Albanese Replaces Conroy As Communications Minister
Albanese’s appointment could see some spirited debate in the lower house, where he will directly take on the very smooth Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull. His predecessor, Stephen Conroy, didn’t have that opportunity, since he was in the upper house. Mr Albanese, who is also deputy PM, takes on the role alongside other big portfolios including transport and infrastructure.
“This is a large set of responsibilities for a man with a prodigious work ethic and a heart for all Australia. He will do the job well,” Mr Rudd said, quoted in the AFR.
“Overseeing the nation’s roads, rail network and ports, along with the broadband system, means Mr Albanese will keep the nation’s arteries going.”
The bulky Senator Kim Carr has also returned from the wilderness to resume his former role as Industry and Innovation Minister. However Simon Crean has quit.
The new ministry was sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Announcement of the appointments was delayed at the weekend as PM Rudd traveled to the Northern Territory to attend the state memorial service for the late Aboriginal musician and teacher Dr Yunipingu. (Due to respect for Aboriginal tradition, first names of deceased people are not used).
Other people coming back from the wilderness include Joel Fitzgibbon, the former chief whip, and Richard Marles, a former parliamentary secretary. Along with Kim Carr, Fitzgibbon and Marles had surrendered their positions following Rudd’s unsuccessful attempt to topple Julia Gillard in February.
Western Sydney MP Ed Husic, one of the key pushers behind the recent parliamentary inquiry into pricing in the IT industry, also becomes a parliamentary secretary.
Six women now sit in Cabinet and another seven are in the outer ministry.