Familiar faces remain in Labor’s shadow ministry ‘refresh’
3 June 2019 at 4:27 pm
Former opposition leader Bill Shorten has been appointed shadow minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Labor’s new-look shadow cabinet, while Andrew Leigh will continue to work with the charity sector as shadow assistant minister.
New Labor leader Anthony Albanese this weekend unveiled his refreshed shadow ministry, which includes four new members in shadow cabinet.
Albanese handed his predecessor Shorten the responsibility for the NDIS, but there was no room on the front bench for Andrew Leigh – the former shadow minister for charities and not for profits – because he does not belong to one of Labor’s powerful factions.
Instead he will serve as the shadow assistant minister for charities.
— Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) June 2, 2019
Leigh’s counterpart in the government will be Senator Zed Seselja – the assistant minister for finance, charities and electoral matters – while Shorten will compete with the first-ever minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert.
Albanese said his team has the talent and experience to hold the Morrison government to account, and ensure that Labor develops an alternative program to take to the next election.
“It’s a team where you have a number of people with vast experience who’ve served in the cabinet before, but a refresh with new talent coming in,” Albanese said.
Shorten was one of the NDIS’s first backers when he entered Parliament in 2007 and he said he was pleased to be given this new role.
I’m very pleased to have been appointed Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Shadow Minister for Government Services in Labor’s Shadow Cabinet. I thank @AlboMP for giving me these responsibilities.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) June 2, 2019
“Working with people with disability, their carers and their families to create the National Disability Insurance Scheme was my first job in politics and remains one of the great privileges of my life,” Shorten said.
He identified “underspends, staffing caps, a morass of paperwork and a plague of contractors” as key issues undermining the NDIS, as he pledged to protect the scheme from cuts or delays.
“The best way to get the NDIS back on track is to put people with disability back at the centre of decision-making,” he said.
“I’m honoured by the opportunity I’ve been given, I’m determined to see the promise of the NDIS fulfilled and I’m going to give everything I have to making this great Labor initiative a reality for those who rely on it.”
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) CEO Ross Joyce told Pro Bono News he welcomed Shorten’s appointment.
He said he was also pleased Linda Burney retained her role as shadow minister for families and social services.
“Linda brings a great depth of experience and understanding to this area, we have enjoyed a very productive relationship since she took over this role,” Joyce said.
“[And] Bill has demonstrated his strong commitment and knowledge of this major reform as well as to people with disability, and the sector. We couldn’t think of anyone better to work with to ensure the scheme delivers on its promise.”
AFDO welcomes Bill Shorten as Shadow Minister for the #NDIS, and Shadow Minister for #Government Services. We are looking forward to working with Bill on fixing the NDIS so Australians with #disability can start getting the NDIS they fought for. #NDISMakeItWork @billshortenmp https://t.co/6lPusX6dQk
— Ross Joyce (@AFDO_CEO) June 2, 2019
Community Council for Australia (CCA) CEO David Crosbie told Pro Bono News the priority for most charities going forward was increased certainty in both funding and policy.
Crosbie said Leigh and Seselja’s past experience handling charity policy made him hopeful the sector was in good hands.
“Both these politicians have a history in understanding and engaging on issues of importance to the charities sector,” Crosbie said.
“[Leigh] was the first shadow minister for charities and has held that role for over six years… to have Dr Leigh continue in that role – albeit as part of an assistant ministry – will ensure discussions and debate about the future of the charities sector are well informed.”
.@AlboMP announces Labor shadow ministry – full list here: https://t.co/lXAdWIF09B
Disappointed Shadow Minister for Charities is no longer on the frontbench. Thank you @ALeighMP for continuing your work in the #charities portfolio, and as Shadow Assist Minister for Treasury. https://t.co/OjwJVIrb8V
— Com Council for Aus (@ComCouncil) June 2, 2019
Seselja has hit the ground running in his role as assistant minister, meeting with CCA last week and pledging to engage positively with charities
Krystian Seibert, an industry fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University, said it was great both Labor and the Coalition had representatives for the sector.
He said he hoped ministerial positions focused on the charity sector would be the “new normal” in federal politics.
“Seselja has already signalled that addressing fundraising regulation and responding to the ACNC review are priorities for him, and that’s very pleasing,” Seibert told Pro Bono News.
“And I expect that the shadow assistant minister, Andrew Leigh MP, will continue to bring the same passion and commitment to the role as he did when it was at a shadow minister level.”