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Labor Party shakes up finance team

by Annie Kane9 minute read
Jim Chalmers

The leader of the opposition has announced his shadow cabinet, appointing a new shadow treasurer and finance minister to his new, “really strong” economic team.

Anthony Albanese took over as leader of the Australian Labor Party on Thursday (30 May), after running unopposed to lead the party following the resignation of former leader Bill Shorten MP.

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Following the Prime Minister’s unveiling of his front bench team last month, the new Labor leader has also now announced the members of his frontbench, which consists of 12 women and 12 men.

Eleven of the 12 women are part of the shadow cabinet, while Senator Jenny McAllister has been given the roles of shadow cabinet secretary and shadow assistant minister to the leader of the opposition in the senate.


According to Mr Albanese, the cabinet members were selected “on merit” and “reflect the balance in Australian society”.

Former leader Bill Shorten MP remains on the frontbench, after being appointed shadow minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and shadow minister for government services in Labor’s shadow cabinet.

Mr Albanese said: “This is the right job for Bill Shorten and he will play an important role in the roll out of the NDIS in particular, which is so important.”

Taking to Twitter, the former Labor leader said he was “very pleased” to have been given these responsibilities and thanked Mr Albanese for them.

New finance and economic team

Among the new cabinet is a new finance and economic team, headed up by member for Rankin, Queensland, Jim Chalmers.

Dr Chalmers, who was previously shadow minister for finance in Mr Shorten’s cabinet, takes over the role of shadow treasurer from Chris Bowen MP, who has now become shadow minister for health.

Senator for the ACT Katy Gallagher, who was embroiled in the dual citizenship eligibility crisis last year, has taken up the portfolio for finance as well as that of public service. She is also manager of opposition business in the Senate.

Brendan O’Connor MP has been given the small business portfolio, along with the positions of shadow minister for employment and industry and shadow minister for science.

Jason Clare MP has been appointed the new shadow minister for housing and homelessness, as well as shadow minister for regional services, territories and local government.

The new Labor leader has also made some changes in the outer shadow ministry.

Stephen Jones MP has been made shadow assistant treasurer and shadow minister for financial services.

Mr Jones was previously the shadow minister for regional communications as well as the shadow minister for regional services, territories and local government.

Confirming his appointment on Twitter, Mr Jones said he was “honoured to be appointed as Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer and shadow minister for financial services”.

“Ensuring the economy is working for the benefit of all Australians and the recommendations of the banking industry royal commission are implemented are our priorities,” he said.

He takes over the role of shadow assistant treasurer from former frontbencher Andrew Leigh, member for Fenner, who has dropped down to a backbench position as shadow assistant minister for treasury and shadow assistant minister for charities, sitting opposite Liberal senator Zed Seselja.

The change comes after Dr Leigh failed to gain factional support for a cabinet position.

Speaking over the weekend, the former shadow assistant treasurer said that while he was “disappointed” and “would have loved to continue on the frontbench”, he “relishes” his new role.

Dr Leigh commented: “But as someone once put it, there’s no small roles, there’s only small people. So I will look to work in as many ways as I can with my terrific colleagues on crafting the policies we take to the next election.”

Kingsford Smith MP Matt Thistlethwaite will sit opposite Senator Jane Hume as shadow assistant minister for financial services. He is also now shadow assistant minister for the republic.

Mr Thistlethwaite has said he is “really excited and honoured to be appointed assistant shadow minister working with Stephen Jones MP in financial services and on Australian republic with Mark Dreyfus QC MP”.

Announcing the new cabinet over the weekend, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese commented: “I have today appointed a Labor frontbench with the talent and experience to hold the Morrison government to account and develop a policy platform worthy of the support of Australians at the next election.

“My team includes a blend of experienced former government ministers, as well as talented newcomers whose enthusiasm and fresh ideas will reinvigorate Labor over the next three years.

“My shadow ministry includes members from all parts of the nation. It reflects society, with half men and half women, including the shadow cabinet secretary...”

Mr Albanese continued: “I am confident my team will be more than a match for the Morrison government’s frontbench,” noting that the government has recently seen a “mass exodus” on the benches following the departure of  Malcom Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and Kelly O’Dwyer.

He added that he believes his economic team is “really, really strong”, adding that he thinks Jim Chalmers will “lead a very effective team”.

Speaking in a media briefing over the weekend (2 June), Mr Chalmers said he was “really pleased” to be named shadow treasurer in “what is a really strong frontbench team”.

He continued: “Now the task for all of us is to rebuild and refresh and renew our economic policies for the future. That’s a really important job and I am joined in that task by some outstanding colleagues in Katy Gallagher and Stephen Jones and Matt Thistlethwaite and Andrew Leigh. And we are up for the task of building Labor’s economic policies and credentials not just for the next election, but for the future under an Albanese Labor government.”

The shadow ministry will meet for the first time on Tuesday in Brisbane, and ministers are expected to “disperse into communities across the nation” soon after.

The Labor Party leader will be supported by Richard Marles MP, who takes over the role of deputy leader of the opposition from Tanya Plibersek. Mr Marles also holds the position of shadow minister for defence, while Ms Plibersek retains her portfolio for education and training.  

Both Ms Plibersek and Senator Penny Wong retain their positions in the shadow cabinet, while Ms Wong is also Labor leader in the Senate.

The shadow cabinet now comprises:

Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Leader of the Opposition

Hon Richard Marles MP
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Defence

Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

Senator the Hon Kristina Keneally
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Hon Tony Burke MP
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
Shadow Minister for the Arts
Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives

Hon Bill Shorten MP
Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Shadow Minister for Government Services

Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Shadow Minister for Education and Training

Dr Jim Chalmers MP
Shadow Treasurer

Hon Mark Butler MP
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives

Hon Chris Bowen MP
Shadow Minister for Health

Hon Catherine King MP
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP
Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources

Senator the Hon Don Farrell
Shadow Special Minister of State
Shadow Minister for Sport
Shadow Minister for Tourism
Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition

Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
Shadow Attorney-General
Shadow Minister for Constitutional Reform

Michelle Rowland MP
Shadow Minister for Communications

Senator Katy Gallagher
Shadow Minister for Finance
Shadow Minister for the Public Service
Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Hon Linda Burney MP
Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians

Hon Julie Collins MP
Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors
Shadow Minister for Women

Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry
Shadow Minister for Science
Shadow Minister for Small and Family Business

Hon Jason Clare MP
Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government
Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness

Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth

Terri Butler MP
Shadow Minister for the Environment and Water

Madeleine King MP
Shadow Minister for Trade 

[Related: PM appoints new minister to oversee financial services sector]

Labor Party shakes up finance team
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane


Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.


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