28/01/2021 - 15:00

WA MP wins in shadow cabinet reshuffle

28/01/2021 - 15:00

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Madeleine King has taken on the resources portfolio in the opposition’s frontbench reshuffle as Anthony Albanese has made the bold assertion he will win the next federal election.

WA MP wins in shadow cabinet reshuffle
Anthony Albanese says he'll win the next federal election, despite polling indicating he faces steep odds against Scott Morrison. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Madeleine King has taken on the resources portfolio in the opposition’s frontbench reshuffle as Anthony Albanese has made the bold assertion he will win the next federal election.

That comes as other Western Australians, including Patrick Gorman and Matthew Keogh, earned junior promotions to the shadow ministry.

Mr Gorman will serve as shadow minister for WA, while Mr Keogh will serve as shadow minister assisting for small business.

Josh Wilson will continue to serve as the shadow assistant minister for the environment, while Patrick Dodson and Louise Pratt also retain their junior positions.

Anne Aly and Sue Lines are the only other Australian Labor Party members from WA in federal parliament without a position in the shadow ministry.

Ms King, who holds the seat of Brand in Perth’s south and is also shadow minister for trade, will work alongside Murray Watt, who has been appointed shadow minister for Queensland’s resources.

She said she acknowledged the need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 while acknowledging that resources account for about half of Australia’s exports.

“Labor supports our world-leading resources sector because it creates jobs, economic growth and export revenue for Australia,” she said.

“As a Western Australian, I understand the crucial role the industry plays in the nation’s economic wellbeing and the importance of mining to regional communities right around the country.”

Today’s reshuffle was also notable for elevating Chris Bowen, a powerbroker of Labor’s right faction, to the role of climate and energy spokesperson.

Mr Bowen will replace Mark Butler, who had officially served as minister for climate change between 2012 and 2013 before holding the shadow portfolio from 2016 onwards.

Mr Butler faced intense criticism from Labor’s right faction and took significant blame for the party’s shock election defeat in 2019; Joel Fitzgibbon, who resigned his position on the frontbench in November owing to a stoush with Mr Butler, vocally supported his demotion for months.

He will switch roles with Mr Bowen and take over as health spokesperson.

Other notable changes include the creation of the national reconstruction portfolio, to be held by deputy leader Richard Marles, and the creation of a government accountability portfolio, to be held by deputy leader in the senate, Kristina Keneally.

Mr Albanese said Mr Marles’ role will focus on how to create good, secure jobs for Australians.

“His short title is the shadow minister for jobs, jobs and more jobs,” he said.

Elsewhere, Brendan O’Connor will become defence spokesperson, Julie Collins will become agriculture spokesperson and Ed Husic will take on industry and innovation.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra this afternoon, Mr Albanese said his team would be one of the strongest to form government should Labor win the next federal election.

He subsequently compared himself to President Joe Biden, who he argued defied punditry to be elected the 46th president of the US in November.

“I will be the leader of this country after the next election,” he said.

That is a bold claim for Mr Albanese to make, given he has consistently fared poorly against Prime Minister Scott Morrison in head-to-head polls, despite the opposition remaining within striking distance of the federal government on a two-party preferred basis.

Mr Albanese has also faced increasing scrutiny within the opposition's ranks over the past few months, with former leader Bill Shorten this week arguing that the party’s platform was not ambitious enough for it to win at the next election.

Mr Shorten, however, did say he supported Mr Albanese’s leadership.

The opposition holds 68 seats in the lower house and would need eight more to form government at the next election.

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