Labor leader Anthony Albanese has appointed new figures to the party’s health and aged care portfolios in today’s cabinet reshuffle.
Albanese named climate spokesperson Mark Butler as the new Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing – a somewhat new portfolio with remits formerly held by Chris Bowen (Health) and Julie Collins (Ageing).
Collins – who has served as Shadow Minister for Ageing since 2016 and held onto the role in Albanese’s last reshuffle – was appointed Shadow Minister for Agriculture, while Bowen was moved to the climate change and energy portfolio.
At a press conference announcing the changes, Albanese said: “The role of our health system and our aged care system have never been more important.
“Mark Butler has previously served in the government as a Minister for Mental Health and Ageing. He’s the only parliamentarian I know of who has written a book about ageing and aged care, and he will do an outstanding job.”
Ged Kearney, who has been Shadow Assistant Minister for Aged Care since mid-2019, was named Shadow Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing, while Clare O’Neil took on the newly titled role of Shadow Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services.
Emma McBride stayed on as Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers and former Labor leader Bill Shorten kept the National Disability Insurance Scheme portfolio.
Albanese said: “The easy choice to make is to not make any changes and just keep things as they are.”
But, he added, he wanted to make the "right" choice and drafted the strongest team to form a Labor government.
“[I’ve] put head to head opposition portfolios in the same areas in which the government has its portfolios… to sharpen that focus going into the future.”
In Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s own cabinet reshuffle late last month, he handed aged care to Greg Hunt, making him Minister for Health and Aged Care, while previous aged care minister Richard Colbeck was named Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services.Do you have an idea for a story?
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