1 June 2022

McBain gives Canberra region a stronger voice in new Ministry

| Ian Bushnell
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Kristy McBain

Kristy McBain gave her maiden speech in Parliament in 2020. Now she’s a minister. Photo: Auspic.

The elevation of Kristy McBain to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first ministry bolsters a strong capital presence in the new government, and a minimalist approach to allocating responsibilities and machinery of government changes.

The Member for Eden-Monaro joins Katy Gallagher (Finance, Public Service and Women), a member of Mr Albanese’s inner circle, and Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh (Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury).

The former mayor of Bega becomes Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and is one of a record number of women in the new ministry.

The election forced changes to Mr Albanese’s team with the loss of frontbenchers Kristina Keneally and Terri Butler on election night.

Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel spokesperson Shayne Neumann also missed out on a ministry.

Questioned about Ms McBain’s inexperience, Mr Albanese said she was his personal pick for the 2020 byelection for the former bellwether seat.

“If we hadn’t won that seat of Eden-Monaro, politics might have been a bit different. Kristy McBain was a real factor in that,” Mr Albanese said.

“She has been a mayor, and an outstanding mayor, during the period of the bushfire crisis. I know how good she was in delivering on the ground at a time when, frankly, the Federal Government went missing.

“The Morrison Government went missing; Kristy McBain stepped up.”

Mr Albanese said she had turned what was a marginal seat into a safe seat for Labor.

Former ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer Senator Gallagher has cemented her position at the centre of the new government, which won’t hurt the Territory’s bid for a better infrastructure deal and the forgiveness of its housing debt.

She retains responsibility for the Public Service and has already flagged an overhaul of how the government approaches the APS, particularly in staffing, contracting and consultancies, and pay negotiations, as well as implementing the Thodey reforms.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Senator Katy Gallagher

A now-familiar scene: Senator Katy Gallagher flanks Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a press conference. Photo: Region Media.

Notable changes include Clare O’Neil taking over from Ms Keneally in Home Affairs and adding a specific responsibility for Cyber Security; Tania Plibesek moving from Education to Ms Butler’s former role in Environment and Water; and Jason Clare taking Education.

As expected, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles is Defence Minister, while Matt Keogh takes over Mr Neumann’s responsibilities.

Housing under Julie Collins comes into Cabinet, and Climate Change returns as a specific role paired with Energy under Chris Bowen.

Mr Albanese said housing would be a priority for the new government.

“If you follow my history in politics, housing has been a passion of mine,” he said.

“It’s also been a passion of mine that the Federal Government should be playing a role in areas like housing and urban development and those issues. That will be an absolute priority of my government.”

Mr Albanese also announced Patrick Dodson would be Special Envoy or Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“This is a priority for the government and Patrick Dodson will have responsibility, along with the Minister Linda Burney, for overseeing the Uluru Statement from the Heart as we move forward, particularly with our plan for a constitutional change, which will require a referendum,” he said.

Senator Nita Green was named Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Susan Templeman as a Special Envoy for the Arts.

Queensland Senator Murray Watt gets Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Mr Albanese said it was an exciting team overflowing with talent.

“This is the largest number of women who have ever served in an Australian Cabinet, with 10 women in the Cabinet. In addition to that, in terms of the Ministry, there are 13 women in the Ministry and 19 frontbenchers, a record number in all three categories for women’s representation in Cabinet, in Ministry and in frontbench positions,” he said.

“We had a position whereby I think we have an overflow of talent on our side of the Parliament. It’s a mix of people who have served in the Cabinet before; it is the most experienced incoming Labor Government in our history since Federation, and I think that will augur well for how the government functions.”

Mr Albanese’s arrangements will mean a reasonably smooth transition for the public service without wholesale reorganisation of departments and agencies.

Machinery of government changes will now be able to proceed after this morning’s swearing-in of ministers.


Anthony Albanese Prime Minister
Richard Marles Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Defence
Senator Penny Wong Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dr Jim Chalmers Treasurer
Senator Katy Gallagher Minister for Finance
Minister for the Public Service
Minister for Women
Senator Don Farrell Minister for Trade and Tourism
Special Minister of State
Tony Burke Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts
Mark Butler Minister for Health and Aged Care
Chris Bowen Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Tanya Plibersek Minister for the Environment and Water
Catherine King Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Linda Burney Minister for Indigenous Australians
Amanda Rishworth Minister for Social Services
Bill Shorten Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
Mark Dreyfus QC Attorney-General
Cabinet Secretary
Brendan O’Connor Minister for Skills and Training
Jason Clare Minister for Education
Julie Collins Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness
Minister for Small Business
Michelle Rowland Minister for Communications
Madeleine King Minister for Resources
Minister for Northern Australia
Senator Murray Watt Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister for Emergency Management
Ed Husic Minister for Industry and Science
Clare O’Neil Minister for Home Affairs
Minister for Cyber Security

Outer Ministry

Matt Keogh Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Pat Conroy Minister for Defence Industry
Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Stephen Jones Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Financial Services
Andrew Giles Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
Anne Aly Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth
Anika Wells Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Sport
Kristy McBain Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories

Assistant Ministers

Justine Elliot Assistant Minister for Social Services
Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence
Matt Thistlethwaite Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Assistant Minister for the Republic
Dr Andrew Leigh Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury
Patrick Gorman Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister
Senator Jenny McAllister Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Senator Carol Brown Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Ged Kearney Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care
Emma McBride Assistant Minister for Mental Health
Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health
Senator Tim Ayres Assistant Minister for Trade
Assistant Minister for Manufacturing
Senator Anthony Chisholm Assistant Minister for Education
Assistant Minister for Regional Development
Tim Watts Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs


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