ABC News | 25 March 2013
….on top of trade
Trade minister Craig Emerson’s job has grown substantially, with the addition of tertiary education, skills, science and research to his responsibilities. Given that the trade minister generally spends a fair bit of time overseas and, when at home, covers for the foreign affairs minister, who spends a lot of time overseas, loading Emerson with a major domestic portfolio looks a bit unwieldy, to say the least. Emerson will have the support of a junior minister in Sharon Bird who has been promoted from parliamentary secretary to minister for higher education and skills and Don Farell who has been appointed assistant minister for science and research. Recalling Simon Marginson’s observation on Chris Bowen’s resignation that, in political terms, higher education is a ‘dead duck and it doesn’t matter who the new minister is”, these new arrangements can be seen, quite reasonably as a downgrading of the relative importance of both higher education and skills.
Anthony Albanese has likewise been loaded up with Simon Crean’s former regional development and local government portfolio, on top of his already substantial responsibilities in transport and infrastructure and as leader of the house, responsible for the management of government business when the House of Representatives is sitting.
As anticipated, Gary Gray has been promoted to cabinet as resources minister, replacing Martin Ferguson.