Abbott doesn’t have to do a thing. The Opposition will be laughing all the way to September 14. All they have to do is sit back and watch Labor implode.
That was last week.
Yes, it was a political car crash – ugly to see, but impossible to look away – and yes, it was a gift for Tony Abbott’s Opposition. It will take some time for the ALP to recover from the trauma.
But now a new cabinet has emerged from the wreckage, it’s time for the Opposition to stop watching from the sidelines and start explaining, in detail, how they would govern.
In her press conference today, Julia Gillard was optimistically putting the in-Labor contests to bed, saying: “the only genuine contest in Australian politics now is between the government and the opposition on September 14.”
On September 15, she said, there will either be a majority Labor government or a Tony Abbott led government.
Is it time for some narrowing focus on what that Tony Abbott government might look like? Or will focus stay on the steaming entrails of the leadership spill that wasn’t?
In yesterday’s press conference, Gillard reflected briefly on the “unseemly display” of last week, saying she was appalled, and that she wanted to “to get on with the job of governing in the interests for all.”
“My political party, the Labor Party that I love very dearly was self-indulgent,” she said.
“Our eyes were on ourselves rather than doing what we should have, being focused on the nation.
“It was an unseemly display.”
But out of that week, she said, had come clarity: that Kevin Rudd would never again lead the Labor Party, and clarity that the Labor party was now united behind her with a sense of purpose.
The leadership contest, she said, was “done and dusted.”
The surprise of the cabinet reshuffle was the promotion of Anthony Albanese, a key Rudd supporter who ostensibly would have run as his deputy. He will take on the role of Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, adding to his duties as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. (See the full cabinet changes below.)
“I have always been able to work with Minister Albanese well,” Ms Gillard said.
“He has been very central to the life of this government and I believe he will serve very well and with a very strong sense of loyalty into the future.”
Gillard was clear about that future and stuck to Labor’s favourite tune: a world-class education for every child, record-breaking jobs figures, opportunities for all, help for families under everyday stresses, and the NDIS.
The new cabinet she said, would proceed with a sense of unity “that has previously eluded us.”
Moving forward, Hooplarians, what would you like to see tackled now, seeing that that’s all “done and dusted”?
GILLARD’S CABINET RESHUFFLE
• Anthony Albanese continues as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and takes on Minister for Regional Development and Local Government.
• Gary Gray joins the cabinet as Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism and Minister for Small Business.
• Tony Burke adds Arts to his roles of Minister for Sustainable Population, Communities Environment and Water.
• Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade and Competiveness and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy, adds Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
• Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus takes on roles of Special Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.
• Jason Clare joins the cabinet as a full member and stays as Minister for Home Affairs and Justice.
• Catherine King joins the outer Ministry as Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories, and as Minister for Road Safety.
• Michael Danby becomes Parliamentary Secretary for Arts.
• Don Farrell becomes Minister for Science and Research, and Minister Assisting on Tourism.
• Sharon Bird takes on role of Minister for Higher Education and Skills.
• Greg Combet is now the Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation following the merging of the Department of Climate Change with the Industry Department.
• Jan McLucas becomes Minister for Human Services.
• Bernie Ripoll becomes Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business.
• Shayne Neumann will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing.
• Andrew Leigh becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister;
• Matt Thistlethwaite becomes Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs.
• Amanda Rishworth becomes Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers.