David Rowe, irrepressible cartoonist for the AFR, saw the election this way:
So out with the old and in with the new:
There is a lot of diversity and talent in those 23 bright shining faces. When new PM Anthony Albanese addressed the new caucus, the mood was a bit like a revivalist meeting, but outlining a large agenda of work to do.
One thing I noticed – for months and months the general media, the ABC, expert commentary and just about everyone has been telling us about Labor’s small target, lack of vision and lack of policy differentiation from the Coalition. If you listen to ABC RN’s PM reporting on the above speech, about 3:15 into the segment David Lipson refers to Labor’s “raft of big election promises”.
Strange he saw things completely differently before the election.
So here is the ministry from the AFR:
The official media release is here.
I understand the Cabinet is listed in order of seniority.
The ministry is picked by the factions, but has to be spread across the states, and aspires to gender equality, with the portfolios allocated by the leader, except the deputy pretty much has choice of portfolio. I believe 14 of the 23 in Cabinet have had ministerial experience in the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years.
On gender, a record 10 of 23 in Cabinet are women, in the Outer Ministry it’s three from seven, plus six from 12 assistant ministers. That makes 19 from 42, or 45%.
So all up a little over 40% of the 103 Labor parliamentarians are in the ministry.
Here are three commentaries by women:
- Louise Chappell, Scientia Professor, UNSW Sydney and Claire Annesley, Dean, UNSW Sydney – Australia has more women in cabinet than ever before: what difference will diversity make?
- Michelle Grattan – View from The Hill: Record 10 women in Albanese cabinet, and surprise move for Plibersek to environment
- Katharine Murphy – Anthony Albanese’s ministry contains more surprises than expected following a factional kerfuffle
Looking at the list, the first seven are regulation in terms of seniority, given that Marles as deputy has chosen Defence. Plibersek as third of the rest is arguably about right, I think. The Coalition treated the environment badly. Scrapping recovery plans for 176 threatened species and habitats on the way out was par for the course. On water, it is probably better for someone not involved to look at the Murray Darling, which has, it must be said, received a major boost in funding, presumably at the behest of the former government.
McAllister was born and raised in Murwillumbah, attended the University of Queensland from 1992–1995, majoring in Politics and Government, and the University of Sydney, from which she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours, majoring in Political Economy, Politics and Government.
In 2003 she she co-founded the Labor Environment Activist Network with Kristina Keneally.
- Between 2006 and 2010, she served as the Director of Climate Change, Air and Noise Policy within the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. She subsequently joined AECOM Australia Pty Ltd as Strategic Advisor Water and Climate (2010–2013), progressing to Technical Director – Infrastructure Advisory (2013–2014) and was Managing Director, Water and Urban Development (2014–2015) and a member of AECOM’s ANZ executive when she resigned to join the Senate.
As senator she replaced John Faulkner. Along the way she served as National President of the ALP from 2011 to 2015.
Apart from that Pat Conroy, who continues to carry the International Development and the Pacific outer ministry always sounds sensible and informed on climate, plus Penny Wong and Mark Butler who have done work on climate in the past.
Without going into great detail about how climate policy will develop with the Teal members and the Greens, climate will be central to politics from now on, along with pressing matters like housing and cost of living.
Labor plans, headlined as Powering Australia include:
Re-establish leadership by restoring the role of the Climate Change Authority, while keeping decision-making and accountability with Government and introducing new annual Parliamentary reporting by the Minister.
Countries are expected to ramp up their ambition in providing targets for 2035 to take to COP27 in Egypt at the end of this year. That should provide an opportunity to pivot in order to satisfy the ambition of the Teals if not the Greens.
Watt does not have a rural background, but few Labor members do. Apparently he has relatives in provincial Queensland, and has been most assiduous in visiting all parts of Queensland as a senator.
According to Wikipedia, Aly was born Azza Mahmoud Fawzi Hosseini Ali el Serougi in Egypt, has lived in three australian states, lived and studied in Egypt:
- Aly was a professor, lecturer and academic specialising in counter-terrorism, and she is considered a global authority on understanding how and why young people are drawn into violent extremism. Aly founded People Against Violent Extremism (PaVE) to address extremism in Australia.
Prior to the election, I think it was Bernard Keane who said that Chalmers had had more experience putting budgets together than any other Federal parliamentarian, including Josh Frydenberg, having worked for Wayne Swan. Leigh was a principal advisor in Treasury when the GFC hit. Gallagher has an impressive record in ACT politics, having been chief minister.
Now they have been joined by Dr Andrew Charlton, Rhodes Scholar and Oxford PhD, who co-authored a book with Jo Stiglitz, and was chief economics advisor to Kevin Rudd during the GFC.
The task before them is genuinely daunting, with Peter Martin suggesting Australia’s biggest economic threat isn’t home-grown. It’s a recession, originating in the United States, Alan Kohler saying Jim Chalmers needs an inquiry into tax and David Leitch says Australia’s electricity markets are on crack: It’s time to do something.
Chalmers has shown interest in measuring progress by well-being rather than GDP, has thought about ‘univeral basic income’ and has indicated he is up for a conversation as to how we should collectively pay for the conditions and services necessary for a dignified life.
Economist Steve Hamilton tells us Why Labor should leave bold reform for term two
Albanese doesn’t have the political capital to burn that Howard did in 1998. A good, solid first-term agenda for Labor would be to deliver on its commitments, fix the budget and sort out climate change.
A shame it is pay-walled. He says:
The risk for Labor on taking government is never doing too little, but rather doing too much.
And the cautious and pragmatic leadership Albo showed both as leader of the house and as opposition leader may, in an unexpected way, be exactly the approach the country needs coming out of a once-in-a-century pandemic buffeted by global economic and geostrategic headwinds. A steady hand on the tiller.
With that in mind, the new government’s focus should first and foremost be on restoring good government – to rebuild state capacity, to deliver on political integrity, to keep faith with the Australian people by delivering on the agenda it promised them.
Quiggin fails to see the opportunity presented by the Climate Change Authority, which is strange given that he was a member of the initial panel.
For me the most apposite was Richard Dennis in The Monthly piece A defeat for the true deceivers
- Labor may only have a slim majority of members of parliament, but it has a policy agenda that is supported by an overwhelming majority of that parliament. Albanese is right to insist he will focus on the changes he has already promised, and the Greens and independents are right to insist that they are in parliament to push for even more. The whole point of parliament is to thrash out such conflicts in public. If done well, it’s likely that voters will get a lot more good policies than they are used to, while the Liberals – or what remains of them – fight over the fruits of failure.
By focusing on issues with overwhelming public and parliamentary support, a Labor government has the opportunity not just to deliver big reforms but also to reset the public’s faith in the role of government as a force for good. It may even restore faith in democracy itself.
- The next three years will not be easy, and they will not be without scandal or conflict or partisan politics. But whatever the problems that come Labor and Australia’s way, they will be addressed by a parliament with a super-majority of support for solving some of the biggest problems we face. If Anthony Albanese focuses on solving big issues, he has the opportunity to permanently change the identity not just of swinging voters, but of Australia.
In sum, return civility to government, get parliament working again as a collaborative, deliberative body to face issues at hand to build a sustainable future, rather than a political contest for power.