POLITICS

Labor Unveils New Frontbench With Tanya Plibersek Into Education

The ALP deputy moves from foreign affairs.

23/07/2016 9:11 AM AEST | Updated July 23, 2016 13:56
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Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen

Labor leader Bill Shorten has officially unveiled his new frontbench team on Saturday, with the biggest move reserved for his second-in-command.

Tanya Plibersek, currently the shadow minister for foreign affairs, has stepped into a new education "super portfolio" which will see her focus on schools and universities. In a major reshuffle, the opposition's current shadow education minister Kate Ellis will lose that role but keep her early childhood portfolio and also pick up responsibility for TAFE and vocational training.

Speaking on Saturday, Shorten described education as "a first order" social and economic priority for Labor in the 45 parliament,

He described the ALP's approach to education as "one of the sharpest contrasts between us and the Turnbull government".

"This will be the education dream team," he told reporters in Canberra.

The move can be seen as a way to give greater prominence to the education portfolio, after it became one of the centrepieces of Labor's recent election strategy. There is also speculation that the health portfolio, currently held by Catherine King, may also be shifted to a more prominent Labor figure after that issue was also a major focus for the Labor campaign.

The Labor ministry have a more diverse flavour than previously, with Australia's first Muslim shadow ministers in Sam Dastyari and Ed Husic, as well as Linda Burney, the first indigenous woman elected to the lower house.

Shorten is currently announcing a number of other changes to the Labor line-up after on Friday unveiling a 32-member ministry team.

Among the other winners in the shake-up are Richard Marles who takes the shadow defence portfolio and Pat Dodson who has been named shadow assistant minister for Indigenous affairs. Shorten has taken on added responsibility as shadow minister for Indigenous affairs.

Rankin MP Jim Chalmers takes over as shadow minister for finance and Tony Burke takes on the environment and water portfolio.

Veteran Labor figure Kim Carr stays on front bench in the industry and innovation portfolio and Penny Wong moves into foreign affairs.

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