

Tony Burke will become Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Former union hack. Don't know.

Simon Crean will be Trade Minister while Nick Sherry receives the portfolio of Superannuation and Corporate Law. Ticks though a bit of a demotion for aging hack Crean. Sherry an unstable former union boss.

Craig Emerson becomes Minister for Small Business as well as the Minister assisting the Minster for Finance. Tick, good.

Brendan O’Conner will be in charge of Workplace Participation. Former union hack.

Nicola Roxon becomes Health and Aging Minister. Young intelligent. Tick.

Jenny Macklin will be Minister for Families, Community Housing and Indigenous Affairs, while Tanya Plibersek receives the Housing and Status of Women portfolios. Awful, very weak - Macklin hopeless as public servant and a hopeless non-performer in parliament.

Joseph Ludwig becomes Minister for Human Services.

Stephen Conroy becomes Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Tick and tick for clever jargon in retitled portfolio.

Former Foreign Affairs Shadow Minister Robert McClelland becomes Attorney-General. Tick.

Former NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus becomes Minister for Home Affairs. Outer ministry.

Chris Evans, the leader in the senate, becomes Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. Unusual portfolio for ex trade unionist.

Alan Griffin will become the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Kate Ellis will be the Minister for Youth and Sport. Outer ministry - potential for promotion if hacks fail.

Star candidate Maxine McKew becomes parliamentary secretary to the PM. Bloody hell - make her the Minister for Ear-to-Ear grins. Should stick to TV.

Union heavyweight Greg Combet becomes Parliamentary Secretary for Defence procurement. Strange portfolio for union hack.

Mike Kelly also becomes a Parliamentary Secretary for Defence.

Bill Shorten becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Housing and Indigenous Affairs. Strange choice for union hack.

Veteran Bob McMullan becomes Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, an area the incoming PM says is “close to his heart.” Not in Caninet.

Duncan Kerr will be Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific while John Faulkner becomes Special Minister of State. I guess ticks.

Dumped: Mr Rudd has dumped five of the frontbench team he took to the election - Laurie Ferguson, Jan McLucas, Kate Lundy, Kerry O'Brien and Arch Bevis. Bye.


Slim said...

From what I've seen the cabinet line up looks promising and competent.

Interesting to to hear Heather Riddout the other night praising the depth of talent and economic credentials of Rudd's front bench and the good working relationship she already had with Wayne Swann, among others. She was also critical of Howard's failure over eleven and a half years to address microeconomic reform.

Before the election it was all trade union thugs and falling skies. Now she is looking forward to making some long overdue progress under a Rudd government.

That's politics, I guess.

Are you still in Italy?

hc said...

Slim, You mean Ridout right? She is essentially a lobbyist so will say these things irrespective.

I don't expect a higher pace of microeconomic reform under Labor and much needed reforms in lobour markets might not occur in my lifetime - even if the Coalition is quickly returned.

I return home tomorrow.

Sinclair Davidson said...

A tad harsh on Combet and Shorten - I suspect they would be very good at whatever they set their minds to. They need to fit in somewhere given their recent entry into the Parliament.

Kim il Carr will be fun to watch.

The comment about Wong is unnecessary.

hc said...

The comment about Wong is neutral. It is factual, non-pejorative.

Shorten seems to me a limited publicity seeker. Combet will need to cut out the trade union hysterics. Yes they must have administrative skills but their vision for Australia I question.

procrustes said...

Maxine's job will be to sign correspondence the PM can't be bothered to sign.

I like the idea of Finance having deregulation - hopefully that will also spark some micro reform or be a bulwark against overly-interventionist tendencies from elsewhere in the Government

P.F. Politics said...

Hi Harry,

A few comments:

1. I can't see what you see in Julia Gillard but irrespective if I were counting on an education revolution I'd be pretty disappointed in getting a part-time minister. While never having been a minister! would think getting IR reforms right (and selling them) is going to be a major job. She is going to have to rely heavily on the public service.
Would agree with you here.

2. My vague memory is that Simon Crean was keen on industry policy too (though will be happy to be corrected) so the Carr-Crean combination doesn't bode well (except for the owners of the local car industry)

3. It is hard not to see Peter Garrett as having been effectively demoted with Wong getting the meatiest parts of this portfolio and Garrett getting the Arts (like Justin Madden getting Sport)

4. Happy with Tanner - a colleague who knew about this area recommended his writings on telecommunications.


Mark U said...

"The comment about Wong is neutral. It is factual, non-pejorative."

But why make it? It is totally irrelevant to how she might perform as a Parliamentary Secretary.

Slim said...

Makes as much sense as describing others as heterosexual AngloCeltic Australians I guess.

derrida derider said...

Yeah, there's a few deadheads amongst them - as every Oz ministry (even the fabled first Hawke one) has had. But I'd say there's rather fewer than the Nats and apparatchiks Howard was forced to find a place for.

But if you think Shorten and (especially) Combet are deadheads then I think you'll get a surprise. And you are certainly underestimating Penny Wong - having seen her work firsthand at Senate Estimates I can tell you she's nobody's fool.

hc said...

Describing Penny as Asian and lesbian is only troubling if you find these attributes troubling. I don't at all.

She will have a different view of the world and that makes these attributes interesting.

DD I've only seen Penny making public statements on policy and she comes across as a carping hack. She certainly towed the party line on WorkChoices. I'll watch her.

Combet has a public visciousness towards employers and business that may reflect his earlier position. He and media tart Shorten need to grow up. Maybe they will.

procrustes said...

As a generally non-labor supporter, I must say that I was very impressed with Wong's performance on senate estimates committees when I was working in Australia a few years ago. I think she has real strength of character - and far better her than baldy in charge of greenhouse policy.

Also, good riddance to that twit Lundy.

rog said...

What exactly is the link between education and industrial relations - or is Rudd trying to tie up Ms Gillard?

Tony Healy said...

Combet is an ideal selection for defence procurement. As a "union hack" he is accustomed to understanding a wide range of business executives - dealing fairly with honest ones and strongly with the corrupt. His work bringing the Hardie management and their lawyers to account was exemplary. He also has engineering training.

Shorten is an MBA as well as a "union hack." In my experience, the union credential is the more worthy of the two.

Tanya Plibersek has written a range of extremely insightful social pieces for the Sydney Morning Herald, addressing issues such as housing.

Penny Wong did some very sharp work on 457 visas.