Anthony Albanese has big portfolios, no shortage of experienced ministers

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One of the usual assertions about an incoming government is that it is not up to the challenge of retaining power. Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes made the complaint heard Monday at the gates of Parliament. “We have a government with very little experience,” she said.

In fact, Anthony Albanese will enter the cabinet room as one of 11 ministers who have already been there. Nearly half the cabinet will have ministerial experience, a ratio far higher than incoming governments led by John Howard in 1996, Kevin Rudd in 2007 and Tony Abbott in 2013.

Anthony Albanese has big portfolios to decide and no shortage of experienced ministers.Credit:James Brickwood

The new prime minister is one of the few members of the new government to have served in cabinet for the full six years of Labor’s last term. The others are Tony Burke and Penny Wong.

A larger group held ministerial positions over the six years. Chris Bowen, Brendan O’Connor and Tanya Plibersek were ministers in 2007, while Bill Shorten started as Parliamentary Secretary for People with Disabilities and quickly rose through the ranks. All of them became ministers over time.

By the end of the Gillard government, cabinet ranks included Albanese, Bowen, Burke, Plibersek and Shorten as well as Mark Butler, Mark Dreyfus and Brendan O’Connor.

The leadership upheavals of those years were a factor in promotions, so part of the brilliance of the Cabinet experience reflected the flames of the Labor Civil War. Ministers were forced to resign after abortive dumps and some cabinet ministers served only briefly in the last Rudd ministry before the 2013 election. The final reshuffle added Julie Collins, Catherine King and Richard Marles to cabinet rank .

Albanese has big portfolios to decide and no shortage of experienced ministers. The move of Marles, the deputy leader of the Labor Party, to the defense portfolio, which has been an open secret for weeks, forces bigger changes. The priorities are to find the right people for home affairs, employment, environment and social services.

While the caucus will confirm the 30 people who will serve on the executive, it is up to Albanese to name the portfolios and select those who will enter the cabinet.

Before the election, the shadow cabinet consisted of Albanese, Marles, Wong, Kristina Keneally, Burke, Don Farrell, Jim Chalmers, Shorten, Plibersek, Mark Butler, Bowen, King, O’Connor, Dreyfus, Michelle Rowland, Katy Gallagher , Linda Burney, Collins, Clare, Amanda Rishworth, Terri Butler, Madeleine King and Ed Husic, listed in the order used in Hansard.

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