Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Cabinet Picks and Pans

OK, here’s the list.

Cabinet Ministers
Julia Gillard Prime Minister
Wayne Swan Deputy Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd Minister for Foreign Affairs
Chris Evans

Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations

Simon Crean

Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
Minister for the Arts
Stephen Smith Minister for Defence
Nicola Roxon Minister for Health and Ageing
Jenny Macklin Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Anthony Albanese Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Kim Carr Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science
Penny Wong Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Peter Garrett Minister for Schools, Early Childhood and Youth
Robert McClelland Attorney-General
Joseph Ludwig Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Tony Burke Minister for Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water
Martin Ferguson Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism
Chris Bowen Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Craig Emerson Minister for Trade
Greg Combet Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

A couple things. The big promotions are Combet and Emerson, who come from outer Ministry roles into the Cabinet. Both are good decisions. Combet at Defence as was rumoured I think was a jump too far – and I think he is a much better fit in the role of climate change than was Wong. Emerson in Trade is good as well – the guy actually understands economics. I would have actually liked him in Finance, but probably was never a chance.

None of the former Cabinet who are still there were dumped. Combet, Emerson and Rudd come in for Faulkner and Tanner. The reason three fit into two is that Simon Crean gets a new Department, and Gillard’s old Ministry of Employment, Education and Work Place Relations gets split up twelve ways from Sunday, and the Minister of Human Services is no longer a Cabinet position.

The ones who don’t change – Swan, Roxon, Conroy, Carr, Albanese, Fergusen, Macklin, McClelland. The rest have moved in some way.

Simon Crean gets a brand new spanking Department. In the last government, Warren Snowden was Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery, so the regional aspect of that will presumably move from the Health Department into the new Department. Albanese was formerly Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, so the last part of that will shift to Crean as well. Crean also get Arts which used to be with Garrett in the Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (which is no more). Arts is used to being shifted around, but it is a bit of an odd fit.

Wong gets Finance instead of the rumoured Bowen, who gets the rather unfun Immigration and Citizenship – poor bugger. Don’t know what he did to Julia to deserve that, but he’ll be in the firing line.

I like Wong at Finance. The Minister for Finance needs to be adept at saying no and not being pushed around. She fits the bill nicely (and you can take that anyway you like!).

Smith going to Defence was pretty much the rumour last week, and it seems sensible.

Burke shifts from Agriculture and picks up Environment and Water – the first of which was Garrett’s, the second was Wong’s.

Garrett’s been pretty well demoted to the oddly titled “Schools, Early Childhood and Youth”. Have no idea what this means. Kate Ellis was the Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, but she was not in Cabinet. I have no idea why he is “schools’” Minister and not education. Very odd. He will not have carriage of the Building the Education Revolution stimulus package; that will be run by Chris Evans who moves from Immigration to all things jobs related (and the skills part of education).

Joseph Ludwig goes form the ubiquitous Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of Sate role to Agriculture. A promotion of sorts I guess.

Within the Cabinet it’s a bit hard to always judge what is a demotion or not – eg Burke going from Agriculture to Environment and Population is really neither here nor there. Bowen goes from Human Services to Immigration – yes a promotion, but would you want it?

Now the outer Ministry:

Tanya Plibersek Minister for Human Services
Minister for Social Inclusion
Brendan O’Connor Minister for Home Affairs and Justice
Minister for Privacy and FOI
Kate Ellis Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare
Mark Arbib Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Minister for Sport
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness
Nick Sherry Minister for Small Business Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism
Warren Snowdon Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Science and Personnel
Bill Shorten Assistant Treasurer Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation
Mark Butler Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Gary Gray Special Minister of State
Jason Clare Minister for Defence Materiel

Plibersek gets a promotion from Housing and the Status of Women (the last part no longer exists – UPDATE – this now goes to Kate Ellis). Human Services was in the Cabinet, but now isn’t. Not sure why, might have something to do with Plibersek taking time off to have a baby, and thus Cabinet responsibility on top of everything may have been too much to ask.

O’Connor gets Privacy and FOI – all of which fits nicely together (and under the Attorney General Department).

Nick Sherry goes from Assistant Treasurer to Small Business. A slight Demotion perhaps, but not really – Emerson was Minister for Small Business so it’s no minor role.

Shorten, Gray, Butler and Clare are the big winners – getting promoted from Parliamentary Secretary roles to Ministers. Clare is all of 38 years of age, and holds Keating’s old seat of Blaxland, so keep your eyes on him.

Shorten had to be promoted. And I don’t give a stuff about the “he’s just getting rewarded for knifing Rudd”. He should have been a Minister under Rudd. He was wasted (even though he did good work in Disability Services).

Arbib has been moved from”Employment” to a whole bunch of things, none of which smacks of a promotion. The Indigenous community may be somewhat miffed by getting Arbib and losing Snowdon (who was Minister for Indigenous Health – which no longer exists), but I think you really have to over-egg it to say he has been rewarded fro his role in getting rid of Rudd.

Kate Ellis has been promoted from Early Childhood Education, Childcare, Youth and Sport to Employment Participation and Childcare. Employment Participation is getting pretty hard core economics. She can expect to get a few more difficult questions in parliament than she did in the past. People will be watching to see how she does.

Only one Minister was dumped – Justine Elliot who becomes a Parliamentary Secretary.

Speaking of which, the Parliamentary Secretary list…

David Bradbury Treasury
Jacinta Collins Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Julie Collins Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Mark Dreyfus Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Cabinet Secretary
Justine Elliot Foreign Affairs and Trade
Don Farrell Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water
David Feeney Defence
Mike Kelly Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Catherine King Health and Ageing
Infrastructure and Transport
Kate Lundy Immigration and Citizenship
Prime Minister and Cabinet
Richard Marles Foreign Affairs and Trade
Jan McLucas Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Of the old, gone are Maxine McKew and Bob McMullen (no longer in Parliament). Richard Marles and Mike Kelly stay at the same level, and dropped are Ursula Stephens, Laurie Fergusen, Anthony Byrne.

In come two of the Rudd knifers – David Feeney and Don Farrell. Farrell assumes a position that should be for an up and comer at the spritely age of 56, an utter waste of a pick I have to say.

Nice to see Kate Lundy finally get a job .

The weird position is Mark Dreyfus. He is Cabinet Secretary which used to be a Cabinet Position, but is now just parliamentary secretary level. Guess he won’t be wielding quite the power that John Faulkner did when he had the role. 

And now to the really interesting part! Let’s look at the old and new Departments (because isn’t everyone excited about the bureaucracy?). On Monday the Administrative Arrangements Orders will outline where everyone goes, but for now we can make some educated guesses.

First the ones that haven’t changed:

Treasury Treasury
Foreign Affairs and Trade Foreign Affairs and Trade
Defence Defence
Health and Aging Health and Ageing
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Finance and Deregulation Finance and Deregulation
Attorney-General Attorney-General
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Resources, Energy and Tourism Resources, Energy and Tourism
Immigration and Citizenship Immigration and Citizenship
Human Services Human Services
Climate Change, Energy Efficiency Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

The people working at these places are currently laughing (I’m assuming Human Services will stay as a separate Department, but we won’t know till the Administrative Orders come out). Not for them any worries about where they may be working a week’s time. Treasury, Health, Broadband, Attorney-General, Families etc, and Resources have the easiest time of all – not only does their Department not change, neither does their Minister. Easy-peasy.

Now the Departments that have have some minor tweaks:

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Innovation, Industry and Science
Infrastructure and Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Infrastructure and Transport
Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water

These three will just say goodbye to some staff (and hello to some new ones), but most will stay put. I have no idea where “communities” will come from. They also get to have some new acronyms. DIISR (pronounces disser) becomes DIIS. Albo’s of Dept was always just called DITR, so now it’ll just be DIT. And DEWHA becomes errr DSPCEW. Good luck with that.

Now the real shake ups:

Education, Employment and Work Place Relations

Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations

Schools, Early Childhood and Youth

  Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government (and the Arts)

The first gets split into two. Those who work in there will be wondering who will move where, which buildings and what part of education goes to schools, what goes to skills etc etc. There’ll be some who will have transferred for a short period, and now have the joy of wondering if they are permanently in a different Department to their old area etc etc. Lots of fun.

The second lot have no idea what the hell is going on – including where they’ll be working (ie not even the suburb).

And the acronyms? How about DJSWR, DSECY and RARDALGA?

Fun for bureaucrats a plenty!


Prestontowers said...

Excellent analysis of the changes. My main criticism of the changes is the only many of us would have - keeping Conroy in what has become a crucial portfolio for the ALP's future. Perhaps Chris Bowen should have been given that instead.

I'm not surprised about the elevation of Jason Clare - I've met him and he's a very sharp and cluey operator. Definitely one to watch, along with Bowen.

A puzzling outcome from this is just who will look after universities - clearly not Garrett, who just looking after everything else but tertiary ed. That new DSECY looks quite bizarre.

Aubrey said...

We'll really have to wait for the AOs on Monday to work out the Departments. They haven't necessarily matched Ministerial titles for the last couple of years anyway. I would not necessarily write-off DEWHA just yet as it reported to two different Ministers (Garrett and Wong) last time anyway and "Population" is little more than a taskforce as yet. Goodness knows what Tony Burke's "Communities" responsibilities relate to.

Greg Jericho said...

Yes Aubrey, you're right - I was jsut taking a bit of a (sort of) educated guess. DEWHA was an odd sort of beast, but I can't see Arts staying in the Department.

Prestontowers, I think Conroy has done well on the NBN. The heat on him is all over the dopey filter. But that effectively loooks dead now (given the numbers) - though he does seem to want to persist with it for some idiotic reason.

DKR said...

This Canberran is also pleased to see Lundy finally have some work to do, but I would've liked to see a Parl Sec role under DBCDE for her, as it closely aligns with her interests. Perhaps there would've been too much tension between the right faction pro filter Conroy and left faction anti filter Lundy. Still, better than the big fat zero Kevin gave her after years as a shadow minister...

Interested to see how Smith goes in my department. Not a bad replacement for Faulkner IMHO.

Alistair said...

If Malcolm Turnbull is given Communications as is rumoured, who will be answering questions in the House on Stephen Conroy's behalf?

Harlequin said...


Any insights on whether there will be any shake-up of agency heads?

longfulan said...

Hi Grog,
A little off topic. Why is it that the news media continually state that Oakeshott has 'refused', 'rejected' the offer of a ministry when he used the softer term 'decline'? Still whipping up controversy?

Greg Jericho said...

Harkequin, I doubt there would be much of a shake up of agency heads (if any).

Alastair, Albanese answered for Conroy in the last parliament, so I'd assume he keep doing so.

Will be interesting who answers for Wong on Finance

Bill said...

I don't understand why people think Stephen Conroy is a law unto himself. The internet filter was and is a Labor policy and it still would be with or without Stephen Conroy.

Can't understand why they keep making Clayton's ministries for Peter Garrett.

Anonymous said...

Prestontowers is right - who will be responsible for Higher Education? It is our third largest export industry behind coal and iron ore. It deserves to be prominently featured.

Dave said...

What I find interesting is that Kate Lundy now has the immigration and citizenship parl sec position, while Gary Humphries (the ACT Liberal Senator) has the shadow citizenship parl sec position. If I didn't know any better I'd say someone set it up so that they would have even more to fight about on their ABC 666 politics panel.

Jaeger said...

I assume that higher education is included in "Skills".

I hope that the change from "Science and Research" to just "Science" doesn't mean that we will stop doing research; I guess you can't do one without the other?

Andrew Elder said...

The best governments have attention to detail as well as the ability to link to a wider vision. Rudd had the former but not the latter. Keating had both but lost the former after 1993. It remains to be seen what Gillard has.

What Defence needs right now, with spending out of control and a raft of over-engineered projects, is a minister who can stick to the details. Smith appears to be that minister.

However, the real grunt work in Materiel is being handed over to a wheeler-dealer from the NSW Right. Clare has Keating's seat and his gob but not his attention to detail. He is more likely to be the next Carl Scully, someone who rises despite his ministerial performance than because of it.

It will be fascinating to see Rudd work with Dennis Richardson, and all the more so because it won't be the stuff of press releases and formal announcements. Both can do the Canberra rat-fucking thing pretty well. This is where Chris Pyne's Rikki-Tiki-Tavi scenario will be played out.

I'll wait for the AOs but without them it seems like there's a lot of overlap between the responsibilities of Plibersek and Arbib (what is Social Inclusion if it doesn't include Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Sport, Social Housing and Homelessness?).

Snowdon is doing the same job he was doing under Hawke. Is there no-one else capable of that job in a generation?

Don Farrell was Tony Burke's boss at the SDA and now the roles are reversed - on paper.

Hillbilly Skeleton said...

Grog, Grog, Grog, Grog, Grog!
I'm surprised you haven't perceived the strategic brilliance behind Julia Gillard's movement of Chris Bowen into Immigration. It will be the making or breaking of him, to be sure. But just think about what has been the Coalition's Ace in the hole over the last term...yup, you guessed it, Asylum Seekers and Immigration. How many votes in the last election did they pick up off the back of that campaign within the campaign? Who has been one of the standout performers on the Coalition side during the first term of the Rudd government, and was able to outmanouver them at almost every turn? Scott Morrison.
So, to put Chris Bowen up against Scott Morrison in the next parliament is a genius move, and all I can say is that Julia Gillard must think a lot of CB.
IMHO, that's where the real 'Game ON!' will be happening, and the rise and/or fall of the Gillard government will be charted, as long as the economy keeps on ticking along nicely. Oh, of course, the NBN will be the focus of the Peanut Gallery, but the war of attrition will be fought on Court A, to use a Tennis metaphor, which we will no doubt be hearing a lot of now that JA is in da house.
The only fly in the ointment that I can see here is if Abbott feints and moves Scott Morrison onto someone he thinks is a weak parliamentary performer, like Garrett.
Looking forward to reading your take on his moves.

Greg Jericho said...

Hillbilly - you're right about Bowen, though we'll have to wait and see if he is actually up against Morrison. Morrison probably thinks he's due a promotion for being the Captain Mainwaring of the eleciton campaign

Hillbilly Skeleton said...

Interesting to see where SM will be placed if he goes from Asylum Seekers, er, Immigration.
I can see The Oz and the Opposition shaping up for a campaign to discredit the NBN, the bright and shining point of difference between the 2 parties from the election and the thing that swung the Indies their way. So you could almost see SM wanting Communications, even though Conroy has got it for the ALP in the Senate. However, SM runs his campaigns in the media, not on the floor of the Lower House so much, and Chris Evans was in the Senate and it didn't slow Morrison down then, so? So, that's where the other fly in the ointment is. Malcolm Turnbull. All his PR has been directing the media to see him as the natural fit for Shadow Communications. Who will win the fight for that plum Shadow gig we'll have to wait and see. Abbott did say, in the interests of his 'stability' meme, that he was inclined to only make minimal changes to his lineup.
I'd be interested to hear where else you think Morrison might be deployed.

Antipodes said...

Fame at last Groggy! In yesterday's Melbourne Age you were credited by its national affairs editor (Tony Wright) with "setting the airwaves sparking" and starting what "has since become a rolling seminar among academics, the media and the politics obsessed" on how politics should be reported and analysed.

Basically, Wright says journos can be excused from taking any blame... Recent technological developments - mainly mobile communications - have altered campaign conduct and coverage. Overworked hacks are starved of information and opportunities to question politicians because of fears that campaign announcements, tactics, blunders etc can now be immediately transmitted in ways (blogs, tweets etc) that make it difficult for parties to manage their messages. Out of this comes a vacuum.

Sadly, Wright doesn't offer any thoughts on how journalists might remake and revitalise themselves and their work as useful parts of the political fabric. Perhaps he could start by reading Jay Rosen's profound lecture delivered last week to French journalism students

Andrew Elder said...

Tony Wright's columns can be boiled down to 1) did I tell you about that lunch in 1985 that went for a month and a half? and 2) no matter what, absolve the media because all we do is report. The Alby Schultz of the Press Gallery: stick a fork in him, he's done.

Anonymous said...

some more thoughts on JG's brilliance;

Crean as minister for Country independents, if anyone can keep them in the boat, he can

I agree Bowen in DIAC will change the debate from the easy runs scored of the ponderous Evans

Lundy as PM&C parlsec in the Senate may be come JG's Greens minder. a real challenge for Kate.

DEEWR being split just after being put together is bizarre. hope the guys who consolidated the SAP instances wrote in some variables!

Wong in Finance will be interesting to watch - very smart, detailed, can prosecute a case

as for DEWHA morphing yet again - Pyne may be required for some Kumbaya lessons

Hillbilly Skeleton said...

Jeez, mate, how many times have you watched 'Gosford Park' now? Isn't it time you got a new 'Movie of the Week'?
And, just quietly, I see what they say about 'War and Peace' taking a long time to read, it appears to be taking you that long and more.

Bill said...

Not sure if you were going for irony there Anon, but I can tell you that there are going to be a lot of regional Australians who are going to have a hard time accepting an inner-city ACTU man as their voice in cabinet.

Simon Crean is an able minister, but that's the perception he's going to have to overcome, as well as the perception you allude to, that he is now Labor's chief hick wrangler.

Greg Jericho said...

Bill, Crean was Minister for Primary Industries under Keating, so he does know something about the area.

Hillbilly, Yes I know Gosford Park has been there far too long. Time to do some non-politics posts!

Andrew, Tim Dunlop called Wright's article "inchoate". And it isn't quite formed. He writes:

"It also raises questions about whether fundamental change might be required."

And yet no fundamental changes are proposed; more just a sad acceptance that politicians now drag journalists around by the nose, and there's nothing they can do about it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we're not the only ones puzzled by the way the education portfolio has been carved up.

See this comment:

"Universities Australia chairman Professor Peter Coaldrake says the omission of a reference to education may signal an inadequate understanding of the role higher education plays.

He says higher education is a significant contributor to skills and jobs and deserves formal recognition."

vp said...


Incisive, per normal.

On Education:

Carr is in charge, as he was, of post-graduate. Under-graduate is now separate as earlier, is now with Peter Garrett. Not only is Peter a highly competent bloke (the HIS was a success, you idiots)but he relates to, and has the adulation of, those within his portfoio.

You have gained publicity through Mark Scott's comments. Pity is that he, as the dissembler that he is,does not intend to change the mindset that he has inculcated within the managers in his organization.

fairgoforum said...

G'day Grog. Did you really mean a "brand new spanking Department" for Simon Crean? Should be a stimulating one to watch.

Greg Jericho said...

Michael - Not sure what he will have. Will he just be Mininster co-ordinating regional programs and policy in a multitude of Depts? He could be. The AAO's will tell all.

It seems like DEEWR is staying together, but having 2 Mininsters (Garrett and Evans)

Guido said...

I'll miss Kate Ellis a sport. Abets now taking that portfolio? Our World Cup bid is doomed.

Greg Jericho said...

Guido - it's Arbib not Abets (or Abetz).

Whispers that Crean's Ministry could all come under PM & C.

tandah said...

Hello, just been referred onto your blog by the soon to go on sabbatical George Meg ... and it's great, I wish I met you in July Grog ... however, my question is to Andrew Elder, for clarification what does 'will be fascinating to see Rudd work with Dennis Richardson ... Both can do the Canberra rat-f*ing thing pretty well. This is where Chris Pyne's Rikki-Tiki-Tavi scenario will be played out' mean?

Democracy Denied said...

Looks like the AEC has something to hide. Reports by DemocracyATwork indicates that Paul Pirani, AEC legal advisor, is trying to scam $30,00 from scrutineers wishing to obtain a copy of the below the line preference data files and reconciliation reports. Surly this information should be freely available. It was made available during the 2008 Victorian Municipal elections.

By making copies of the data files available provides scrutineers the opportunity to monitor the preference count and in doing so prevent anyone illegally accessing the central data base and changing votes.

Scrutineers visiting the counting room were told that the central administrative computer was connected to the Internet. How difficult would it be for a skilled technician who has access to the data to selectively change preferences in a close election? By making copies of the data available to scrutineers any changes to the data files would be detectable.

Looks like Paul Pirani, who was acting on behalf of AEC Returneing Officer, Jenni McMullan, has overstepped his authority and in the process has brought the AEC and its staff into disrepute

Greg Jericho said...

EP - I appreciate your thoughts, but can you please not link to spam sites?

Anonymous said...

Grog: the comment from EP is pure spam and can be removed. (The content is a dupe of comment #4 from DKR).

Greg Jericho said...

Cheers anon - they're clever those spam bots.

Cabinet Makers said...

What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!