Posted: 31 May 2022
Written by – Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor
Long-time tech and innovation advocate Ed Husic will be Australia’s new Industry Minister after he retained his spot in the new Labor government’s Cabinet, with Clare O’Neil to serve as Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security.
New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese unveiled his frontbench on Tuesday evening following a meeting of the Labor caucus earlier in the day.
Many of the incoming ministers are largely as expected , but Labor’s unexpected loss off Kristina Keneally and Terri Butler at the election had prompted changes.
Ms O’Neil taking on the Home Affairs role is perhaps the most surprising, while Tanya Plibersek has been moved out of the Education portfolio she held in Opposition and into the Environment portfolio.
Mr Husic has served as Shadow Industry Minister since the start of 2021, and has advocated for the local tech sector and manufacturing since he first entered Parliament.
He was appointed by Mr Albanese to be the new Minister for Industry and Science, bringing these roles back together after they were previously split under the Coalition government. In the previous shadow ministry, the Science porfolio had been held Richard Marles.
Ms O’Neil, who was the shadow minister for industry and innovation from 2019 to 2021, will be the new Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, with Labor fulfilling its election promise to reappoint a standalone cybersecurity minister after the role was scrapped by the former government.
Ms O’Neil will replace former Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Kenneally, who was not re-elected, and Tim Watts, who had served as Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security. Mr Watts will be the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Albanese government.
Former Labor Leader Bill Shorten will take on the NDIS and Government Services portfolio, covering myGov and the Digital Transformation Agency, while former Shadow Defence Minister Brendan O’Connor will be responsible for skills and training.
Labor Senator Tim Ayres will be the new Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing, serving under new Trade Minister Don Farrell.
Tony Burke has been handed the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio.
Unsurprisingly, deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles will also be the Defence Minister, Jim Chalmers will be Treasurer, Penny Wong will be Foreign Affairs Minister and Katy Gallagher will handle Finance and the Public Service.
Senator Gallagher will have a prominent role, with Labor pledging to slash $3 billion from government outsourcing and contracting over the next four years, and to rebuild the public service by scrapping the controversial staffing cut.
Mark Dreyfus will be the new Attorney-General, while Jason Clare will take over the Education portfolio from Tanya Plibersek, who has been moved to Environment and Water.
Mark Butler will handle Health and Amanda Rishworth will be the new Social Services Minister.
The new Ministers will be sworn in on Wednesday morning in Canberra, with the full ministry to meet on Wednesday afternoon. The new National Security and Expenditure Review Committee will meet for the first time on Thursday, Mr Albanese confirmed.